The moon is shrinking. That's why it's a problem for people
According to a new study, the area near the lunar south pole has been affected by seismic activity, causing the Moon to shrink in size.
The region has become the focus of an international space race after India's landmark Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft successfully landed there in August.
One of the main purposes of the Indian mission is to find a source of water; Scientists believe that ice can be found in large craters in the southern polar region that are permanently shadowed.
NASA has also selected an area in the region known as de Gerlache Rim II as a candidate landing site for its Artemis 3 mission, which is now scheduled for late 2026.
Why is the Moon shrinking?
The Moon's interior is hot and molten at its core, which makes Earth's satellite prone to seismic activity. As it cools, the Moon shrinks and becomes smaller in size.
The celestial body has shrunk in circumference by about 50 m over the past hundreds of millions of years, partly due to the exerting of tidal forces by the Earth.
The cooling of the Moon causes fault lines, or "thrust faults," to appear on its fragile surface, which in turn cause lunar earthquakes.
The threat of moonquakes
Using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which launched in 2009, the study authors were able to show that the area near the proposed landing site was impacted by one of the strongest events recorded seismic.
Experts believe that these seismic tremors could pose potential threats to personnel on future manned missions.