For decades we have been wondering about the reason behind the rising temperature on moon. Finally, it looks like we might have an answer thanks to a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
According to the researchers, the guilt lies with the astronomers that took part in the Apollo 15 and 17 missions. While on the moon, they stirred up the moon dust by walking and driving rovers, exposing regolith, which is much darker than the material on the surface. Because this dust is darker, it attracted more sunlight, which resulted in the heating up of the moon’s surface.
New uncovered data solves the mystery
Back in ’71 and ’72, temperature probes to measure the heat on the moon were installed by the astronauts. From Earth, the temperatures were observed between ’72 and ’77, but they were only documented until ’74. Apparently, there was a rise in temperature from 1.8 to 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit in ’74, much to the surprise of the researchers. Because of the missing data from these three years, scientists did not know what caused the rise. Fortunately, most of this data was retrieved recently, illustrating a continuation of the rising temperatures until ’77.
A high-tech camera was used to analyze the probes
In order to examine the region around the Apollo 15 and 17 probes, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera was used by the researchers once the supplementary data was uncovered. What they found was that the area was disturbed and at the same time it was darker than other nearby parts of the moon’s surface. This is how the research team reached the conclusion that darker regolith had been brought to the surface. As we mentioned before, the astronauts’ walking and driving of the rovers through the site is what caused this. As a result, the sun was attracted to the material, leading to the place around the probes being heated up.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca