One of the biggest problems that the countries planning moon trips are going to encounter?besides the need for water?is shielding their bases from asteroid impacts, since absorbing these blows is one of the major things the moon does to protect the earth.

In the New Scientist, Kelly Young reports that during the Apollo missions to the moon, around 40 years ago, NASA left four seismometers there, so we?ve been able to measure the number of space rock impacts. Since the last Apollo mission in 1977, the moon has absorbed 12,000 seismic blows. NASA has tested its seismometers by intentionally crashing dead and obsolete satellites into the moon’s surface.

Of the approximately 12,000 events recorded, a little over 17,000 of them have come from meteoroids striking the lunar surface. Between 3,000 and 6,000 of them may be moonquakes, since it turns out that the moon has problems with tectonic plates, just like the earth does.

But NASA doesn’t know what caused thousands of these recorded events, so they remain a mystery. NASA’s Bill Cooke and Anne Diekmann are now using computers and sophisticated math to figure this out. They’re not just concerned with the larger meteors, but with the small ones as well. The earth’s atmosphere burns up the small meteors that come our way that do not hit the moon, but the moon has no atmosphere to take care of this problem.

Astronauts may have to learn how to duck, since spacesuits cannot be made that will deflect even small incoming space debris. During a meteor shower, they would have to remain inside their bases. Cooke says, “There could be times when you just have to batten down the hatches.”

We’re a nation under God?or are we??so we must have a mandate to explore the moon. Astronauts on the moon will have a great view of UFOs?will they share their sightings with us?

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