Humans caused Global Warming on Moon. How is that even possible?

Humans caused Global Warming on Moon. How is that even possible?

Global Warming is not limited to Earth. Scientists found traces the phenomenon on the Moon.

Global Warming is a massive issue which is turning Earth into an inhospitable place for all forms of life. Human activity has a major role in this as we slaughtered nature for our personal benefits and it is a universally known fact that every action has an equal but opposite reaction. These days, massive efforts are being made on an international level to counter this overwhelming challenge. A recent report adds a completely new dimension to this debate as it suggests that the rise in temperature at Moon was also caused by humanity.

This mystery began ever since humans touched the lunar surface for the first time. A sudden rise of 2o C was observed by the Apollo Missions but the cause remained unclear for decades as hundreds of reels of the magnetic tape were lost following an archival blunder. In the meantime, several theories were proposed that could explain this sudden increment of temperature but none of them could be proven. One of them which came forward quite early in the piece revolved around Lunar Dust or Regolith. Scientists knew that it has the potential to give astronauts a fever and they said that it is very much possible that the astronauts returned the favor back to the Moon.

Probably, the most suitable solution was provided by Seiichi Nagihara, a Planetary Scientist at Texas Tech University, as she said that the temperature readings, which were taken by different Apollo Missions from 1971 to 1977, are the only source that can reliably explain the reasons of this event. Unfortunately, that data was not there so she decided to search for it. Her team spent 8 years in tracking down those useful pieces of information.

Ultimately, they succeeded in recovering 400 reels of those lost NASA tapes. Their findings were published in the ‘Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets’. The reasons for the rise in temperature that were suggested by them might not please you much as it shows the dark side of our species. Walter Kiefer, a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston who is also the Co-author of the study, said,

You can actually see the astronauts’ tracks, where they walked and we can see … where they scuffed dirt up — and what it leaves behind is a darker path. In other words, the astronauts walking on the moon changed the structure of the regolith.”

A total of 12 Apollo astronauts had the privilege to walk on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. According to this research, they displaced so much dust that the soil that had not seen daylight in billions of years was exposed. It was much more capable to absorb solar radiations and the proof came 6 years later when the temperature of the heavenly body rose by 2o C.

Initially, the team of Nagihara found 440 tapes at the Washington National Records Center in Maryland but it only had the temperature details for the first 3 months of 1975. In order to extract the remaining information, they consulted weekly performance logs from the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Luckily, these logs had the temperature readings of Moon from 1973 to 1977 and the missing pieces of the puzzle were arranged in their corresponding places.

The need for all this arose as the data sent by lunar probes was not archived. Despite the fact, that the temperature probes were set onto the lunar surface in 1971 and 1972, they continued to send the data to the Johnson Space Center of NASA till 1977. Having said that, the record for only the first 3 years was preserved at the National Space Science Data Center.

After years of study, the researchers concluded that the temperature increased much faster at the surface than the core of the Moon because the probes planted near the surface showed greater temperature jumps. Another vital clue came from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera which showed that the areas near the landing sites of the Apollo Missions had a lot of dark streaks as the ancient soil was disturbed by the movement of astronauts.

Nagihara mentioned that the process of planting the probes can also affect the temperature readings as the surface around the instrument is disturbed. She explained that in the following words:

In the process of installing the instruments, you may actually end up disturbing the surface thermal environment of the place where you want to make some measurements. That kind of consideration certainly goes into the designing of the next generation of instruments that will be someday deployed on the moon.”

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Muneeb ud Deen
A sports fanatic who loves to read.
"Honesty and self-satisfaction have been my weapons throughout my writing career of 3 years."

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