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Human activities have a huge impact, and researchers call for the establishment of a lunar "national park"

2024-04-13 Update From: SLTechnology News&Howtos shulou NAV: SLTechnology News&Howtos > IT Information >


Shulou( Report-- Researchers at the University of Kansas say human influence on the moon has reached the point where it defines a new lunar geological era, just as we created the Anthropocene on Earth. They also called for the creation of lunar "national parks" to protect important scientific research areas.

According to, the term "Anthropocene" is used to describe the time when human activity began to have a significant impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems. Although its exact definition is still under discussion, most researchers believe that the Earth entered this period in 1950, marked by the discovery of plutonium isotopes produced by nuclear weapons tests in sediments at the bottom of a relatively uncontaminated Canadian lake.

Now Justin Allen Holcomb of the University of Kansas and colleagues say the moon has entered its own "Anthropocene" because the impact of spacecraft landings, rovers and other human activities on the lunar surface has exceeded the damage caused by natural processes such as meteor impacts.

Human influence on the moon began in September 1959, when the Soviet Union's Luna 2 probe crashed into the lunar surface, leaving a crater. This year, India became the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, and a series of national and private missions are planned to land on the moon in the future. To date, humans have caused surface disturbances at least 59 locations on the lunar surface, leaving behind objects including spacecraft parts, flags, golf balls and human waste bags.

Ingo Waldmann of University College London says the moon has indeed entered the Anthropocene era because it is not geologically active: weak moonquakes occur only occasionally, and it takes millions of years for the solar wind to deposit water on the surface regolith.

The current geological period of the moon, the Copernican period, dates back more than a billion years. By contrast, Earth went through about 15 geological periods during this period.

Waldmann worries that missions like NASA's Artemis 3, which aims to send astronauts to the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972, could contaminate the lunar surface and make it harder for us to understand its geological structure. He said an international agreement should be reached to create the equivalent of a national park on the moon.

"The lunar surface is the most pristine environment we have access to because regolith forms and erodes very slowly, so there's an imprint of the entire solar system on the moon that's not there on Earth,"Waldmann said. "

Mark Sephton of Imperial College London supports the idea, but argues that a balance needs to be found. "We want to preserve at least the equivalent of a national park for future investigation and exploration to understand the history of the moon," he said,"but at the same time, humans need to explore and enter the solar system." "

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