New Moon

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Earlier this year, scientists suggested that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch that is characterized by humanity’s influence on the planet.

Known as the Anthropocene, this new age began between 1950 and 1954, marking the point where humans were determined to have significantly impacted Earth’s climate, species and environment. This epoch is defined by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, nuclear weapons testing, and pollution.

Now, researchers are proposing that the Moon has also entered its own Anthropocene, New Scientist reported.

Geoarcheologist Justin Holcomb and his colleagues explained that human activities, such as spacecraft landings and lunar rovers, have caused surface disturbances on the Moon, displacing more regolith than natural processes, such as meteoroid impacts.

The Moon’s Anthropocene is believed to have started in September 1959 when the Soviet Union crash-landed its Luna 2 probe, initiating a series of human-induced surface changes. Current estimates suggest that humans have caused disruptions in at least 59 locations on the moon, leaving discarded objects ranging from spacecraft components to flags, golf balls, and bags of human waste.

The team predicted that as human colonization and mining efforts on the Moon are set to increase, while expressing concerns about upcoming missions, such as NASA’s Artemis III, potentially contaminating the lunar surface and hindering geological research.

This has prompted calls for creating lunar “national parks” to preserve areas for scientific study.

Mark Sephton at Imperial College London supports this proposal, but emphasized the need for a balance between scientific exploration and human expansion into the solar system.

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