New moonquakes discovered from 1972 Apollo 16 mission data

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New Moonquakes Discovered From 1972 Apollo 16 Mission Data



It's been over 40 years since the Apollo moon missions ended, but those landmark journeys are still teaching us a thing or two.

Seismic data has recently been recovered from the 1972 Apollo 16 mission detailing over 200 moonquakes—210 to be exact—which had previously trembled undiscovered.

In all, about 13,000 moon-based tremors have so far been identified on Earth's only natural satellite. Quite a few of these tremors were cataloged by humans—-a somewhat laborious process to say the least.

See photos of the Apollo 16 mission:

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Apollo 16 moon landing
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New moonquakes discovered from 1972 Apollo 16 mission data
Astronaut Charles Duke Jr, Apollo 16 lunar module pilot, salutes the US flag at the Descartes landing site during the mission's first extravehicular activity, Moon, April 21, 1972. The Lunar Module and the Lunar Roving Vehicle are at the left. (Photo by NASA/Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
Astronaut Charles M, Duke, Jr, On Moon, Charles M, Duke, Jr, Lunar Module Pilot Of The Apollo 16 Mission, Collecting Lunar Samples At The Rim Of The Plum Crater, April 1972. (Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images)
Lunar Rover during Apollo 16 moon landing, April 1972. (AP Photo)
THE MOON - APRIL 22: Apollo 16 astronaut John W. Young is photographed by Charles M. Duke Jr. as he deploys a scientific experiment on April 22, 1972 on the Moon. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Mondspaziergang: Astronaut John W. Young am Heck des Mondautos auf der Mondoberfläche - April 1972 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
A NASA picture taken on May 5, 1972 shows A close-up view or 'mug shot' of Apollo 16 lunar sample no. 68815, a dislodged fragment from a parent boulder. A fillet-soil sample was taken close to the boulder, allowing for study of the type and rate of erosion acting on lunar rocks. AFP PHOTO NASA (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)
Moon rock - 128 grams (part of a 5.5 kilo boulder) is a piece of our nearest planetary neighbour, the moon, collected by the astronauts of the Apollo 16 mission in April 1972. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images)
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But as any fan of science fiction—or in this case science fact—knows, computers are typically a bit more observant and efficient. Think Terminator-like precision.

Thus, a researcher from the Max Planck Institute developed an algorithm to detect moonquakes that works akin to speech-recognition software.

Data from a seismometer left on the moon in 1972 was fed into the algorithm.

And, voila!

Forty-plus-year-old data revealed the moonquakes time almost forgot and which limited human eyes definitely missed.

It's hoped such an approach might be useful for measuring the quakes on Mars by NASA's InSight Lander, presently scheduled to head to Mars in 2016 to probe the depths of the Red Planet.

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