Man-made warming – on the moon!

WUWT reader “ES” writes: It is not bad enough we have global warning but, now we have warming on the moon. “increased from 1.6 C to 3.5 C over the roughly six-year period measurements were being taken.”

Photo by Gregory H. Revera via Wikipedia

Astronauts’ movement increased subsurface temperatures on the moon, study finds.

The presence of astronauts on the moon caused an unexpected warming of its subsurface temperatures for a period of time in the 1970s, a new study has found after delving into “lost” tapes from the Apollo missions.

In 1971 and 1972, NASA deployed sensors on the moon during the Apollo 15 and 17 missions in an effort to measure the moon’s surface and subsurface temperatures — a project dubbed the heat flow experiment.

Data was collected and beamed back down to Earth until 1977, where scientists were baffled by the gradual warming of the moon’s surface being read by the sensors.

NASA ultimately abandoned the research due to a lack of funding, and only some of the tapes were archived, with the others assumed lost, leaving scientists unable to analyze it further.

But those missing tapes were found recently in the National Archives, said study co-author Walter Kiefer, a senior staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. He and his team spent years recovering and interpreting the data in order to pinpoint the source of the warming.

Specifically, the decades-old data showed the moon’s subsurface temperatures — in some areas as deep as three metres — increased from 1.6 C to 3.5 C over the roughly six-year period measurements were being taken.

Bright vs. dark

The moon consists primarily of two different types of rock: anorthosite and basalt. Anorthosite is light in colour and makes the moon bright, while basalt, which is common on Earth, is darker and appears as the maria, or “seas,” on the moon.

Lighter-coloured surfaces reflect more energy outward, while darker surfaces absorb energy.

Using photos from the extremely high-resolution camera aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) orbiting the moon, the scientists determined that as astronauts walked or drove on the moon, it disturbed the anorthosite lunar soil — also known as regolith — left over from billions of years of bombardment from space rocks.

Apollo Landing Sites. (Click to enlarge.) Image Credit: NASA / LRO

That disruption exposed the darker soil, which then absorbed more of the sun’s energy and ultimately raised the moon’s temperatures.

“You can actually see the astronauts tracks, where they walked,” Kiefer said. “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 … in such a way that made it a little bit darker.”

Over years, that energy propagated downward and deeper into the lunar surface, which is what appeared on the newly acquired data record.

Eventually the temperatures would have reached an equilibrium as absorption stopped, said Kiefer, noting it may have already happened.

Since Neil Armstrong took those historic first steps on July 20, 1969, 11 others have walked on the moon.

More here


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Paul S
June 12, 2018 10:24 am

Wait a second, Is it April 1 today?

June 12, 2018 10:25 am

too funny….they will invent little green men to keep from saying it might have been the sun

Reply to  Latitude
June 12, 2018 10:30 am

My thoughts, too. Some other explanation is neccessary.

Reply to  Latitude
June 12, 2018 10:44 am

Well…now there’s two…..Mars and moon…with global warming and no CO2

Reply to  Latitude
June 12, 2018 11:08 am

No increased CO2 on Mars, unless the sun has melted some of the dry ice cap. Hard to improve upon 96% CO2. The water ice of course “melts” more easily, straight to vapor. Global warming on Mars is because of humans, too. All those probes impacting the surface.

Pluto has enjoyed global warming, too. Must be the New Horizons spacecraft fly by.

David Ball
Reply to  Felix
June 12, 2018 5:30 pm

Dr. Svalgaard chastized me many moons ago on wuwt for suggesting that the other bodies in our solar system were warming as well. At the time, the “hiatus” in temperature was just beginning to be discussed. Many of you might recall the fear-mongering of runaway global warming back then. I mentioned Neptune’s measurements increases being similar to earth’s, iirc.

Correlation is not always causation, but sometimes it can reveal cause. An example might be fox and rabbit population oscillations ( more rabbits, more fox, more fox, less rabbits, less rabbits, less fox, and so on ).

Care to comment, Dr. Svalgaard?

Reply to  David Ball
June 15, 2018 12:13 pm

David, I recall reading about rising temperature readings on other planets too, and never have heard an adequate explanation about how Earths’ warming was any different.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Latitude
June 13, 2018 4:11 pm

You miss the point.
On Earth, it’s MAN’S CO2 that is causing all the “missing heat”.
On the Moon, MAN has caused all the new-found heat.
The point being, “MAN is evil and must be stopped!”
(Since “the missing heat” has been found on the Moon, I guess the Oceans are off the hook?)

PS All those rovers on Mars might be responsible for some of our missing heat also.
(HORRORS! What if it melts some of the frozen CO2!!!
Mars might become another Venus! And all because of MAN!!!!!)

D. J. Hawkins
June 12, 2018 10:25 am

First sentence, “global warning” should be “global warming”.

Stephen Skinner
June 12, 2018 10:31 am

The beginnings of UHI effect

howard dewhirst
June 12, 2018 10:32 am

The common cormorant or shag, lays eggs inside a paper bag; you follow the idea no doubt, it’s to keep the lightening out… Is this the opposite of the curious incident of the dog in the night time’? or do I need an aspirin?

Reply to  howard dewhirst
June 13, 2018 1:35 am

HOWARD can it be ! …………………….. VERYARD it seems !
“The common cormorant or shag, lays eggs inside a paper bag; you follow the idea no doubt, it’s to keep the lightening out… Is this the opposite…….”
It probably lacks sufficient insulation to keep LIGHTNING out though !
I think “hard-boiled” might in fact become “incinerated” !
The Difference Between Lightening and Lightning.
Lightening with an “e” is the present participle of the verb lighten. We use the verb lighten in two senses—one has to do with colour and the other refers to weight. ..
Lightning is the electrical discharge that happens during an electrical storm.
PEDANT:a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning. ( BUT in my case…not so much of the latter ! )

Reply to  Trevor
June 14, 2018 6:53 am

PEDANT:a person who..

You forgot the white space after the colon..

ENGLISH: a language that is exceptionally easy for a PEDANT to ridicule.. 🙂

Paul S
June 12, 2018 10:38 am

How many square feet did the astronauts scuff up? How many square feet does the lunar surface have? What is the mass of the moon?

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Paul S
June 12, 2018 11:04 am

Two points.
1) I suspect that most of the square footage disturbed by the astronauts was due to engine exhaust, not walking around.
2) The temperature probes were co-located with the landing sites. So the measurements were very localized and only measuring effects at the landing site. You are correct that there would be not larger trend outside of the landing sites. It is like Stephen Skinner mentioned above, a form of UHI…

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
June 12, 2018 11:33 am

But how about the equipment left on the moon that is reflecting sunlight and shading the lunar surface? So if 0.0000004% of the lunar surface was scuffed, and 10% of that scuffed surface is shaded, that still leaves 0.00000036%! And that change in albedo increased the temperature of the entire surface of the planet by 1.9 C.

Wow, imagine what they would conclude a single meteor impact would do.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 11:44 am

Robert, I don’t think you read what I wrote…

I don’t think the study suggests that the ‘entire surface of the planet’ warmed. Just the site of the temperature probes which are collocated with the landing site’s disturbed regolith.

The press release did seem to suggest that it was a planet wide warming, but that is clearly nonsense.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
June 12, 2018 11:36 am

The effect was not due to CO2 and is no mystery. The lunar surface is constantly bombarded by energetic solar particles and micrometeorites. These drastically change the nature of the upper micron to millimeter surface — by radiation damage and melting that forms darker particles (even reduces oxidized iron to metal on a microscopic scale). Thus the lunar surface has a different albedo from underlying layers. Disturbing this surface layer by walking or engine exhaust would change that surface albedo.

Reply to  donb
June 12, 2018 3:50 pm

If I’m reading your post correctly, wouldn’t the astronaut’s influence disrupt the “radiation damage and melting that forms darker particles”, thus revealing a lighter under layer? If so, this is the reverse effect the article indicates, yes?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Lizzie
June 13, 2018 12:01 am

Lizzie, my reading too.

When measurable effects – it should be cooling.

Clyde Spencer
June 12, 2018 10:39 am

Obviously, land-use change is an important factor in warming. Without CO2 on the moon, what else are they going to blame? Have they demonstrated any correlation between amount of disturbance and the temperature rise?

June 12, 2018 10:40 am

Oh my God, think of what would have happened if Neil had done snow angels in the moon dust ! One small bit of fun for a man, one giant catastrophic warming for mankind.

On the up side, in space no one can hear a climate alarmist scream.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 12, 2018 10:56 am

If the astronauts had made “regolith angles” in the surface I suspect the joints on their suits would have seized up and caused an early abort.
Lunar dust is NASTY. It is extremely abrasive. In its finest dust form it clings (static-electrically) to every surface and is nearly impossible to wipe off. it gets into any and all mechanisms (hatches, hinges, suits, etc.) and causes failures.

Reply to  rocketscientist
June 12, 2018 12:04 pm

They didn’t have joints like you’re thinking, but were bendy because they were made of a special fabric.

Reply to  JimG
June 12, 2018 12:13 pm

the boots, gloves and helmets did have joints and did have issue with lunar dust.

Reply to  JimG
June 12, 2018 12:27 pm

comment image

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 12, 2018 11:59 am

Real-world physics and materials properties, thus, can spoil a good party. (^_^)

“Regolith angels” — do not try this on the moon of your home world.

June 12, 2018 10:41 am

Just send Chinese astronauts to the moon in future and let the Communist Party decide what is news fit to report.

Al Montgomery
June 12, 2018 10:43 am

Priceless- no CO2, ridiculously small human footprint- they don’t realize how stupid makes them look- oops I mean makes them! It’s long past time to move past this climate stupidity and use our efforts for something productive.

June 12, 2018 10:44 am

Lol really…a few foot steps and rides on the moon and we humans increase it temprature 🙂

Damned CO2 must have been leaking out the spacesuit……it there nothing CO2 can`t do??



Roger welsh
June 12, 2018 10:50 am

What happened in the last 1000 years, for example?

June 12, 2018 10:50 am

I suspect that the instrumentation may be suspect or that the thermal probe inserted into the regolith transmits the thermal energy downward into the subsurface regolith.

Unfortunately it seems all more plausible explanations cannot be considered.

As I recall the astronauts had some difficulty driving subsurface probes into the regolith. This was due to several factors, one being the relative compaction of the regolith. It’s not so easy to drive a spike into compacted gravel and sand. And, that lunar aggregate is sharp and abrasive as there are no erosion processes to knock off the corners from any stone (lunar dust is a VERY BIG issue). The other issue the astronauts faced was the lack of gravity. Its hard to hammer something when each hammer blow downward causes you to lift off the surface. We’ve become all to complacent when considering all the things we take for granted with gravity.

Have any attempt at measure been made where Apollo landings have not disturbed the surface, but where natural (meteor impacts) have disturbed the surface regolith? Furthermore I cannot but think that any minor energy absorption would have to be extremely local, as in directly under where the surface was disturbed.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  rocketscientist
June 12, 2018 11:29 am

Yes, I also considered the possibility that the surface electronics were conducting solar heating to the thermal probes.

Reply to  rocketscientist
June 12, 2018 6:06 pm

The problem is that the probe didn’t ask the surface out to dinner first.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 13, 2018 1:48 am


“I thought that it was more likely the opposite. I must have shut grief out. Found it in books. Cried over fiction instead of the truth. The truth was unconfined, unadorned. There was no poetic language to it, no yellow butterflies, no epic floods. There wasn’t a town trapped underwater or generations of men with the same name destined to make the same mistakes. The truth was vast enough to drown in.”
― Nina LaCour, We Are Okay

June 12, 2018 10:51 am

Aren’t the authors of this study just trying to find out the degree of absurdity they can get away with?

Andy Pattullo
June 12, 2018 10:55 am

This can’t be right. As a card-carrying sceptic of CAGW, am I not supposed to believe the moon landings were faked? But now I see clear proof in their footprints outlined in magma red from the excessive heat left behind. One small step for man, one giant leap of logic for multi-gendered environmentalism.

June 12, 2018 10:56 am

I find this fascinating as to me the moon must be an ideal object for measuring the cumulative change in solar radiation which has occurred over a period. All free of atmospheric influence. Transferring this information to the Earth situation could then be be quite useful.

As for this article I just don’t believe scientists of whatever hue could be that stupid. Pull the other leg.

Reply to  Alasdair
June 12, 2018 11:46 am

There exists an enormous literature on solar wind particles embedded into the lunar surface and reactions produced by energetic solar particles, giving composition and energy — all this over time.

Rick C PE
June 12, 2018 10:58 am

My first reaction was “John Ridway is at it again”, another great spoof. But, on further review it seems genuine. Clearly the minuscule impact of 12 astronaut’s and a few rover tracks on the moon’s surface albedo is as far fetched as it gets. More likely – instrument drift, change in TSI, or orbital effects. Also suspect a typo in missing 10 to the minus X scientific notation in temperature change stated. It would be interesting to know what other explanations were considered and how they were eliminated, but that would be real science. Not something I see much of these days.

Reply to  Rick C PE
June 12, 2018 11:03 am

Rick, we seem to think similarly.

Reply to  Rick C PE
June 12, 2018 6:16 pm


Ok, I can’t get the image to show.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 13, 2018 4:29 pm

For me, it shows if I click on the link.

Clyde Spencer
June 12, 2018 11:05 am

I have gone to the trouble of looking at some photos of astronaut footprints. In general, they appear to me to be brighter than the uncompacted regolith. Although, they have a shadow component that may make them appear darker overall. However, the shadow areas are not absorbing sunlight! I think that the hypothesis offered may be premature.

The article says, “…as astronauts walked or drove on the moon, it disturbed the anorthosite lunar soil — also known as regolith… That disruption exposed the darker soil, which then absorbed more of the sun’s energy and ultimately raised the moon’s temperatures.” I’m not sure what is meant by “THE darker soil.” The regolith is typically 3 to 5 meters deep, so they obviously weren’t digging to bedrock with their boots! While the regolith has been shown to be layered, with rays from impact ejecta overlaying older regolith, without cores from the areas of presumed darkening, it it conjecture that they were exposing darker material. I think this needs further work!

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 12, 2018 11:13 am

I lost custody (divorce) of a set of moon photographs sold by Hasselblad after the 1st moon landing. You could clearly see disturbed material color variations as soon as the astronauts got away from the blast zone of the landing. Pics at the landing zone weren’t representative of the rest of the surface.

June 12, 2018 11:05 am

I’m thinking that the temperature probe had disturbed surface around it due to the effort of hammering in the probe. The problem is the press release which took a local phenomenon and made it sound global. I have no problem with local warming due to the disturbed material local to the probe. Now it would be nice to have a pristine site for the probe, but that’s not what happened.

Gary Pearse
June 12, 2018 11:06 am

So a few dozen footpronts….how about warming on Mars and Earth that shrunk the polar ice caps on both planets. No one likes to talk about that. Do you think maybe the …err…sun had anything to do with this?

Gary Pearse
June 12, 2018 11:08 am

Oh, anorthosites are commonly black on earth with white being a rarity.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 12, 2018 11:38 am

Gary, I agree that bulk terrestrial anorthosites are typically dark. However, being silicates, they have a white or colorless streak on a dark streak plate. Therefore, finely granulated anorthosites (regolith) should be lighter in color than the bulk material. I think that it is the higher content of magnetite, ilmenite, and other non-silicate oxides that give basalt a darker color when finely divided.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 12, 2018 12:14 pm

Color (or colour) is not emissivity. Both white lacquer and lamp black have an emissivity of 0.95. Don’t know the emissivities of regolithe vs. basalt but, if similar, then this hypothesis is nonsense. Emissivity is the same as absorptivity.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 13, 2018 9:19 pm

Rick C PE,
I think that we are talking at cross terms here. While the emissivity at IR wavelengths is often very high, regardless of the appearance in white light, because the sun has peak output in the visible spectrum, the reflectivity in the visible portion of the spectrum is important for determining the heating the material will experience.

June 12, 2018 11:08 am

If astronauts’ footsteps can reveal darker lunar soils and cause lunar temperature increase, just imagine the huge effect of ongoing meteoric impacts disturbing lunar soils and exposing the darker lunar sub-soils! Oh, the humanity!

Reply to  JMichna
June 12, 2018 6:21 pm

I think you mean Oh the Lunacy!

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 14, 2018 7:28 am

Well, the word “lunacy” does come from the word “lunar” :-~

June 12, 2018 11:17 am

From the Journal of Geophysical Research:

“Simple analytical heat conduction models with constant regolith thermal properties can show that an abrupt increase in surface temperature of 1.6 to 3.5 K at the time of probe deployment best duplicates the magnitude and the timing of the observed subsurface warmings at both Apollo sites.”

Once again, its models all they way down.

June 12, 2018 11:21 am

In addition to my previous comments, I wonder what kind of calibration was used to ensure that the probe’s electronics weren’t drifting over time. The discrete analog circuitry available (even with OpAmps) was difficult to keep stable, even with a -55 to +125 C temp spec. on the components. Add in a little extraneous radiation and unless they have a marvelously stable reference, scepticism is warranted.

Clyde Spencer
June 12, 2018 11:24 am

Interestingly, this paper [ ] attributes “cold spots” to recent impacts (Disturbance!).

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 12, 2018 6:22 pm

Of course, because only human disturbances are bad.

June 12, 2018 11:24 am

The important question is where those stations incorporated into HadCRUT4?

June 12, 2018 11:25 am

Given how much money was spent to set up those experiments, it’s close to criminal that those tapes were allowed to be misplaced.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
June 12, 2018 11:44 am

It isn’t the first time that NASA has lost or sold priceless data or artifacts.

Mark - Helsinki
June 12, 2018 11:26 am

“Astronauts’ movement increased subsurface temperatures on the moon, study finds.”

Complete and utter bollocks

I am so tired of junk science

June 12, 2018 11:33 am

The moon not just has global warming, but most of all a greenhouse effect. With the sun in the zenith, lunar surface should yield a temperature of ((1368*(1-0.13)) / 5.67e-8)^0.25 = 380,6K.

1368W/m2 .. solar radiation
0.13 .. albedo
5.67e-8 .. Stephan Boltzmann constant

As the diviner data show, the moon becomes much hotter than this, well above 390K.

The same is true for average surface temperatures on the moon. I know it is a way hard to understand for most people how to calculate an average surface temperature of a sphere allowing the Boltzmann law and the uneven temperature distribution, so I will not try to explain it. The result is about 276K for the moon anyhow.
These 276K again are well above the theoretical temperature of the moon, if you use the common formula. It is (as above) .. ((342*(1-0.13)) / 5.67e-8)^0.25 = 269.1K. So again we have a GHE on the moon of roughly 7K. But do not have an atmosphere that could cause it.

It will not matter if we look at average or peak surface temperatures. The moon is simply far too warm. And this example, next to many others, only shows that an ill fated theoretical apprach will always result in “GHEs” despite they are not real.

June 12, 2018 11:34 am

They left out the butterfly wings that ’caused’ all of this.

Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 11:36 am

So if the moon’s temperature increased by 1.9 C, the back radiation from the moon increased and is going to fry the Earth like an egg. We’re certainly all doomed.

Ed Zuiderwijk
June 12, 2018 11:38 am

What about the dust blown away at the landing site, courtesy touch down and lift off? It will have covered quite an area when settled down.

June 12, 2018 11:39 am

I guess that is because they cut down all the trees to stoke the boiler of the rocket.

Tom O
June 12, 2018 11:46 am

Hmm. Raised the temperature from 1.6c to 3.5c. That is neither boiling hot as when the surface is facing the Sun or frigid as when the surface is turned away from the Sun. Even if it is assumed that the area of disturbance is the only area that is heating up, that heat would have to be drawn away almost immediately by the underlying planetary mass, and while in the shadow, would be radiating heat at a higher rate as well. Interesting indeed that it could accumulate a net temperature gain, much less 1.9c. All in 6 years. Since there is no dust movement on the basically airless surface, then those same areas are still gaining this heat – no reason for it to stop, really, just because the sensors died.

it has been 42 years, then, since the sensors stopped recording and transmitting the temperatures. That’s 7 times the period, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that the area has, in fact continued to gain heat – perhaps at a slower rate, but still, it should continue to gain heat, thus raising the temperature perhaps as much as 10c more. You should almost be able to read that degree of temperature difference from the space station, if not from the Earth using the correct equipment.

I am trying to pretend this analysis was legitimate and not a joke, but the more you “think” about it from a realistic point, the more surrealistic it gets.

Reply to  Tom O
June 12, 2018 11:53 am

“Hmm. Raised the temperature from 1.6c to 3.5c”

This is greater than the amount of heating caused by a doubling of CO2. The moon is DOOMED!

Reply to  RicDre
June 12, 2018 12:09 pm

Except that it has no oceans to boil, or even sea level to rise. Maybe the regolith will melt.

Reply to  Felix
June 12, 2018 12:21 pm

What, no oceans or sea level? What about the Sea of Tranquility????

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  RicDre
June 12, 2018 8:17 pm

It will vaporise and turn to dust, Oh Wait!

June 12, 2018 12:12 pm

Actually, this is good news, this tidbit shows how UHI near weather stations is the real reason for global warming, whichever globe you’re talking about.

June 12, 2018 12:15 pm

The best way to solve all the destruction of the moon caused by man walking and driving ATVs and landing drones on it is to just use the Lunar Global Average modeling approach and we will be able to sleep tonight. But that still doesn’t answer my concern as to what would happen if a 1 kg block of sharp cheddar cheese was left there. Would it turn green?

Linnea C. Lueken
June 12, 2018 12:15 pm

Question: Is the lunar surface not struck by asteroids/meteors/other space junk all the time? What could a shuffled footprint (or from a takeoff/landing of a spacecraft) really do in changing the albedo that a big ‘ol hunk of space rock doesn’t?

Peta of Newark
June 12, 2018 12:52 pm

And laying into (maybe 5% of) Planet Earth with multi-hundred horsepower tractors, ploughs and cultivators has precisely zero effect.
Before paddy fields, huge dams and the chopping of forests.

Selfishness and Magical Thinking are getting to be really rather scary……………

June 12, 2018 1:07 pm

Don’t send your kids to Western University in London, Ont.
It will be a waste of time and money.

June 12, 2018 1:45 pm

That is proof that the sun, not CO2 is causing the warming on earth.

Reply to  CO2isLife
June 12, 2018 2:03 pm

Nope it’s the moon buggies doing the damage plus the homogenization brigade has now attacked the moon temperature records.

Reply to  CO2isLife
June 13, 2018 10:58 am

If you look really close during the hottest part of the “day” you will be able to find tiny swirly temperature controlling argon gas dust devils over the area of the instrumentation (and other human disturbed areas).

This dust devils, and similar phenomenon, are what controls the temperature.

So no, you are wrong, it’s not primarily the sun, it’s other stuffs.

Reply to  DonM
June 14, 2018 7:37 am

Right or wrong, at least it’s coherent, unlike your ‘screed”.

June 12, 2018 1:51 pm

The title of this silly article is, “Astronauts’ movement increased subsurface temperatures on the moon, study finds”.
It implies humans increased the temperature of the entire moon, not just the temperature under the tiny area upon which they walked, which is what the story was about.

It is a known albedo effect that could have been predicted and probably was, although I suppose it is good to have data on it as it might be useful in showing how strong albedo effect can be, such as the amount of warmth generated by ash pollution on ice flows and glaciers. If the moon’s temperature underneath the footsteps can raise its cold temperature up to 3.5 degrees C, it should be able to do the same to glaciers, which might outweigh supposed CO2 warming up north?

June 12, 2018 2:17 pm

No matter what the subject is, the CAGWer birdbrains make themselves look dumber than a box of bent screws, every time they find something new to complain about.

Next thing you know, they’ll complain about the SOHO satellite setup orbiting the Sun, recording solar surface activity, because it is obviously causing a solar disturbance of unprecedented dimensions!

Terry Gednalske
June 12, 2018 2:18 pm

A few questions come to mind. Were the missing documents found in the same place that the Democrats “find” additional votes when they need them? Were they formatted with Microsoft Word, and printed on an inkjet? Were they on top of Barrack Obama’s original birth certificate?

June 12, 2018 3:39 pm

“You can actually see the astronauts tracks, where they walked,” Kiefer said. “And we can see … where they scuffed dirt up — and what it leaves behind is a darker path.”

Really? So there is proof that the US actually put men on the moon;)



Louis Hunt
June 12, 2018 4:28 pm

“the moon’s subsurface temperatures increased from 1.6 C to 3.5 C”

And how is a little warming on the moon a bad thing? Are they now going to claim that the reason we haven’t been able to detect life on the moon is because man-made climate change wiped it all out?

June 12, 2018 4:40 pm

On the moon, one has regolith which is meters deep and the moon is covered a fine/dusty non compacted regolith which a few inches deep. The few inches of powdery regolith act as very good insulative material or better than fiberglass house insulation.
But if you step on it, then this would dramatically decrease it’s insulative properties.
So, I don’t think it has much to do with it having a darker color, rather the energy of sunlight can conduct heat better to the very compacted regolith beneath the powdery surface.

Or the surface is heated to 120 C, and a meter below the surface it can be -35 C.
On earth one could have concrete one meter deep, and surface in noon sun could be 70 C, and at a meter depth it could not be heated up much, but on Earth one only has a few hours near noon time in which sunlight can heat surface to around 70 C, but on Moon the day is 28 times longer than Earth day, so instead you have a few earth days of sunlight heating the surface to 120 C.
So if surface insulation is “removed” the sunlight can reach the highly compacted regolith which can then conduct heat as well as, or perhaps better, than as compared to concrete.

John Harrison
June 12, 2018 5:11 pm

It’s just as well that there have been absolutely no meteorite strikes disturbing the surface of the moon over that last billion years or so otherwise who knows how high temperatures would be by now. If the dark footprints left by those naughty astronauts were to spend at least half of the time out of the Sun then they would cool more rapidly than the light surroundings and heating could start afresh the next day. Oh, forgive my oversight, the Moon does rotate doesn’t it? I guess also that using extremely powerful telescopes it can be seen that these footprints, unlike the surrounding surface, have not received a fine coating of ‘space dust’.
Was this article prepared by serious scientists because I find that very hard to believe.

Peter Morris
June 12, 2018 5:26 pm

It’s very hard not to say something pejorative about the article.

I mean dang.

Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
June 12, 2018 5:33 pm

When I was with the X PRIZE Foundation, running the flight operations for the 2006 X PRIZE Cup, we set out to build pads for the Lunar Lander Challenge that would look like the lunar surface. My first call was to Harrison Schmitt, the only scientist (geologist) to have flown to the moon, and second to the last person to leave the lunar surface. He gave us a tremendous amount of insight into the topography and, interestingly, the coloring of the lunar surface. What you see in photographs from the lunar surface, and even looking at the Moon through a telescope, is highly misleading. Standing on the Moon, you see a very dark charcoal grey surface. The white appearance of in photos, and what you see in direct observation, is due to the sheer brilliance of the incident sunlight. Schmitt did note that the plume from the LM descent engine did blow a lot of dust away, but didn’t penetrate very far. I’d be willing to bet that this is the source of most of the change in albedo around the landing site.

We hired a photo specialist who had color samples from all of the Apollo missions, and got a sample that looked representative. Amusingly, Brooke Owens and I went to a Home Depot in Las Cruces, NM to get paint for the pads, which I bought on my Home Depot credit card. The first batch they gave us was purple! We took it back, and gave us a replacement batch at no charge. It was very close to the sample we had obtained from our photo consultant. I think those pads are still there, at the Las Cruces International Airport. Anyone who wants to see what the surface of the moon actually looks like, go there.

June 12, 2018 6:12 pm

Absolute Lunarcy!

June 12, 2018 9:16 pm

OMG OMG OMG… “the moon’s subsurface temperatures increased from 1.6ºC to 3.5ºC”

Let’s clarify the story. I’ve been through the supplementary information and what has been found in the data, over the course of 2-3 years is a warming of hardly 0.3K, or 0.3ºC, not 3.5ºC, which is what they THINK (didn’t measure) that the SURFACE would have warmed. This warming of course is not a warming of the moon’s subsurface temperatures as a whole, but at most perhaps a warming in the 5cm3 or so of lunar soil surrounding the sensor located more than 1m below the surface, which is what the sensor would measure.

I don’t know how this sensor transmitted the measured temperature. If it was via radio, then the electronics of the sensor itself could have been the cause of this really small warming of the surroundings. If it was via a cable to some device in the surface, then the cable itself, being metallic, would have allowed more of the heat of the surface to make its way down to the sensor. Finally, there is the possibility of a calibration drift of course. If I am not mistaken, these sensors were not built for the purpose that they are now using their data for. They were just going to measure how much of the huge temperature variations of the surface (more than a hundred degrees between day and night) made its way to the subsurface. So regardless of the precision that they may have (which I still find hard to believe that it was of a tenth of a degree, as that kind of precision was not needed for the mission), for sure they didn’t need to have a huge stability record over long periods.

So to get to this ridiculous story of several degrees of surface warming due to a couple of men standing once in the moon, the scientists had to 1) discard possible calibration drifts, 2) discard any other possible reason for the subsurface warming but the change in albedo, and finally, use a model (YES! A MODEL! It’s models all the way down!) of the lunar subsurface to see how much you would need to increase the temperature of the surface to get a 0.3K temperature increase in the subsurface after 3 years. That’s how they arrived to the 1.6-3.5K of lunar surface warming.

Reply to  Nylo
June 13, 2018 4:59 am

If these scientists know the temperature gradient with depth, as they will, then it is quite easy to extrapolate a surface warming from the measurements at depth.

Is such a warming likely? Yes, because a reduction in albedo from (say) 0.25 to 0.15 will cause a substantial increase in insolation absorption during the long Lunar day. And so this result underscores the power of albedo to effect planetary surface temperatures.

Ice age mosulation via dust and albedo.


Reply to  ralfellis
June 14, 2018 7:56 am

“Is such a warming likely? Yes, because a reduction in albedo from (say) 0.25 to 0.15 will cause a substantial increase in insolation absorption during the long Lunar day. And so this result underscores the power of albedo to effect planetary surface temperatures.”

Re-read that and thing of “SURFACE AREA”. Then try thinking not just puking.

James Bull
June 12, 2018 11:04 pm

But But But how is this possible as everyone on this site knows we never landed on the moon it was all a fabrication .
It’s just like this global warming thing.
My mate Lew’ told me that is what we believe!

James Bull

June 13, 2018 1:28 am

Say what?

All of the steps, all of the tracks and landing pad marks and exhaust blast-back… would amount to 0.000000000000000000000001% of the surface area.

Yet “it has to be man’s fault”? This really must be a joke, a little dig at the sceptics from the devout believers?

Please say they weren’t being serious, pleeeeease!

Reply to  Casey
June 13, 2018 4:49 am

This is a very local warming, caused by the raw power of albedo – it is not a global response to a few scuff marks. The data and explanation are likely correct.

Likewise, it is the albedo of the terrestrial ice caps, that controls the ice age cycle on planet Earth.


June 13, 2018 4:09 am

The moon has an exosphere!
The LADEE Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, mission to 2014 was designed to address three major science goals:

Determine the global density, composition, and time variability of the tenuous lunar exosphere before it is perturbed by further human activity;
Determine if the Apollo astronaut sightings of diffuse emission at tens of kilometers above the surface were sodium glow or dust;
Document the dust impactor environment (size, frequency) to help guide design engineering for the outpost and also future robotic missions;

On top of that the solar wind migrates stuff to the cold polar craters. He3 is very likely abundant there. Very hard to operate equipment at those temperatures. AFAIK astronauts were warned about staying in shadows.

June 13, 2018 4:30 am

Probably true.

The sensors are close to the darkened scuff marks. And as I have long suspected, albedo is the strongest temlerature feedback system on the Earth (or Moon). And the lower albedo scuff marks warmed the surface.


Patrick Powers
June 13, 2018 8:27 am

‘Scientists’ who have never learned the scientific principle, no doubt. However, I am rather more concerned that such valuable data has not been properly archived…

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