The conquest of the Moon by the United States in 1969 represents, perhaps, the greatest achievement for mankind and scientific space development. The various missions that were made to our unique natural satellite provided unprecedented knowledge on its composition and history. However, not everything was perfect.
During the missions of Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 in 1971 and 1972, the astronauts conducted on the ground of our satellite an experiment of the lunar heat flow by drilling the surface by more than 6 feet deep in order to observe the possible changes in temperature.
All the information gathered in these researches was compiled in tapes at the National Space Science Data Center of the USA, but it was announced through media reports that only data stored until December 1974 existed, while the tapes containing the data for 1975, 1976 and 1977 had disappeared.
Now it has been reported that US researchers have managed to locate the lost lunar temperature records of the year 1975, as well as hundreds of weekly records from the years of 1973 to 1977.
In this information, it is specified that during that period the temperature of the lunar surface increased. In addition, the heat has reached the bottom of the holes, which allowed us to suppose that this heat came from the surface of the satellite, and not from its interior.
Scientists consider that the increase in the temperature of the Moon was produced by the astronauts themselves when they made the holes, since with their maneuvers they disturbed the upper layer of the lunar surface, when they began with the excavations.
“The images of the two landing sites recently obtained by the camera of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe show that the regolith (the upper layer) in the places where the astronauts were located darkened,” they note in the study.
This means that, after the exploration of the astronauts, the lunar surface darkened and began to absorb more solar heat, which, according to scientists, could explain the increase of several degrees of temperature in the holes.
In this way, astronomers and engineers plan to use this data when creating the next generation equipment that will land on the Moon and take advantage of the experiences of previous interventions on its surface, as well as the effects they had on its temperature.