Astronauts and scientists recorded intriguing changes in the moon’s temperature in the 1970s, but the cause for these thermal changes remained a mystery for decades. Thankfully, the recovery and restoration of some tapes finally yielded scientists an answer.


Evidently, the changes in the moon’s temperature were not the result of some undiscovered inner heat source as some speculated, but merely by all of the debris and dust stirred up by the astronauts who were exploring it.

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The Apollo 15 mission, the fourth mission to land men on the moon, happened in 1971. The key goal of this mission was to examine the moon’s surface, hopefully uncovering why the temperature increased. Among the tests performed were drilling probes into the ground, which transmitted the information back to Earth, from 1971 to 1977, though the records from 1974 onward were lost.

Eight years ago some of those missing tapes were discovered, though they were damaged with many holes in their information. However, by restoring what could be recovered and by filling in some of the blanks with the science of today, it has been determined that it was the activities of the astronauts that increased the moon’s surface temperature. The biggest factor in reaching this conclusion was how the moon’s temperature got progressively hotter closer to the surface, implying manmade actions were causing the temperature spike.

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