Astronomers have confirmed that on the moon there are huge lava tubes – channels formed after the eruption of the volcano. In the future they can be used as shelter for astronauts who will work on the natural satellite of the Earth, the website of N+1 with reference to Geophysical Research Letters.
The authors of the new work proposed to build a shelter for astronauts in lava tubes, the length of which can reach several tens of kilometers. The need in shelters due to the fact that the satellite is no thick atmosphere and magnetic fields, which serve as a shield for our planet. Not a single cosmonaut has still not been on the moon for more than three days, including because the suits can’t protect against space threats: low temperature and solar radiation. Scientists believe that as additional protection for lunar colonies in the future you can use the details of the terrain – valleys or caves.
Lava tubes are formed when the lava flow, the current from the slope of the volcano starts to cool unevenly. The upper layers of lava cool more quickly due to contact with the external environment, forming a hard crust, while closer to the center of the tube, the lava flow is still going. As further cooling the thickness of the crust increases, and the hot lava eventually flows out of the core, leaving a cave.
Scientists have long suspected that the moon there are lava tubes, but to examine one of them was able for the first time.
Astronomers noticed dark depression, which was presumably the entrance to the cave. To explore it, they used the radar set on the Japanese probe SELENE. Tool sending radio waves that have penetrated below the surface of the moon, and scientists, by measuring the period of time between the sending and receiving of reflected signals, determine the characteristics of the terrain. Also, the authors used data on the gravitational field of the satellite, obtained by the GRAIL mission.
In the end it turned out that on the moon there is a cave with the length about 50 kilometers and a height of over 75 meters. According to scientists, it was formed 3.5 billion years ago by volcanic activity. The handset is under the complex of lava domes called the Marius hills.
Lava tubes on the Moon? Evidence suggests yes. https://t.co/8QY5THs65V
— AGU’s Eos (@AGU_Eos) 18 Oct 2017
Such caves can be used for protection from meteorites and extreme temperatures. As the researchers claim, in a lava tube could hypothetically fit an entire city.
Some scientists suggest that the lava tube can be a source of resources, in particular water ice.