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posted by martyb on Friday October 20 2017, @03:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the nascent-underground-economy dept.

Following up on a report from 2011, comes confirmation that, instead of a base on the moon, a better idea might be a base inside the moon:

"Japan's space agency said it had discovered an enormous cave beneath the lunar surface that could be turned into an exploration base for astronauts."

"The chasm, 50km (31 miles) long and 100 metres wide, appears to be structurally sound and its rocks may contain ice or water deposits that could be turned into fuel, according to data sent back by the orbiter, nicknamed Kaguya after the moon princess in a Japanese fairytale."

According to a science news article by UPI (United Press International):

In a new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists confirmed the presence of a large lava tube among the Marius Hills, a series of lunar lava domes.

The open lava tube could serve like a giant bunker, providing shelter from the harsh conditions on the moon's surface. In their study, scientists argue lava tubes offer ideal protection from extreme temperature swings, radiation and meteorite impacts.

Lava tubes form when the outer edges of a lava flow harden into crust and the remaining lava drains away, leaving an empty cylinder.

"It's important to know where and how big lunar lava tubes are if we're ever going to construct a lunar base," Junichi Haruyama, a senior researcher at JAXA, Japan's space agency, said in a news release. "But knowing these things is also important for basic science. We might get new types of rock samples, heat flow data and lunar quake observation data."

Scientists have known about the Marius Hills Skylight, the opening to the newly discovered lava tube. But until now, they weren't sure what the entrance led to.

When JAXA's SELENE spacecraft bounced radar off the area, the data revealed an echo-like signature suggesting the waves were bouncing back off the floor and ceiling of a tube-like structure. Gravity data from NASA's GRAIL mission also revealed an absence of mass beneath the surface surrounding the Marius Hills Skylight.

The combination of the two datasets helped scientists get a better idea of how deep and far the cavity stretched beneath the lunar surface.

"Our group at Purdue used the gravity data over that area to infer that the opening was part of a larger system," said Jay Melosh, a researcher on the GRAIL mission and a professor of planetary science at Purdue. "By using this complimentary technique of radar, they were able to figure out how deep and high the cavities are."


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

 
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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @04:39AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @04:39AM (#585109)

    ...or thermal exhaust port?

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Friday October 20 2017, @05:23AM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday October 20 2017, @05:23AM (#585114) Journal

    There's only one way to be sure.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @08:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @08:12PM (#585403)

      Launch a proton torpedo down one?

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday October 20 2017, @07:01AM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Friday October 20 2017, @07:01AM (#585136)

    ... or it's what is left over after the moon-worms burrow thru? Better send in the space marines first.

    I wonder if building inside a cave will be cheaper then building surface habitats, if the cave walls acts as shielding less of it might be required, or at least used as an excuse to cheap out. Until they years afterwards find out it wasn't the case and we end up with a race of moon-mutants.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Freeman on Friday October 20 2017, @04:31PM

      by Freeman (732) on Friday October 20 2017, @04:31PM (#585290) Journal

      If you have a preexisting structure that can provide shielding, you might could get away with spray a thin layer of foam over everything, add "thin" metal structure over that, and make the entrance much more substantial. That would almost certainly give you a much bigger area than you would have been able to build on the surface.

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      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday October 20 2017, @05:58PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday October 20 2017, @05:58PM (#585349) Journal

    No, they are Nazi hideouts.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.