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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: 3, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Friday October 20 2017, @10:37AM (17 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday October 20 2017, @10:37AM (#585166) Journal

    All these dreams of colonizing other worlds, starting with Mars or the Moon, are nice but it'll be a lot harder than merely providing air and water, shielding people and an entire ecology from radiation, and growing crops. Not that those are exactly easy either. It looks like we really will have to set up a functioning biosphere, and we haven't figured out how to do that yet. Biosphere 2 didn't work, thanks not least to the concrete taking oxygen out of the air. Oxygen is corrosive stuff. Without some open space with breathable air, what we would have is an outpost, basically the space station, just on a large body with significant gravity.

    I wonder about our own psychology. What about problems such as Seasonal affective disorder? Cabin fever?

    Our notions of extraterrestrial colonies have a heavy European bias. Europeans had a rough time colonizing the New World. Tried to colonize Africa as well, with much less success. The tropical climate, and particularly the tsetse fly almost singlehandedly caused many such attempts to fail. An extraterrestrial colony that doesn't have a winter season could unwittingly support the tsetse fly, malaria, and lots of other thrilling tropical diseases and parasites. Relying on careful screening at the borders to keep out unwanted organisms doesn't seem practical over the long term, not when just one slip, anywhere, anytime, can introduce them.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday October 20 2017, @10:56AM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday October 20 2017, @10:56AM (#585171) Journal

    I wonder about our own psychology. What about problems such as Seasonal affective disorder? Cabin fever?

    Other than the ISS, there have been these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HI-SEAS [wikipedia.org]

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by realDonaldTrump on Friday October 20 2017, @11:50AM (3 children)

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Friday October 20 2017, @11:50AM (#585182) Homepage Journal

    Running Biosphere 2 is a very tough job, very tough financially and in many ways. It's a lot, a lot like reality TV. And Steve Bannon did OK as its CEO. Not brilliant but OK. He kept it in business.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday October 20 2017, @12:06PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday October 20 2017, @12:06PM (#585188) Journal

      Wow, 2 real for me.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bio-Dome [wikipedia.org]

      Bannon, possibly indirectly responsible for Jack Black's career.

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      • (Score: 2, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Friday October 20 2017, @01:18PM

        by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Friday October 20 2017, @01:18PM (#585209) Homepage Journal

        I'll tell you, Stephen Miller is a great guy. A very smart Jewish guy. He does good work for me. I like Pauly, but his imitation of Stephen is really mean-spirited and not very good. What kind of person makes fun of a man's hairline? That's just mean. They call it Funny or Die. Let me tell you, it's not funny at all. I don't think that his imitation of Stephen gets Stephen at all, and it's meant to be very mean-spirited which is very biased and I don't like it so I can tweet that out.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by tangomargarine on Friday October 20 2017, @04:33PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Friday October 20 2017, @04:33PM (#585291)

      Wait, this is actually a thing? Huh. Yes, Bannon really was involved with Biosphere 2. Apparently he got along so badly with the scientists they sabotaged the experiment.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2#Second_mission [wikipedia.org]

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Friday October 20 2017, @12:40PM (8 children)

    by looorg (578) on Friday October 20 2017, @12:40PM (#585199)

    We might have somewhat different ideas about colonization but I'm fairly certain that Europeans did a bang up job of colonizing both the Americas and Africa, and a few more places. Sure it took some hard work, a genocide or two and then that whole slavery thing. But we got shit done eventually. No time to be a softy. If anything colonization of the moon should be a lot easier then since there are no indigenous population we have to pacify first. Question might be whom to send instead. I guess we could always do an Australia v2.0 and start sending the unwanted and criminals there first to get the ball rolling. If (or when) they croak it won't be as harsh as if some astronaut dies. Robots will probably be better tho, less food stuff required and you can pack them tighter in transport.

    I'm more interested in seeing whom the Russians and the Chinese are going to send, they don't tend to have our new found sensitivities when it comes to human rights and such. I suspect military first, perhaps a moon penal colony after.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @01:10PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @01:10PM (#585205)

      You are a psychopath.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by looorg on Friday October 20 2017, @02:13PM (1 child)

        by looorg (578) on Friday October 20 2017, @02:13PM (#585235)

        We can't all be sensitive delicate flowers. Someone has to get the job done.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @08:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @08:16PM (#585405)

          Fucking psycho and you don't even see it, just hide behind some bullshit bootstrapping phrase.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @01:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20 2017, @01:27PM (#585212)

      "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" (Mark 8:36 [biblehub.com])

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bob_super on Friday October 20 2017, @05:53PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Friday October 20 2017, @05:53PM (#585347)

        Cold. Hard. Cash.
        And all the amazing privileges it entails.

        Any follow-up questions?

    • (Score: 1, Redundant) by DannyB on Friday October 20 2017, @05:31PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 20 2017, @05:31PM (#585329) Journal

      I will mention the book "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress". I notice it has already been mentioned elsewhere here.

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    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday October 20 2017, @05:32PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday October 20 2017, @05:32PM (#585330) Journal

      Well if you're gonna be brutal about it send the Chinese to do the hard work, suffer construction accidents, etc., just like was done with the Trans-Continental Railroad. Then when they're done, assert prior claim, take possession, and kick them out.

      Nah, don't think it will work this time. The Chinese are quickly catching up in the military department and are just as likely to turn it around on the West.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday October 20 2017, @05:43PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 20 2017, @05:43PM (#585338) Journal

      No time to be a softy.

      Hey, I use Linux I'll halve you know.

      --
      Calmly vote. Fill out your ballet and drop it in the ballet box. Don't dance around bothering the pole watchers.
  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 20 2017, @01:51PM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 20 2017, @01:51PM (#585223) Journal

    An extraterrestrial colony that doesn't have a winter season could unwittingly support the tsetse fly, malaria, and lots of other thrilling tropical diseases and parasites. Relying on careful screening at the borders to keep out unwanted organisms doesn't seem practical over the long term, not when just one slip, anywhere, anytime, can introduce them.

    Yea, they'd have to work a little to remove the parasite.

    All these dreams of colonizing other worlds, starting with Mars or the Moon, are nice but it'll be a lot harder than merely providing air and water, shielding people and an entire ecology from radiation, and growing crops.

    I disagree. You were only able to find minor psychological issues, physiological issues due to low gravity which might not be minor but which we can deal with in various ways, and parasites that we don't have trouble with for the most part in the real world (where's the tsetse fly in your developed world HVAC?). The engineering, construction, and transportation (of habitat materials and staff) are the hard stuff.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bob_super on Friday October 20 2017, @05:57PM (1 child)

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday October 20 2017, @05:57PM (#585348)

      Keeping some suicidal idiot from opening the main hatch in a moment of desperation might be a problem too.
      Humans are the hardest part of the whole "human space exploration" thing.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 20 2017, @06:23PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 20 2017, @06:23PM (#585356) Journal

        Keeping some suicidal idiot from opening the main hatch in a moment of desperation might be a problem too.

        That's not much of a problem. There would be modest loss of atmosphere and one dead idiot. Problem would then be fixed. Keep in mind that a lot of engineering that would protect against accidental releases of atmosphere and other hazards of space habitation also protect against deliberate human sabotage as well as suicides.