Jun 26, 2019 | Updated: 09:24 AM EDT

Astronauts to Use Lava Tubes for Lunar Accommodations

May 23, 2019 08:44 AM EDT

Image of a 130 m wide hole in the surface of the moon.
Image of a 130 m wide hole in the surface of the moon.

Some say that the era of living on Earth is nearly over. With this, there are different organizations that have been looking into surviving or living space. As there are many concepts that are now being lobbied and studied for viability, another concept is being proposed by one of the lunar scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration  (NASA).  Dr. Daniel Moriarty suggested that the tunnel-like caves on the surface of the moon which are actually lava tubes could be turned into a base away from home.

In March, United States president Donald Trump has announced that he wanted to launch a lunar mission by 2024. That is four years from the original plans of the next Moon mission Artemis which is to land on the moon by 2028.

Dr. Moriarty pointed out that they would not be able to make many changes from the surface of the moon. However, it makes a lot of sense to work with and some of the structures and resources that are already on site.

Citing an example, the lunar scientist pointed out the area near a permanently-shadowed polar region which has surface water that could be used to establish a base. 

He also lobbied the idea of setting up shop within a pre-existing lava tube. He stated that the structure could provide astronauts with some shielding from the temperature variations and the incoming solar radiation when staying on the Moon.

Dr. Moriarty is optimistic that NASA could take a vantage of the natural structures on the moon's surface.
Lava tubes occur as a natural pathway for liquid lava to pass through under hardened lava. It drains lava from a volcano during an eruption. As lava would cease, the rock formation is cooled down forming a tube.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA chief, stated that the next mission would entail the astronauts to stay on the surface of the moon where they will be able to learn what it takes for the next step which is to send astronauts to Mars.

Meanwhile, Japan has considered using Moon caves for their base as well. About two years ago, their space probe Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) has discovered a crater measuring 50km (31 miles) long and 100m (328 feet) wide. The discovery was confirmed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The Japanese scientists explained that the said crevasse was formed about 3.6 billion years ago and could be the future home of their astronauts.

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