Building a home near a moon crater or a lunar sea may sound nice, but moon colonists might have a much better chance of survival if they just lived in a hole.
That’s the message sent by an international team of scientists who say they’ve discovered a protected lunar “lava tube” — a deep, giant hole — that might be well suited for a moon colony or a lunar base.
The vertical hole, in the volcanic Marius Hills region on the moon’s near side, is 213 feet wide and is estimated to be more than 260 feet deep, according to findings published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
More important, the scientists say, the hole is protected from the moon’s harsh temperatures and meteorite strikes by a thin sheet of lava. That makes the tube a good candidate for further exploration or possible inhabitation, the article says.
“Lunar lava tubes are a potentially important location for a future lunar base, whether for local exploration and development, or as an outpost to serve exploration beyond the Moon,” writes the team, led by Junichi Haruyama, a senior researcher with the Japanese space agency JAXA.
“Any intact lava tube could serve as a shelter from the severe environment of the lunar surface, with its meteorite impacts, high-energy UV radiation and energetic particles, and extreme diurnal temperature variations.”
Read More: CNN