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Huge 50km-long cave discovered on the Moon


Posted on Thursday, 19 October, 2017 | Comment icon 20 comments

Lava tubes could offer protection from meteorites and radiation. Image Credit: NASA / Sean Smith
The Japanese space agency JAXA has announced the discovery of a cave hidden beneath the lunar surface.
Picked up by Japan's orbiting Selenological and Engineering Explorer (Selene) probe using a special radar sounder system capable of examining underground structures, the enormous cave is thought to be relatively stable and stretches for around 50 kilometers with a width and depth of 50 meters.

Scientists believe that the cave, which is thought to be a lava tube formed by volcanic activity 3.5 billion years ago, could contain ice or water deposits along its walls, making it a particularly good location for astronauts to set up a base.

"We've known about these locations that were thought to be lava tubes... but their existence has not been confirmed until now," said JAXA senior researcher Junichi Haruyama.

"[Lava tubes] might be the best candidate sites for future lunar bases, because of their stable thermal conditions and potential to protect people and instruments from micrometeorites and radiation."

JAXA is hoping to launch a manned mission to the Moon by 2030 and it is likely that this newly discovered cave will be the subject of multiple new studies before then.

"We haven't actually seen the inside of the cave itself so there are high hopes that exploring it will offer more details," said Haruyama.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (20)

Tags: Moon, Cave

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 19 October, 2017, 23:21
Awesome,  maybe Trump will build a hotel.  
Comment icon #12 Posted by Nzo on 19 October, 2017, 23:21
The perfect underground city has just been dug out for us. Now all we have to do is cap that entrance and start building behind it. Welcome to moon base Alpha.   Lets just hope that a huge space worm is not living there like in  Star wars.
Comment icon #13 Posted by TaintlessMetals on 19 October, 2017, 23:58
Funny, using lava tubes as prefabricated housing on celestial bodies with an inhospitable atmosphere to humans is a key portion of a certain persons claims about a secret space program. While obviously it's very difficult to find any of his "story" credible due to complete lack of corresponding physical evidence this definately parallels and will most likely be used in some manor in an attempt to vindicate said claims. On a different point this, I would think, should substantially  move up the current date for a permanent habitat on the moon. We can put a rover up there in 6 months along with ... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Merc14 on 20 October, 2017, 1:43
Actually, JAXA has physical evidence, that is what their satellite is designed to do so not sure what you are talking about?  It has to beverified, obviously, but there is a cavern there.  Please read the linked article before declaring they are guessing.  Falcon heavy has not flown and the first flight is, as admitted by Mr. Musk, very risky.  They are not, by any means, 6 months from a Moon landing.  If you are truly interested in what is going on in the space exploration world I highly recommend subscribing to this particular forum as folks are very good at posting the latest available news... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by TaintlessMetals on 20 October, 2017, 3:46
That isnt what i was referring to but no worries I'll clear it up so where on the same page.  I appreciate the info and invitation none the less. What I was alluring to is a "story" that has been circulating throughout the let's call it "fringe science community". There is a man by the name of  C. Goode that says all kinds of fantastical stories involving himself and a secret space program, time travel Etc, part of which involves lava tube cities on local celestial bodies. He cant provide any legitimate physical evidence so a betting man would assume he will try to say this finding vindicates ... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Merc14 on 20 October, 2017, 11:38
I am sure he will but lava tubes have been suspected for a long time, alien cities, not so much. Maybe but Falcon Heavy is now 2-3 years late so not sure how much money would make it more ready to go.  
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer on 20 October, 2017, 13:23
Yes, but the villain have the Moon Bat-base now.  If they still don't bear with me. With all of my eye operations I'm over 2 years behind in some of my books.
Comment icon #18 Posted by paperdyer on 20 October, 2017, 13:27
Maybe a few Casinos, Playboy club, etc.  The new and greatest place to gamble.  You can gamble on the 3 - 4 day trip, just like a cruise ship. Then you can lose the rest of your money once you're there.  I'm sure casinos on the Moon wouldn't pay back at 97% as Vegas does. (unless that's changed.  It's old info on my part)
Comment icon #19 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 20 October, 2017, 15:42
Let hope Disney get involved. I'm not much for Casinos, I don't find losing my money for nothing to be much fun. 
Comment icon #20 Posted by Mr.United_Nations on 26 October, 2017, 10:25
Theres more than one space orgainsation that isnt government funded..


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