Researchers have hoped for quite a long time that the surface of the Moon is hiding caverns which can shelter possible colonists. Now, a team of researchers from the United States and Japan managed to find evidence that lava actually carved such formations, highlighting a great future for the next exploration missions.
Lava formed caverns beneath the Moon’s surface
While studying the surface of the Moon, scientists uncovered some elaborate caverns close to Marius Hill. It turns out these formations used to be lava tubes and, besides offering great resources of study and the perfect place to study the composition of the surface, they can be perfect for sheltering future colonists.
The Moon is surrounded by no atmosphere. This means that its surface and everything standing on it remains exposed to the harsh rays of the Sun, as well as other extreme conditions. However, the elaborate caverns provide instant protection against all these factors.
For quite a long time, researchers have been studying these formations. They have always assumed they were created by lava, but had no solid proof in favor of the hypothesis. The Moon used to have an intense volcanic activity and, when the lava dried, it left these formations under its surface. Now, the new research reveals that the caverns not only exist, but they can also provide stable shelter.
The caverns can offer shelter to future colonists
With the help of radar observation, researchers detected the hollow tubes under the lunar surface. The radar rays were launched by SELENE, a lunar observation spacecraft launched by JAXA, and, after bouncing on the surface, they returned with information on the composition and geological history of the Moon.
As soon as the radar bursts met the entrance to the caverns, they issued an echo. Then, judging from the pitch and the tone of the echo, they could tell the formations had a volcanic origin. All these caverns are located in areas where NASA had previously identified missing masses of land. Therefore, they are real, and might offer a much more welcoming shelter than we would have thought.