Possible human shelters detected on Moon’s surface
Pits on the moon that may have temperatures suitable for human life and prosperity were discovered.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft and computer modeling system has made a breakthrough by discovering pits, which resemble shaded locations on the Moon. The temperature of these pits hovers around a temperature of about 17 degrees Celsius which is considered convenient for human sustainability, as temperatures normally reach circa 127 Celsius during the day and cool down to minus 173 Celsius at night.
Discovery and benefits of lunar pits
Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary science at the University of California in Los Angeles, stated that nearly 16 of more than 200 pits are likely formed as a result of collapsed lava tubes, with their first discovery on the Moon made in 2009. Since then, scientists were skeptical as to whether these caves can become shelters for humans. These lunar pits provide even further benefit by protecting the surface from solar radiation, cosmic rays, and micrometeorites.
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of pits indicate that the Moon has caves. Could they become astronaut habitats?— NASA Moon (@NASAMoon) July 26, 2022
Scientists have discovered that parts of the pits are always about 63°F (17°C), differing from extreme temperatures at the Moon's surfacehttps://t.co/K0sm1CLqal
Horvath and his colleagues resorted to computer modeling analysis techniques to find out the thermal characteristics of the rock structure, centering on a roughly cylindrical 100-meter deep depression with a length and width of a football field on the moon, known as Mare Tranquillitatis. Horvath additionally derived his data from a thermal camera, Diviner, that can speculate the temperature within the pits, diverging from those on the surface.
The results of his research argue that temperatures within the permanently shadowed areas of the pit maintain slight fluctuation during the day, but remain stable at around 17 Celsius.
Read more: NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter finds rocket impact site on Moon
What this means for the near future
LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, added that with these pits harboring a stable thermal environment, the possibility of visualizing their features and exploring them may be a close call.
It is believed that the shadows represent the primary reason for the steady temperature, which can regulate how hot things behave during the lunar day and thus prevent heat from radiating away at night.
Read more: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope reveals its first images