Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Moon Science

Chandrayaan-1 Spots Giant Underground Chamber On the Moon 322

Posted by timothy
from the where-the-tang-mines-will-be dept.
siliconeyes writes "Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization have discovered a giant underground chamber on the moon, which they feel could be used as a base by astronauts on future manned missions to moon. An analysis by an instrument on Chandrayaan-1 revealed a 1.7-km long and 120-metre wide cave near the moon's equator that is in the Oceanus Procellarum area of the moon that could be a suitable 'base station' for future human missions."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Chandrayaan-1 Spots Giant Underground Chamber On the Moon

Comments Filter:
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:06PM (#35401290) Homepage
    dust storms on the moon? really? honestly? come on, people.

    Other than that, sure, sounds spiffy. Now we just need to wait for something useful to do up in Space (and practical, for that matter.)

    • by Brett Buck (811747) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:10PM (#35401318)

      There are certainly dust storms of a sort. Dust is moved by electrostatic forces as the sun rises and sets - all those charged particles coming out of the Sun, unimpeded, is like rubbing an amber rod with cat fur.

    • by Suki I (1546431) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:10PM (#35401320) Homepage Journal

      which they feel could be used as a base by astronauts on future manned missions to moon.

      What makes them think the moon's crawlspace is not already in use?

    • by anakin876 (612770) <anakin876 AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:30PM (#35401416)
      The problem isn't the dust storm, the problem is the dust coming in on the suits. It's sharp and when breathed in can create serious health problems. It gets all over the place.
    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:54PM (#35401552)
      Something to do in space? Like... solar power unimpeded by an atmosphere? Near limitless material resources? Industrial production with no concern for environmental impact?
      • by ross.w (87751) <rwonderley.gmail@com> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:06PM (#35401948) Journal
        Whaling. Don't forget whaling. If there ain't no whales, you could tell tall tales and sing a whaling tune.
      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        This cave is near the equator, and as you know, the moon is dark two weeks every month. You'll need some pretty good power storage systems to keep a manned base running for that long on backup. The only place you would have (nearly) perpetual sunlight would be on the poles.
        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          This cave is near the equator, and as you know, the moon is dark two weeks every month. You'll need some pretty good power storage systems to keep a manned base running for that long on backup. The only place you would have (nearly) perpetual sunlight would be on the poles.

          I suggest giant fly wheels 1.5 miles in hight.... ahhh never-mind just send up a 9000mWh graphite based nukular reactor....

          • i'm not sure what good a 9000 milli-Watt/hour reactor would be, might as well carry a laptop battery or two instead...

        • Heat engines would do the trick easily. Large temperature differences exist between the surface (hot/cold) and the bottom of the cave. You would need to change the direction of the piping twice a month.

          • by tftp (111690)

            You would need to change the direction of the piping twice a month.

            The Earth would go bankrupt just on delivery of the liquid for this heat engine, unless it is molten glass or some other local material. But local materials are hard to use.

            We can't set up any heavy machinery on the Moon or on other planets without some major discoveries in propulsion. Right now we are like ancient seafarers in a canoe crossing the Atlantic ocean. Can it be done? Yes, perhaps, if you really have to. Is it practical? Not

        • The part that we *see* is dark for half the month, but the moon as a whole is always half lit except for during a lunar eclipse. You could run a big power cable halfway around the moon and always have power ;)

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:03PM (#35401608) Homepage

      Many Bothans died to bring us this information.

    • by esoterus (66707)

      The Moon is indeed... a harsh mistress.

      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        The Moon is indeed... a harsh mistress.

        blah we all know that you love it when she asphyxia's you at the controls to the unloading dock... you really need to start hanging a sock on the door or something man..

    • by metalcup (897029) <.metalcup. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:53AM (#35403030)

      http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/07dec_moonstorms/ [nasa.gov]

      Nope, there are moonstorms. From the link:

      "All this matters to NASA because, by 2018 or so, astronauts are returning to the Moon. Unlike Apollo astronauts, who never experienced lunar sunrise, the next explorers are going to establish a permanent outpost. They'll be there in the morning when the storm sweeps by.

      The wall of dust, if it exists, might be diaphanous, invisible, harmless. Or it could be a real problem, clogging spacesuits, coating surfaces and causing hardware to overheat.

      Which will it be? Says Stubbs, "we've still got a lot to learn about the Moon."

    • Ever hear of helium 3? Perhaps you are unaware that there is a severe shortage of it? Perhaps you are also unaware that it is used for lots and lots of stuff which make our modern world possible.
      Lastly, it seems that you are unaware that the moon contains shit loads of it.
      Seems to me like a practice and profitable reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:06PM (#35401292)

    So do the humans plan evicting the aliens that live in there? Or do they live only on the side of the moon that doesn't face Earth?

  • Lava Tube (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:11PM (#35401326)

    A far better link is this one: http://www.moonsociety.org/reports/ISRO_Lavatube_Discovery.html [moonsociety.org]

    You can't tell the length of a chamber from a photograph of the surface. Its not at all clear that there is any enclosed space in this tube. It could have been that the un-collapsed section is in fact filled full of derbies. Until we can hit them with ground penetrating radar its probably guesswork.

    • chamber filled with debris>no chamber at all
    • Sweet! Let's get there ASAP! I want my Moon Hat! How many derbies would it take to fill that cave? Surely there's enough to go around!

    • It could have been that the un-collapsed section is in fact filled full of derbies.

      That in and of itself is a great reason to go there. Just think: one of those derbies might be the legendary Kirward Derby. [wikipedia.org] If so, whoever wears it could easily figure out how to solve all the world's problems, including paying for the trip.

  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:12PM (#35401328) Homepage
    Make sure workers in that cave have plenty of copies of 'The Empire Strikes Back' with a high definition cave scene!
  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:15PM (#35401340)
    You have been eaten by a Grue.
  • for some reason when i read this the phrase "metal munching moon mice" popped into my head. apparently it's from a rocky and bullwinkle episode i must have seen a very long time ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal-Munching_Mice [wikipedia.org]

  • Is that you?
  • Data haven (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jaxoreth (208176) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:20PM (#35401368)

    Since the moon isn't covered by any legal jurisdiction, it would be a perfect place to set up a data haven. In fact, I believe one company already has plans to set up a lunar facility [google.com].

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Since the moon isn't covered by any legal jurisdiction, it would be a perfect place to set up a data haven. In fact, I believe one company already has plans to set up a lunar facility [google.com].

      Two words: high latency.

      People won't settle for crappy ping times - a minimum of 2,600 ms.

      And of course, it's only usable when the moon is above the horizon.

      • On the other hand, it's just about the perfect definition of off-site backup!

        • by unitron (5733)

          True. In the event of something happening that takes out both the Moon and the Earth, your data will be the least of your concerns.

          • Umm... I'd even say, if something takes out the Earth, your data isn't really your concern. On the Moon or elsewhere.

          • True. In the event of something happening that takes out both the Moon and the Earth, your data will be the least of your concerns.

            Unless your data includes "How to build a new Earth." Then you'd want it!

      • Re:Data haven (Score:4, Interesting)

        by meerling (1487879) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:30PM (#35402056)
        The one way trip time for a radio signal between the Earth to the Moon is about 1.3 seconds if I remember correctly.
        Hollywood never shows it, but then again they have people on radios from Mars in real time and that's something like a 20 minutes to a half hour one way.
        Just imagine calling home from Mars. You dial the number, then wait a half hour before it starts ringing on Earth so someone will pick it up, by the time you hear them saying "hello", about an hour has gone by. Not very reasonable.
        The 1.3 seconds to the Moon would drive most computer communication protocols nuts, especially since they won't know if the other end has even received a packet for a bit more than 2 and a half seconds. Someone out there has written an interplanetary protocol, but I don't believe it's actually been implemented for anything.
        As a side note, NASA uses their own custom stuff to talk to their probes. They even have to take into account doppler shift due to the relative speeds and trajectories of their probes and receivers. It can get really messy if you haven't planned for it.

        All times will vary depending on the exact positions between the two bodies since they are orbiting the sun in different orbits, and if you want to communicate with something on the other side of the sun from you, you can't, at least not directly. To do that trick you have to send the signal to something else that can see both you and your intended recipient so they can relay it, which means a longer route and so a longer delay in any communications.

        Sci-Fi is so much easier with Ansibles, Sub-space Radios, and other types of instant communications.
        • Sci-Fi's superluminal communication can actually be extrapolated from Quantum entanglement [wikipedia.org], if you're so inclined. Not saying that's a guaranteed solution, but you can imagine it happening.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by werepants (1912634)
            Unfortunately, that isn't how entanglement works - it sure seems like it should be able to send information faster than light, but every hypothetical experiment that has been devised still gets curtailed by a light speed constraint.
      • by jez9999 (618189)

        And of course, it's only usable when the moon is above the horizon.

        I might be missing something here, but isn't the moon always visible from somewhere on Earth? You'd need maybe 2 or 3 receivers (USA, Spain, Australia?)

    • by owlnation (858981)

      Since the moon isn't covered by any legal jurisdiction, it would be a perfect place to set up a data haven. In fact, I believe one company already has plans to set up a lunar facility .

      The moon's not covered by any legal jurisdiction, because at the moment, it doesn't really need to be. Once any human activity starts, the lawyers will crawl out of the woodwork, and treaties, contracts and agreements will begin to stack up nicely. Pretty much as it does in International Marine Law.

      It's an whole new way

      • by Kosi (589267)

        Bah, just send them out for a walk, once they are up there. Problem solved.

        • by peragrin (659227)

          that would be my plan for all the we didn't walk on the moon conspiracy theorists. Take them up there first and convince them they are right and they can just remove their helmets.

          Sometimes Darwin needs a hand.

    • by meerling (1487879)
      Actually there are international agreements that cover various extra-terrestrial endeavors, especially those regarding the Moon.
  • by joh (27088) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:22PM (#35401376)

    This cace is "near the moon's equator". The only places where we could find water are on the poles. So, what to do there? Sitting in a cave doing nothing may be fine, but why go to the moon for that?

    • Re:Useless place (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Graff (532189) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:39PM (#35401794)

      This cace is "near the moon's equator". The only places where we could find water are on the poles.

      It's not that hard to move the water, especially in a low-g environment such as the moon. A pipeline from the pole to the equator would be about 1,700 miles, definitely possible considering that the longest pipeline on Earth [wikipedia.org] is around 2,500 miles.

      You could also have largely autonomous vehicles which shuttle back and forth from both sites on a ballistic trajectory, it would take a relatively low amount of energy. Hell, I'd use something like a space fountain [wikipedia.org] or launch loop [wikipedia.org] because most of the energy of launch could be re-captured when the payload lands.

      Natural lava tubes this size are a great find for many reasons:

      • living quarters will need considerable shielding from:
        • high-energy particles
        • pressure differences
        • temperature swings
        • micro-meteor impacts
      • the best first-line of shielding will be the moon's regolith, it's dense and locally-available
      • excavation takes time and that means a lot of money supporting the crew and equipment doing the digging
      • you'll have to shield the crew during excavation, which means you need to bring shielding with you

      A large, stable lava tube greatly simplifies the entire process and saves a lot of time and money.

      • by mirix (1649853)

        It's not that hard to move the water, especially in a low-g environment such as the moon.

        It's a bit harder to pump ice, though...

      • Re:Useless place (Score:5, Interesting)

        by subreality (157447) on Monday March 07, 2011 @03:11AM (#35403272)

        I don't think the pipeline would work. 1700 miles is easy on earth, but a much tougher construction project in hard vacuum. Can you imagine welding though spacesuit gloves? Not to mention it'd be terribly expensive to lift 1700 miles of pipe. Even then you'll have to expend a lot of energy heating it so the water doesn't freeze.

        I'd think it'd be easier to dig another cave in a more convenient location.

        On the other hand, the words "Space fountain" gave me an awesome idea before I looked up what it really is. Here's what I thought: collect water at the poles, pressurize it, and squirt it through a nozzle on a ballistic trajectory toward the moon base. Lay out tarps all around the base. The water will freeze in flight and fall on the tarps. When you need more water, reel the tarps in and collect the ice.

        You could improve the aim by making a specialized nozzle. After initially launching the drops, have them go down a long barrel, perhaps tens of meters long, with some kind of noncontacting guidance mechanism inside. Induction coils? Little microdroplet sprayers? It'd be like aiming the electron beam down a CRT. Depending how tight you can dial in the convergence, you might be able to make due with a giant funnel on the receiving end.

        Keep in mind you don't need to bring back a lot of water. You only need enough to replenish what gets lost. Pipelines are great for big volume, but for these small amounts, I'd bet the "moon fountain" might cut it.

        Or just send out an RC moon buggy to pick up a few barrels from time to time.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      In some ways it would be harder (due to the lack of local water), but in other ways much easier. The equatorial region can be reached from any orbit, while the poles require a polar orbit. Anything coming from Earth is going to have an easier time getting into low-inclination orbits, making movement back and forth more feasible for an equatorial base.

      As far as what they'd do, the earliest stages would mostly involve simply setting up the base and keeping it running. After that you can focus on science an

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:22PM (#35401380)

    Caveman > Bronze Age > Iron Age > Industrial Age > Space Age > Caveman

  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:30PM (#35401414)
    Unless this is a deep, deep chamber the possibility of it collapsing when pressurized precludes just plugging up holes and using it. All it's good for is radiation shielding.
    • by Graff (532189)

      Unless this is a deep, deep chamber the possibility of it collapsing when pressurized precludes just plugging up holes and using it.

      The plan for this kind of construction usually involves shoring and lining the tube to be sure that there are no weak points or leaks. You'd also build structures inside the tube that are sealable and have redundant safety measures.

      A lava tube would would make an excellent first-line of protection but it wouldn't be the only one. It would save a lot of time and money in the construction of a lunar settlement.

  • by CityZen (464761) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:32PM (#35401428) Homepage

    Scientists also report seeing a tall black monolith inside the chamber. Investigations are continuing...

    • In related news, Scientists report that upon entering the cave, their ears were filled with the beginning of "Thus Spake Zarathustra".
    • Honestly, I wish they *DID*! Maybe Jupiter igniting into a second sun would make those crazies in the Middle East settle down.

      Ya think?

    • Heh, I was wondering whether I was the only person old school enough to be thinking of H.G. Wells and his Selenites.

  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:37PM (#35401464)
    I'm surprised they allowed their mass-media mind-control network to leak the fact that there are tunnels on the Moon. Perhaps they accidentally drank some of their own fluoridated water? Either way, the Annunaki will be pissed.
  • by Kosi (589267) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:41PM (#35401484)

    Bloody human scientists! Now I have to relocate.

  • dust-free? really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pz (113803) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:58PM (#35401582) Journal

    From the article, "the lava tubes offer a dust-free environment and adapting them for human use requires minimal construction. "

    I think someone's been drinking too much of the strong coffee if they can conclude anything about dust levels in a lunar cave without having put any telemetry into the hole, or think that adapting any natural structure on the moon requires minimal construction without having actually imaged the fine-scale condition of the rock.

    • by quarterbuck (1268694) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:38PM (#35401792)
      The original paper is published in an open access journal [ias.ac.in] and the authors have covered the issues you mention.
      Their citations 2-8 are other papers which discuss the possibility of using caves like this for human habitation. The paper also includes spectroscopic studies of the composition of the roof -- seems like lots of Iron and Titanium.This seems to indicate Basalts (volcanic) according to the paper.If it withstood a lava flow, presumably it will survive an atmospheric re-pressurisation/ bunch of construction crews drilling away.
  • ...As long as they don't drop a "Clanger" and upset the "Soup Dragon"...

  • It's not up to Swiss Cheese status, but they keep finding more and more gigantic holes, this is just the latest and currently the one with the largest estimated size. Let's see what they find next year...
  • ...after the Earth had been all but abandoned and become a legend.

  • Of course, some people have known about this for a long time...

    http://www.ironsky.net/site/ [ironsky.net]

  • I hope to some day fly with wings in that low-G chamber when it's pressurized with the air storage for our Moon colony. As per Heinlein's The Menace From Earth [wikipedia.org] (1957).

  • So, when do we go live with the "genesis wave"?

    To quote Kirk, if years seemed like eons, how long? A few years away! ;)

  • ...why is that named "R'lyeh"?

  • Depending on the version of Evangelion, the researchers may have just located the Lance of Longinus and perhaps the resting place of Kaworu Nagisa.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

Working...