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Mars Moon Space Science

When On the Moon and Mars, Move Underground 294

astroengine writes "Recent observations of the lunar and martian surface are turning up multiple discoveries of 'skylights' — collapsed roofs of hollow rilles or lava tubes. These holes into ready-made underground bunkers could provide ideal shelter for future manned bases on the two worlds. Firstly, they would provide shelter from the barrage of micrometeorites, solar x-rays and deep space cosmic rays. Secondly, they'd help protect our burgeoning colonists from the extreme swings in surface temperature (on the moon, temperatures vary by 500 degrees F, but inside these lava tubes, the environment remains at a fairly constant -35 degrees). Thirdly, the sci-fi notion of underground space cities could become a reality."
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When On the Moon and Mars, Move Underground

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  • Stanford torus (Score:5, Informative)

    by FalconZero ( 607567 ) * <[FalconZero] [at] []> on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:38PM (#32952488)
    Am I the only one who noticed that the colony pictured in the article is more likely a Standford Torus [], or am I just being picky?
  • Re:500 degrees F (Score:5, Informative)

    by ccandreva ( 409807 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:49PM (#32952638) Homepage

    Someone wanna translate this into units of measurement used by, oh I dunno, the entire rest of the world?

    Fscking hot.

  • Re:500 degrees F (Score:2, Informative)

    by tresstatus ( 260408 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:53PM (#32952702)

    Someone wanna translate this into units of measurement used by, oh I dunno, the entire rest of the world? []

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:43PM (#32953310)

    If it were, then more people on Earth would be living underground

          It all depends where you live []. There is a huge cost to building underground since you have to move a lot of earth, you have to take steps to make sure your cave doesn't collapse, you have to deal with water seepage, you have to circulate air, and THEN you have to build your dwelling. On Earth it's usually not feasible, no matter how bad the weather. Although in really really cold climates most people have their cars in underground heated garages at home and where they go to work/shopping, or the mass transit is designed to deal with cold weather by being underground (subways) or even having closed, heated bus stops.

          But you're looking at it backwards, seeing no benefit to living underground. Sure, on earth and especially in the tropics, there is no benefit. In an extremely hostile environment like the moon or mars you pretty much HAVE to live underground. The daily temperature differences alone (ok, monthly in the case of the moon) would quickly destroy and crack most materials. The surface (barring the discovery of areas rich in uranium) would probably be dedicated to the collection of solar energy. Underground you'd be able to have an air-tight, radiation proof environment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:24PM (#32957404)

    Is it really feasible to send humans faster than Hohmann with current tech?

    Orion drive. It's the only way to be sure your six-story-tall ship gets there quickly.

    Theoretically, a few forms of electric propulsion (e.g. []ion drives [], Hall effect thrusters [], VASMIR [], etc...) could get a sizable crew to Mars in approximately three months (about a third of the time with chemical rockets with the ideal launch windows), given either very large solar arrays or nuclear reactors on the order of those powering modern naval ships. Furthermore, unlike the Orion drive, we've actually used some of these forms of solar powered electric propulsion in real space craft []. :p

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"