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Moon NASA Science

NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts 157

An anonymous reader writes: Astronomers have documented hundreds of holes on the lunar surface. These aren't simply craters, but actual pits ranging from 5 to 900 meters across. Scientists suspects many of these will lead to underground cave systems, which NASA says would be great spots for an astronaut habitat once we get back to the Moon. "A habitat placed in a pit — ideally several dozen meters back under an overhang — would provide a very safe location for astronauts: no radiation, no micrometeorites, possibly very little dust, and no wild day-night temperature swings," said Robert Wagner of Arizona State University. He says it's time to send probes into a few of these pits to see what they're like: "Pits, by their nature, cannot be explored very well from orbit — the lower walls and any floor-level caves simply cannot be seen from a good angle. Even a few pictures from ground-level would answer a lot of the outstanding questions about the nature of the voids that the pits collapsed into. We're currently in the very early design phases of a mission concept to do exactly this, exploring one of the largest mare pits."

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NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts

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  • by MobSwatter ( 2884921 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @12:13PM (#47489143)

    Only if the US could get it's space program off mothballs... But there's no room in the budget for that due to the black budget takeover...

  • by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @12:36PM (#47489285) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like a cool idea to me, but it seems a bit like a cosmic joke that we would in a way be reverting to a past we had here on earth by living in caves. The symbolism is nice, though; starting over in a new environment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2014 @12:43PM (#47489323)

    Yep. It'd be in shadow all the time which means it would be perpetually cold. 26 to 35 Kelvin cold.

    That means to maintain the habitat, you'd have to have a perpetual power source. To me, that says you look at the poles with an eye towards building mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a heat collector. The poles are more likely to have a site that has both a pit and more or less full time sun. Unless of course, you want to ship a nuclear reactor to the moon in which case you'll need political will which is scarcer than perpetual sunlight.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @04:11PM (#47490281) Journal
    Um, no. We're not going to the moon or anywhere like it. The economy will likely collapse again before the end of the decade. There won't be the money or the resources. Sending robotic missions makes more sense. Sending people is a dumb idea. We evolved to live here. We are expensive to travel and hard to settle. Machines are constructed to do certain things in certain environments. They are more capable than humans in that regard. Send them to get fried by coronal mass ejections.
  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @04:46PM (#47490461)

    The space program is a lot more productive now than when we were focused on a retarded war with the Russians. Unlike the 60's, we're actually doing basic science and planetary science missions now instead of chest thumping bravado.

    Much of the science and tech of today's planetary missions are the result of military tech and those glory days of NASA manned missions. Those manned lunar missions were preceded by various robotic lunar missions.

    The cold war greatly benefited the space program, it funded its tech. That chest thumping got the public behind all that spending on space. NASA and the US space program suffer today because of a lack of interest by the people. Fortunately the civilian commercial space industry seems to be coming along quite nicely.

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