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Moon Earth Science

Discovery of 50km Cave Raises Hopes For Human Colonisation of Moon (theguardian.com) 140

New submitter Zorro shares a report: Scientists have fantasised for centuries about humans colonising the moon. That day may have drawn a little closer after Japan's space agency said it had discovered an enormous cave beneath the lunar surface that could be turned into an exploration base for astronauts. The discovery, by Japan's Selenological and Engineering Explorer (Selene) probe, comes as several countries vie to follow the US in sending manned missions to the moon. Using a radar sounder system that can examine underground structures, the orbiter initially found an opening 50 metres wide and 50 metres deep, prompting speculation that there could be a larger hollow. This week scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) confirmed the presence of a cave after examining the hole using radio waves. The chasm, 50km (31 miles) long and 100 metres wide, appears to be structurally sound and its rocks may contain ice or water deposits that could be turned into fuel, according to data sent back by the orbiter, nicknamed Kaguya after the moon princess in a Japanese fairytale. Jaxa believes the cave, located from a few dozen metres to 200 metres beneath an area of volcanic domes known as the Marius Hills on the moon's near side, is a lava tube created during volcanic activity about 3.5bn years ago.
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Discovery of 50km Cave Raises Hopes For Human Colonisation of Moon

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If so, it probably tastes great and is all blue and shining and only exists in a limited quantity and becomes more worth than gold on Earth.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who hopes for that? The Moon is a dead, airless, deadly hell. What precisely would humans do there? Are there any people living at the bottom of the ocean?

    Why not? Why doesn't anyone hope for that?

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      i hope for atlanteans/mer people all the time....

    • Good point...

      However, the idea is that if we had enough raw materials on the moon, we could use them to build and fuel space craft and forego having to claw all this stuff off the ground into orbit, which is the most expensive 100 mile trip for this stuff.

      It's a nice idea I suppose.

    • What precisely would humans do there?

      Moon jobs because there won't be any left on Earth.

    • Maintain a spaceship fueling port?

    • Good place for telescopes, gravity wave detectors and large particle accelerators
      • A terrible place for a telescope. It is not gravity free, the electrostatically suspended lunar dust is a serious hazard, and if working in the infrared the lunar surface emission is a big problem. The only scheme floating around for telescopes on the Moon are quite speculative ones of dubious value (like this one [space.com]).

        • Aerocebo style on dark side maybe.
          Always shielded from earth's EM noise is a hell of a plus.

          • Aerocebo style on dark side maybe.

            The dark side? Perhaps you mean the far side? Which is lit half the time.

            Too much Pink Floyd in the 80s?

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Too much Pink Floyd

              No such thing.

              • ^^Thank you, this is a correct statement.

                And to GP Post, yes I did mean far side (and possibly too much Pink Floyd, but I will neither confirm or deny that).

        • Earth is even 'more terrible' but we've built a few here :)
    • by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @03:39PM (#55399135)

      I don't know what I'd do there, but I'd be all for moving to the moon as long as I can go outside and bounce around on the surface every once in awhile while giving the finger to the Earth.

    • What precisely would humans do there?

      Science, and build catapults to hurl rocks at the earth ala "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".

      In seriousness though, science and redundancy to the human species if the colony can be made fully self supporting... though repatriation to the earth might be impossible for any generation not undergoing prep for it from near birth.

    • by doom ( 14564 )

      Who hopes for that? The Moon is a dead, airless, deadly hell. What precisely would humans do there?

      You fill the cave with air, and start a lunar tourism business, and rent people wings so they can fly around in it...

      (Isn't anyone familiar with the classics any more?)

      But of course *some* people would rather stay in New Jersey and play video games in the basement.

  • ...die together - when the whole thing collapses
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 19, 2017 @02:16PM (#55398541)

    Who would have thought 50 years ago that we'd actually be exploring the moon one day?

    • A lot of people did, but then we went there and all of the smart people realized there was nothing there for us, at least in the foreseeable future and concentrated on other things.
      • by Strider- ( 39683 )

        Naw, the US went there to beat the Russians. After that job was done, there wasn't really a compelling reason to go back.

    • Who would have thought 50 years ago that we'd actually be exploring the moon one day?

      Who would have thought 100,000 years ago we'd still be looking for caves to live in.

  • Just like humans to go and dispossess a bunch of peaceful aliens that never even bothered us to begin with, just because we want a precious resource the lands they occupy have in abundance.

    • Just like humans to go and dispossess a bunch of peaceful aliens that never even bothered us to begin with, just because we want a precious resource the lands they occupy have in abundance.

      Not to mention we sent a probe to Mars with a deadly "heat ray" weapon.

    • No aliens there, unless you count the Nazis.

  • Any day now, they will find the remains of an ant-creature civilization, and the skeletal of Mr. Cavor.

    Right next to the giant see-saw crystal thingy that powered the selenite civilization.

  • by rhazz ( 2853871 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @02:32PM (#55398669)
  • by RadioD00d ( 714469 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @02:33PM (#55398679)
    Have they uncovered the monolith yet?
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @02:44PM (#55398755)

    "That's no cave."--Han Solo.

  • Watch out for bottomless pits!
  • You will go inside ti build a habitat and suddenly villi of exogorth droops down and tries to digest you. Unless you have a space ship that can fly faster than the neural transmission speed of an exogorth, dont even try this.
  • They have been talking about putting a space elevator on the Moon. Maybe by 2020. I read we already have plastics strong enough to do this in the 1/8th gravity of the moon. Go Liftport!
  • We might want to avoid sending any space marines.

  • Just stay away from the Dark side of the Moon.....

  • If we really need to colonize the moon, then isn't Earth pretty much fucked to the point where it's... the Moon? What's the point?
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      Who said anything about "need"? The list of technologies we don't need (but developed anyway, simply because we like them) is a lot longer than the list of technologies we do need.

  • Let's,

    Muck up another heavenly body. I can see it now, a Starbucks around every crater.

  • on earth, but we'll have to screw it up a lot more before the moon starts looking like a good alternative.

    No food, no water, no air. Hmmmm.

  • OK the race is on for whichever nations can grab the best caves on the moon!

    Then the cave wars begin.

  • > structurally sound and its rocks may contain ice or water deposits that could be turned into fuel

    Let's seal this cave airtight and fill it with sweet breathable air. Then let's start digging out the cave walls for fuel! What could go wrong?

  • Many years ago, before most of you were born, I was a spelunker. We couldn't communicate underground with radios, or even listen to radios, because (I was told) radio waves don't penetrate rock very well. So how is this radar detecting a tunnel hidden under many meters (I presume) of rock? Is it because the radar is sending out that many watts of power? Or is relatively wet rock (which limestone caves are surrounded by) much more effective at blocking radio waves?

    The wikipedia article on ground-penetrat

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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