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Moon

Scientists Think They've Discovered Lava Tubes Leading To the Moon's Polar Ice (sciencealert.com) 59

schwit1 quotes ScienceAlert: Small pits in a large crater on the Moon's North Pole could be "skylights" leading down to an underground network of lava tubes -- tubes holding hidden water on Earth's nearest neighbour, according to new research. There's no lava in them now of course, though that's originally how the tubes formed in the Moon's fiery past. But they could indicate easy access to a water source if we ever decide to develop a Moon base sometime in the future.

Despite the Moon's dry and dusty appearance, scientists think it contains a lot of water trapped as frozen ice. What these new observations carried out by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) show is that it might be much more accessible than we thought... Scientists have long been thinking about how to extract the ice reserves we think are up there -- solar power was originally out of the question, as it's the freezing shadowed areas of the Moon that have preserved the ice in the first place. Not only would natural skylights like these provide easier access to the underground ice, it would also mean solar power would be back on the table as an idea.

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Scientists Think They've Discovered Lava Tubes Leading To the Moon's Polar Ice

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  • Journey to the Centre of the Moon

    • "Journey to the Centre of the Moon" ...through a series of tubes.

      • "Journey to the Centre of the Moon" ...through a series of tubes.

        Does this mean that the Moon already has Internet, then?

      • "Journey to the Centre of the Moon" ...through a series of tubes.

        There have been tubes through the center of alien worlds since the NYC subway opened years ago.

    • I saw the other movie, and know what is really at the other end of this "series of tube": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Of course, I could be wrong, and the skylights could lead to these lovely critters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      So . . . future wannabe Moon astronauts will hope for the first, but might get stuck with the second.

      Elon Musk seems to have good luck with everything, so maybe he'll have the courage to go first.

    • Actually HG Wells' First Men In the Moon got there already. Also see the 60s film adaptation which tied in the Apollo and the recent BBC remake.

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @01:28PM (#55927097)

    Lunar ice-miner twenty-forty-niner!

    In space and/or on an airless rock, water is far more valuable than gold.

    This lunar ice deep in lava tubes on the moon was predicted back in 1966 in the science fiction novel "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein.

    Of course in Heinlein's story, the Moon was a penal colony. Considering the authoritarian direction most nations seem to be drifting towards, maybe this is another Heinlein "prediction" that will come to pass.

    "This Court sentences you to life in the Alcatraz-II lunar penal colony."

    Strat

    • In space and/or on an airless rock, water is far more valuable than gold.

      But to be fair, neither substance is valuable in space, unless you are engaged in some sort of automated manufacturing which requires gold or water (the latter being perhaps more commonly required in significant quantities for manufacturing).

      This lunar ice deep in lava tubes on the moon was predicted back in 1966 in the science fiction novel "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein.

      What Heinlein didn't predict (and perhaps could not have done so) was the advancement in robotics that ruled the presence of humans on the moon already obsolete.

      Of course in Heinlein's story, the Moon was a penal colony. Considering the authoritarian direction most nations seem to be drifting towards, maybe this is another Heinlein "prediction" that will come to pass.

      Authoritarian nations generally seem to exploit those prisoners for their labour, rather than stick them some

      • But to be fair, neither substance is valuable in space, unless you are engaged in some sort of automated manufacturing which requires gold or water

        Wrong, as water == fuel for rockets/thrusters, shielding against radiation & micrometeorites and more. That's not even considering providing oxygen and drinking water to any humans.

        What Heinlein didn't predict (and perhaps could not have done so) was the advancement in robotics that ruled the presence of humans on the moon already obsolete.

        Robots can "do things" usually much better than humans. What they cannot do is *experience* things for humans.

        Besides, at some point in the future humans will have to colonize places off of the Earth. Robots will be helpful in preparing such places.

        Authoritarian nations generally seem to exploit those prisoners for their labour, rather than stick them somewhere where their labour would have not value.

        Apparently you have not read the story. The entire point of the penal colony w

  • Tintin was right! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @02:07PM (#55927307) Homepage
    So Tintin (or rather Hergé) got it right in Explorers on the Moon when Tintin discovers ice in a lunar cave. ;)

    http://en.tintin.com/images/ti... [tintin.com]


  • And now for something completely different .... Working in a Lava Tube, sung to the melody of Devo - Working In a Coal Mine [youtu.be]

    Workin' in a lava tube
    Goin' down, down, down
    Lookin' for the water fall
    Oops, about to slip down
    Workin' lunar lava tubes
    Goin' down down, down
    Look out for the icy stuff
    Oops, about to slip down

    Five o'clock in the morning
    That last tube sure was a dud
    This one lookin' no better
    How long before I get some bud?

    Daddies workin' in a lava tube
    Goin' down, down, down
    Lookin' for the
  • A prime location for a lunar [or martian] base would be inside a cave thick enough overhead to block dangerous radiation and recoverable ice/water inside.

    Discovering lunar caves/lava tubes is not really news though... From 2016: https://www.space.com/32795-mo... [space.com]
    These are just more caves found closer to the lunar pole and hypothesizes there MIGHT be water/ice inside.

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