LRO found a place on the Moon with a comfortable temperature

After analyzing the data collected by the LRO probe, NASA scientists identified areas on the Moon with a stable temperature of about 17 °C. They are located in caves inside lava tubes.

Dips on the lunar surface. Source: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

As you know, the only natural moon of our planet has no atmosphere. Because of this, its surface is exposed to significant temperature changes. During the day it rises to 127 °C, and at night it drops to -173 °C. This creates significant problems for designers of space technology and complicates the task of colonizing the Moon. 

In 2009, scientists discovered dips on the surface of the Moon. It has been suggested that at least some of them may be the entrance to lava tubes — cavities under the lunar surface formed by lava that once flowed through them. When the ceiling of the lava tube collapses, this leads to the formation of a hole on the surface through which it is possible to get inside it. 

This discovery changed everything. Lava tubes have sufficient volume so that residential modules can be located inside them or even sealed and then filled with air in their individual sections. At the same time, their vault should serve as a good screen capable of protecting the settlement from micrometeorites, radiation and temperature changes.

Dip on the lunar surface. Source: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

To test the last assumption, a team of researchers from NASA used data from the LRO probe. It determined the thermal properties of rocks and lunar dust in a cylindrical depression about 100 meters deep, which is located in the Mare Tranquillitatis. Then the scientists turned to the help of computer modeling to calculate how its temperature will change during the lunar day.

The analysis showed that the temperature in the permanently shaded parts of the pit fluctuates very slightly, remaining at about 17 °C throughout the lunar day. If the depression has a “continuation” in the form of a cave, the temperature inside it will also stay in a comfortable range. This means that the lunar lava tubes are indeed one of the most favorable places on the Moon for settlements.

You can also read our article about the main physiological problems that will accompany the colonization of the Moon.

According to

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time