These craters, which may lead to caves that could also provide human shelter, have temperatures that could make moon exploration and long-term human habitation much safer, as scientists will be able to set up thermally stable base camps.
Now that there is a better understanding of potential craters and caves, scientists can accelerate the pace of envisioning a viable permanent station, shielded from the harsh conditions of the lunar surface.
“We could be able to prove a long-term presence on the Moon sooner than possible,” said study lead author Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary sciences at UCLA.
Unlike the surface of the Moon, which warms up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (127 degrees Celsius) during the day and drops to minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 173 degrees Celsius) at night, these lunar craters in the Mare Tranquilites region are friendly to humans, and are temperature stable. .
The data comes from analysis of images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft and computer modeling.
“These[craters]are well within the resolution of the cameras they’re trying to use,” said Briony Horgan, associate professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. “The fact that they were able to pull this data and show that it was very compelling, I think is a huge step forward in looking at the moon.”
“Artemis’ goal is to send humans to the area around Antarctica, where we know there are some very cold places,” Pietro said by email. “Fortunately, we have a large amount of data for the Antarctic region where Artemis is going to visit.”
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Extreme lunar surface temperatures have made it difficult for NASA to create fully functional heating and cooling equipment that would produce enough power to allow long-term exploration or habitation of the Moon, according to the news release. However, NASA may not need as complex equipment as it is currently assumed to make exploration and habitation a reality, this research has shown.
With the help of the Lunar Orbiter, scientists discovered craters on the Moon in 2009, a discovery that has led scientists to wonder if there are connected caves that could be explored or even used as shelters.
“About 16 of the more than 200 craters may be collapsed lava tubes,” Horvath said in the press release.
When the lava tube – a long, hollow tunnel and lava-like structure – collapses, a crater opens that can create an entrance to the rest of the cave.
There were at least two, likely three craters, with overhanging protrusions leading into the caves, the statement said.
Horgan said the caves would be a stable environment for lunar habitats because they provide some protection from solar radiation and the impacts of small meteorites. These formations could also provide a measure of protection from cosmic rays, according to NASA.
Horgan added that it would be useful to build on existing research with radar data to find additional potential caves.
The research, she said, “gives engineers who are really thinking about how to design a habitat on the moon real numbers to work with.” “This will be very important going forward.”
“Continuing to map the lunar surface temperature is a top priority for LRO, as we will be able to use this information to not only better understand the environment, and future missions to the surface will test,” Petro said, “but we can.” Also learn how different types of surface materials respond to changing lighting conditions on the Moon. “
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