Data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) led scientists to conclude that the moon hosts about 200 “holes” that provide stable, human-friendly temperatures.
The pits “always hover around 63°F/17°C, NASA reported Wednesday.
The 17°C constancy contrasts markedly with the rest of the moon’s surface, which swings from 127°C/260°F to -173°C/-280°F during a full lunar day.
Dealing with these temperatures greatly complicates lunar exploration for machines and humans.
So warm spots on the moon are a hot property.
“Since the discovery of craters on the Moon by JAXA’s SELENE spacecraft in 2009, there has been interest in whether they provide access to astronaut-explorable caves, Wrote Researchers who published information on the drilling in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The paper’s three authors, UCLA professor of planetary sciences David Page, Paul Heine of the University of Colorado Boulder, and UCLA researcher Tyler Horvath, used data from the Diviner instrument aboard the LRO, which has monitored temperatures on the Moon for more than 11. years.
The researchers focused on a mostly cylindrical crater within Mare Tranquillitatis, the same region that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin visited in 1969, whose thermal environment was more favorable than anywhere else on the Moon.
The group ran time-dependent 2D and 3D models using the data to understand the geometry and heat transfer that can lead to elevated temperatures.
The researchers concluded that the temperature inside the crater was not only a comfortable temperature, but may have been related to a cave that also contains a similar stable environment.
The researchers wrote, who hypothesized that the crater and a similar one was created by the roof of a collapsed cave.
“For long-term colonization and exploration of the Moon, craters may provide a desirable habitat: they are largely free from the constant threats of harmful radiation, forcings, and temperature extremes,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, pits and caves may provide greater mission security than other potential base station locations, providing a valuable starting point for sustaining human life beyond Earth.”
Even better, the constellations have spotted many craters on the moon’s near side, a location that offers an opportunity for direct communications to Earth.
NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners to increase scientific knowledge and expand human presence in space.
The Space Foundation’s Artemis program aims to get humans to the south pole of the moon by 2025 in the first manned moon landing since Apollo 17.®.
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