Parts of the moon can provide temperatures suitable for humans

Parts of the moon can provide temperatures suitable for humans
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Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have craters on the moon with shaded areas that hover around 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), a moderate range that is stable for humans. Journal Geophysical Research Letters published the study in July.

These pit craters, which could potentially lead to caves that could provide human shelter, have temperatures that could make lunar exploration and long-term human settlement on the moon safer because scientists would be able to build thermally stable base camps.

“Humans evolved by living in caves, and we may go back to caves when we live on the moon,” said study co-author David Paige, UCLA professor of planetary science. news release. Page also directs the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, an instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Now that the craters and potential caves are better understood, scientists can accelerate toward conceptualizing a functioning permanent station protected from the extremes of the lunar surface.

“We can establish a long-term presence on the Moon much faster than would otherwise be possible,” said lead study author Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary sciences at UCLA.

Unlike the lunar surface, which heats 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 Mare Tranquillitatis are human-friendly. constant temperature

(Mare Tranquillitatis, commonly known as Sea of ​​calm(Apollo 11, the first mission to put humans on the moon, landed on smooth and relatively flat terrain.)
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The data came from computer modeling and analysis of images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

“These (pits) are at the resolution limit 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’re able to extract this data and show that it’s pretty plausible, I think it’s a big step forward in looking at the moon.”

Noah Petro, head of NASA’s Planetary Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Laboratory, said learning about these pits and possible caves helps scientists better understand how other extreme environments behave, such as the polar regions of the Moon, where the Artemis mission went. The NASA Artemis program By 2025, it aims to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface.

“Artemis aims to send people to the region around the South Pole, where we know there are very cold places,” Petro said via email. “Fortunately, we have a lot of information for the south polar region that Artemis will be visiting.”

Give me shelter

According to a news release, the extreme temperature of the moon’s surface has made it difficult for NASA to create fully functional heating and cooling equipment that would produce enough power for longer-term lunar exploration or habitation. However, this research has shown that NASA may not need as much sophisticated equipment as currently assumed to make exploration and settlement a reality.

With the help of the lunar orbiter, scientists discovered craters on the moon in 2009, a finding that led scientists to wonder if there are connecting caves that could be explored or even used as shelters.

“About 16 of the more than 200 craters are likely collapsed lava tubes,” Horvath said in a news release.

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When a lava tube — a long, hollow tunnel and cave-like structure created by lava — collapses, it opens a hole that can provide access to the rest of the cave.

There are at least two, possibly three, holes leading to the caves, the release said.

Caves would be a stable environment for lunar habitats because they provide some protection from solar radiation and micrometeorite impacts, Horgan said. According to NASA, these formations can also provide a measure of protection against cosmic rays.

Horgan added that it would be useful to build on existing surveys with radar data to find additional potential caves.

The study “gives engineers who are really thinking about how to design a lunar habitat real numbers to work with,” he said. “It’s going to be incredibly important going forward.”

Currently, NASA has plans for robotic exploration of the Moon through it Commercial Freight Services of the Month program. including December 2022, cargo flights will deliver instruments that will navigate and map the lunar surface, conduct surveys, measure radiation levels, and assess how human activity is affecting the moon. These flights allow scientists to reach anywhere on the moon’s surface, including Mare Tranquillitatis, Petro said.

“Continuing to map the temperature of the lunar surface is a high priority for LRO, because not only will we be able to use this information to better understand the environment that future missions to the surface will experience,” Petro said, “but we can also use this information to map different types of surface materials to the changing lighting conditions on the lunar surface.” and find out how he reacts.”

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