Humans could stay on the moon after all (Picture: Getty)
A study has confirmed the existence of a potential habitat located on our
planet’s moon, meaning humans could be able to stay for long stretches of time.
Scientific Journal, the Geophysical Research Letters,
discovered a large open Lava tube in a particular section of the moon’s surface – the Marius
Hills region – which could be used to protect astronauts during space walks. No one has
been on the moon for longer than three days because space suits alone are not enough to
shield astronauts from the elements. Extreme temperature variation, cosmic ray radiation
meteorite impacts all pose real threats to humans during space walks. But according to
researchers from Japan and the US, the
intact Lava Tube could provide enough protection that astronauts would be able to seek
shelter from the hazardous moon surface. Junichi Haruyama, a senior researcher at JAXA,
Japan’s space agency, said: ‘It’s important to know where and how big Lunar Lava Tubes are if
we’re ever going to construct a lunar base. ‘But knowing these things is also important for
basic science. We might get new types of rock samples, heat flow data and lunar quake
The lava tube could be big enough to house an entire city (Picture: NASA/Goddard/Arizona
What exactly is a lava tube?
Lava tubes are naturally occurring channels
formed when lava flow develops a hard crust, which thickens and forms a roof above a still-
flowing lava stream. Once the lava stops flowing, the tunnel sometimes drains, forming a
hollow void. Lunar lava tubes are formed on surfaces that have a slope and may be as wide
as 1,600 ft. The existence of a lava tube is sometimes revealed by the presence of a
‘skylight’ in which the roof of the tube has collapsed, leaving a circular hole. However, stable
lava tubes may still be disrupted by seismic events or meteoroid bombardment.