Hole in Moon may serve as lunar base for astronauts

January 1st, 2010 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 1 (IANS) In a major discovery, geophysicists have identified a vertical hole they believe is a skylight on the surface of the moon that could serve as a lunar base for astronauts.
The dark pit in an intact lava tube is located in the Marius Hills region, a volcanic area on the Moon, a report published in Geophysical Research Letters said.

The discovery was made using images from the moon-orbiting Japanese SELENE (also known as Kaguya) spacecraft. It was led by Junichi Haruyama of the NTT DATA CCS Corporation, Japan.

The scientists found that the nearly circular hole is about 65 metres (213 feet) in diameter and about 80-88 m (262-289 ft) deep and also concluded that the skylight most likely formed when part of the lava tube roof collapsed.

Lava tubes, which are commonly found on earth, are underground cave-like channels through which lava once flowed.

According to the authors, since lava tubes are sheltered from the harsh environment on the Moon’s surface, such tubes could one day be useful for lunar bases.

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