Moon tunnels: Lunar lava tubes could ‘hide water and be setting for new base’ | Science | News

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The US space agency has found a top candidate for a settlement with the lava tubes that burrow down into the moon and date back to its volcanic past.

Lead researcher Dr Pascal Lee said: “We are looking at good candidates considering simultaneously their size, shape, lighting conditions and geologic setting.”

The entrances in the Moon’s surface may lead to subterranean water the new images reveal.

It is believed the tubes are part of an underground network and could give lunar explorers access into the Moon’s interior.

The tunnels could provide shelter from radiation for potential colonisers, experts have revealed.

Lunar Science for Landed Missions Workshop revealed the important site as it presented research on the natural satellite.

The holes, visible in images, are openings in the ceiling of the extensive tunnels, their research showed.

They are understood to have formed during the early years of the Moon when it was still volcanically active, as Moon cooled the lava was compressed into smaller and smaller spaces as it continued to flow.

As the lava drained out of the channels it left behind the passageways.

Around 200 similar openings have been discovered around the Moon’s equator, but these new “skylights” at near the north pole.

Experts are able to differentiate between the “skylights” and craters because they do not have rims.

The potential ability to mine water from the tunnels would allow future missions to the Moon to free up extra space and weight.

President Donald Trump has ordered NASA to land a manned mission on the lunar surface.

Dr Lee said: “Our next step should be further exploration, to verify whether these pits are truly lava tube skylights, and if they are, whether the lava tubes actually contain ice.”

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