Parts of the Moon Could Provide Temperatures Suitable for Humans

The moon has craters with shadowed regions that consistently hover around 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), a temperate range that’s constant for humans, University of California, Los Angeles researchers found. magazine Geophysical Research Papers The study was published in July.

These crater craters, which could potentially lead to caverns that could also provide human shelter, are temperatures that could make lunar exploration and long-term human habitation on the Moon safer, as scientists would thermally stabilize them. Able to set up base camps.

“Humans evolved by living in caves, and may return to caves when we lived on the Moon,” said study co-author David Paige, a professor of planetary science at UCLA. News release, Paige also leads the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, an instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Now that craters and potential caverns are better understood, scientists can potentially accelerate towards the concept of a practical permanent station protected from the extreme conditions of the Moon’s surface.

“We may be able to establish a long-term presence on the Moon as soon as possible,” said lead study author Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary science at UCLA.

Unlike the Moon’s surface, which heats up to 260 °F (127 °C) during the day and drops to minus 280 °F (minus 173 °C) at night, humans in these lunar craters in the Mare Tranquillitis region -Friendly, stable temperature.

(mare tranquility, commonly known as) ocean of peaceThat’s where Apollo 11, the first mission to land humans on the Moon, landed because of its smooth and relatively flat terrain.)
Artemis I rocket prepares to launch to Moon in late August

The data comes from analysis of images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance spacecraft and computer modeling.

“These[pits]are right on the resolution limit of the cameras they’re trying to use,” said Briony Horgan, associate professor of Earth, atmospheric and planetary science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. “The fact that they’ve been able to take that data out and show it was very reassuring, I think it’s a big step forward in looking at the Moon.”

Knowing about these craters and potential caves helps scientists better understand how other extreme environments behave, such as the lunar polar region where the Artemis mission is going, NASA’s Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Lab head Noah Petro said. NASA Artemis Program It aims to return humans to the Moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface by 2025.

“Artemis aims to send humans to the area around the South Pole, where we know there are some very cold places,” Petro said via email. “Fortunately, we have a large amount of data for the South Pole region where Artemis will visit.”

Give me shelter

According to the news release, the extreme temperatures of the Moon’s surface have made it difficult for NASA to build fully operational heating and cooling equipment that would produce enough power to allow long-term lunar exploration or habitation. However, NASA may not need as much complex equipment as is currently believed to make exploration and habitat a reality, this research has shown.

With the help of the Lunar Orbiter, scientists discovered craters on the Moon in 2009, a discovery that prompted scientists to wonder whether there were connecting caves that could be explored or even used as shelters. Is.

“Of the more than 200 craters, about 16 probably collapsed lava tubes,” Horvath said in the 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 crater that can form a gateway into the rest of the cave.

There are at least two, possibly three, pits that lead to the caves, the release said.

Horgan said the caves would be a stable environment for lunar habitats because they provide some protection from solar radiation and subtle meteorite impacts. According to NASA, these structures may provide protection from cosmic rays.

Horgan said it would be helpful to build on current research with radar data to find additional potential caves.

The research “gives engineers who are really thinking about how to design a habitat on the Moon to work with real numbers,” she said. “This will be incredibly important going forward.”

Currently, NASA has plans for robotic exploration on the Moon through Commercial Lunar Payload Service Program, start in December 2022, the cargo flights will deliver instruments that navigate and map the lunar surface, perform probes, measure radiation levels and assess how human activity affects the Moon. Petro said these flights give scientists the ability to reach anywhere on the lunar surface, including the Mare Tranquillitatis.

“Continuing to map lunar surface temperatures is a high priority for LRO, as we will be able to use that information to better understand not only the environment, but experience future missions to the surface,” Petro said. Also learn how different types of surface materials react to changing lighting conditions on the lunar surface.”

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