Cave in moon:Base station for astronauts?

By siliconindia   |   Friday, 25 February 2011, 03:34 Hrs   |    22 Comments
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New Delhi: Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization have discovered a giant underground chamber on the moon, which they feel could be used as a base by astronauts on future manned missions to moon.

An analysis by an instrument on Chandrayaan-1 revealed a 1.7-km long and 120-metre wide cave near the moon's equator that is in the Oceanus Procellarum area of the moon that could be a suitable 'base station' for future human missions.

Scientists of the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad said in a research paper published in the latest issue of Current Science that the cave provides "a safe environment from hazardous radiations, micro-meteoritic impacts, extreme temperatures and dust storms."

Scientists said identifying sites for permanent base for human settlements on the moon is important for further exploration.

"Lava tubes provide a natural environmental control with a nearly constant temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, unlike that of the lunar surface showing extreme variation, maximum of 130 degrees Celsius to a minimum of minus 180 degrees Celsius in its diurnal (day-night) cycle," they said.

According to them, the lava tubes offer a dust-free environment and adapting them for human use requires minimal construction.

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