If humans settled on the moon, they might be able to live and work in deep caves and pits. Life there may be more likely than it is on the moon. They’re exposed to less radiation, and food probably grows better there, too. So say American scientists and the space agency NASA.
The researchers studied a 100-meter-deep crater in the lunar basalt plain. The crater is part of the Sea of Tranquility, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the moon in 1969. Part of the crater has a “roof,” and in that part covered in shadows, the temperature is stable 17 degrees above zero. It is possible that the pit is the entrance to some kind of cave, and it will be almost warm there.
The exposed parts of the same crater are more extreme, just like the rest of the moon. The sun shines on it continuously for fifteen days without blocking the atmosphere. Then the temperature rises to about 150 degrees. Then night falls for fifteen days, and then the mercury drops to minus 170 degrees.
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In 2009, a Japanese probe discovered such craters on the Moon. About two hundred of these craters have now been found on the surface of the Moon. They are not pits, because they were not formed by impacts. Lava was probably used to flow through at least sixteen craters.
The United States wants to bring people to the moon and back in the coming years, with help from Europe, Canada and Japan. Unlike in the 1960s and 1970s, the intention now is to stay on the moon for a long time. To this end, underground complexes have been considered for some time.