The colonization of the Moon may in the end be closer than previously thought. Japanese scientists have now discovered a cave large enough to serve as an astronaut base and shelter it from radiation and temperature changes.
The goal of being able to one day come to colonize the Moon may now be closer to being realized. When scientists at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, discovered a cave large enough to house an astronaut base.
The data collected by the Japanese lunar probe SELENE indicate that the cave has a length of about 50 kilometers and 100 meters in height, and appears to be able to shelter the astronauts of cosmic radiation, micrometeorites and drastic changes of temperature (in the Moon, the temperature can vary between 100 ° C per day and -173 ° C at night).
This newly discovered cave is located meters below the Marius Hills region, which contains many volcanic domes and holes, which scientists were already investigating. One of these holes caught the attention of the research team because of its 50 meters wide and deep, which investigated using radio waves and eventually discovered the cave. The Japanese space agency believes that this cave is a lava tube created by volcanic activity about 3.5 billion years ago.
According to Agence France Press, Junichi Haruyama, the JAXA researcher, said that they had known about the existence of these lava tubes for some time but that “their existence has not been confirmed until now”. “We have not yet seen the interior of the cave, but there are high hopes that exploring them will offer more details”, added Haruyama.
“The dream of putting people in moon lunar tubes has decades, and this work is an important step in making that dream a reality”, said the researcher, who was published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Most recently, JAXA announced that it intends to take an astronaut to the moon around 2030, participating first in a mission led by NASA in 2025 to build a space station in the satellite’s orbit. As part of the mission, JAXA believes that it will be able to get a seat at the station and consequently bring the first Japanese astronaut to the moon.