2017-03-24. Lunar Lava Tubes Could Offer Future Moon Explorers a Safe Haven.

posted Mar 31, 2017, 11:08 PM by Alan Gould

By JoAnna Wendel, Earth & Space Science News (AGU). For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt:  Scientists find evidence that a 50-meter-deep pit on the Moon's surface could be a skylight opening to an intact lava tube tens of kilometers long. Lunar colonization isn’t mere science fiction anymore. Billionaires plan to send tourists on once-in-a-lifetime trips, and politicians say that they hope to colonize the Moon in the next few decades. There may even be ways for human colonists to harvest water from ice that may be permanently shadowed in certain caves. But where could a human colony actually live? The Moon has no atmosphere or magnetic field to shield it from solar radiation and micrometeorites that constantly rain onto its surface. That’s no environment for our squishy, earthling bodies. Scientists studying the Moon’s surface may have found the answer: shelter humans in lunar lava tubes. The Moon is covered in huge swaths of ancient basaltic lava flows. Earth’s volcanoes can also erupt similar flows, with basalt sometimes running as molten rivers. In these rivers, the outside cools faster than the inside, creating a hard shell.  The remaining lava pours out, leaving a hollow space behind....  https://eos.org/articles/lunar-lava-tubes-could-offer-future-moon-explorers-a-safe-haven