Space & Science

It’s ‘sweater weather’ on the moon in some places, scientists find

Space scientists have determined that there are areas on the moon where lunar pits and caves maintain a constant temperature in the 60s Fahrenheit, making them perfectly hospitable to humans.

The pits and caves they could lead to would make safer and more thermally stable base camps for lunar exploration and long-term habitation than the rest of the moon’s surface, which heats up to 260 degrees for the day and drops 280 degrees. below zero at night.

Pits were first discovered on the moon in 2009, and since then scientists have wondered if they lead to caves that could be explored or used as shelters. About 16 of the more than 200 pits are likely collapsed lava tubes, said Tyler Horvath, a UCLA doctoral student in planetary sciences who led the new research.[…]

Building bases in the shaded parts of these pits allows scientists to focus on other challenges, such as growing food, providing oxygen to astronauts, gathering resources for experiments, and expanding the base. The pits or caves would also offer some protection against cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites.

“Humans evolved living in caves, and caves we might return to when we live on the moon,” said [UCLA professor of planetary science David] Paige, who runs the Diviner Lunar Radiometer experiment.

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