US Researchers Want To Build Lunar Bases In Caves

Abdul Ghani

Temperatures on the moon's surface are extreme. In some pits in the lunar soil, on the other hand, the conditions appear to be quite pleasant. A nice place on the moon: Various space agencies are planning permanent human settlements on our satellite. US researchers have found suitable sites for lunar bases.
Concept for a lunar base: On the surface, temperatures vary by around 300 degrees Celsius between day and night.Image by NASA/Public Domain

The conditions on the moon are quite uncomfortable: in the sun, temperatures rise to 130 degrees Celsius. But it gets minus 170 degrees Celsius at night. The team led by Tyler Horvath from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), on the other hand, has identified around 200 places on the moon where the temperatures are less extreme and which are therefore well suited as locations for a lunar base.

These are located in Mare Tranquillitatis, a crater near the lunar equator. There are more than 200 pits that were only discovered in 2009. A constant temperature of around 17 degrees Celsius prevails there, report Horvath and his colleagues Paul Hayne and David Paige in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

A base in the pit

Horvath estimates that about 16 of the pits are collapsed lava tubes. Two of the most notable pits have visible overhangs leading to a cave or at least a cavity. Such a cavity would be suitable as a site for a lunar base.

The team evaluated thermal images taken by the US National Aeronautics And Space Administration (NASA) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) lunar probe. They then used computer models to analyze the thermal properties of the rock.

A lunar day lasts around 15 earth days, during which the surface is constantly illuminated by the sun. She heats up a lot. "Because the Tranquillitatis pit is closest to the lunar equator, the lit ground is probably the hottest place on the entire moon at noon," Horvath said. The ground there could heat up to 150 degrees Celsius.

The lunar night lasts 15 Earth days

During the moonlit night that follows, which is also 15 Earth days long, temperatures drop by around 300 degrees Celsius. The material from which a lunar settlement is to be built would therefore have to withstand extreme loads. In addition, systems would have to be developed to keep temperatures at acceptable levels both day and night.

The bases could be built under the overhangs or in the lava flows. "Humans evolved in caves, and it's caving that we might return to if we live on the moon," said Paige, who leads the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, one of LRO's instruments.

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Member Of Freelancers Union (USA), Freelance Writer!, and Digital Creator. Ghani Mengal is an enthusiast Freelance blogger and digital marketer. His content has been published and featured on many popular blogs, websites, and publications. Including TeelFeed,, Data-Driven Investor, TextSniper, Scientific Publication The Predict, The Startup, The Ascent, Heart Affairs, Illumination, And The List goes on.


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