Lunar Holes and Lava Tubes as Resources for Lunar Science and Exploration
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The Moon is the nearest celestial body to the Earth. As such, it has long been investigated to understand its formation and evolution, as a paradigm for better understanding the terrestrial planets, as well as all airless bodies in our solar system (e.g., Vesta, Phobos). The Moon’s proximity to the Earth—more than one hundred times closer than any planet — makes it a convenient target for exploration by spacecraft. Since the dawn of the space age in the previous century, we have explored the Moon with several spacecraft and even succeeded in sending astronauts there. One of the lessons of those explorations that hinders any future lunar expeditions is the severe conditions on the lunar surface. The lack of an atmosphere (10-12 torr) means that cosmic/galactic/solar rays, as well as the many micrometeorites directly striking the surface; in addition, surface temperatures vary widely, over a day-night range of more than 300 K.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Haruyama, Junichi; Morota, Tomokatsu; and Kobayashi, Shingo, "Lunar Holes and Lava Tubes as Resources for Lunar Science and Exploration" (2012). KIP Articles. 6367.