Japanese space agency: Huge moon cave could be suitable for astronauts' base

Large open lava tube located in the Marius Hills region of the Moon

Large open lava tube located in the Marius Hills region of the Moon

Data from a lunar orbiter has confirmed a cave beneath the surface of the moon that could be used as an exploration base, providing shelter for astronauts and instruments, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Wednesday. However, the results of the study cavity using radio waves showed that it is the entrance to a long lava tube.

The cavern, found in the Marius Hills area on the near side of the moon, is about 100 meters wide and extends for about 50 km, according to data taken by JAXA's Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE), also called the Kaguya moon probe.

Orbiting the moon is an artificial satellite first detected the hole with a diameter of 50 meters and the same depth.

Putting a research base there will reduce the negative impact of radiation on the cave and sudden temperature changes, JAXA said. The underground chamber was possibly created by volcanic activities, the agency said. China, for example, aims to bring back samples from the moon this year, and to send humans to the moon for exploration sometime after 2030.

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