Living In Lava Tubes on the Moon

Still just a theory, the idea of huge lava tubes existing on the Moon has taken a big step toward becoming a reality. A team from Purdue University recently presented some work on models based on lava flow channels visible from the surface. The models suggest that lave tube caves on the Moon could be stable in sizes up to several kilometers wide.

A lave tube cave of this size would offer tremendous benefits and savings for any lunar habitat base in terms of shielding from radiation and temperature and lower building cost.

Theoretical study suggests huge lava tubes could exist on moon – [purdue.edu]

Lava tubes large enough to house cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a theoretical study presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference on Tuesday (March 17).

The volcanic features are an important target for future human space exploration because they could provide shelter from cosmic radiation, meteorite impacts and temperature extremes.

Lava tubes are tunnels formed from the lava flow of volcanic eruptions. The edges of the lava cool as it flows to form a pipe-like crust around the flowing river of lava. When the eruption ends and the lava flow stops, the pipe drains leave behind a hollow tunnel, said Jay Melosh, a Purdue University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences who is involved in the research.

“There has been some discussion of whether lava tubes might exist on the moon,” he said. “Some evidence, like the sinuous rilles observed on the surface, suggest that if lunar lava tubes exist they might be really big.”

Lava Tubes On Moon Could Be Suitable For Human Habitat

– [youtube.com]

DETERMINING THE STRUCTURAL STABILITY OF LUNAR LAVA TUBES – [hou.usra.edu]

Introduction:
Recent in-depth analysis of lunar gravity data from the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft has suggested the possibility of lava tubes on the Moon with diameters in excess of 1 km. Could such features be structurally stable? What is the theoretical maximum size of a lunar lava tube? Here we attempt to address those questions and improve on prior estimates of the same by using modern numerical modeling techniques.

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