back to article Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

Moon-gazing boffins have found many steep-sided, shaft-like pits which might have caves or overhangs that would be ideal locations for lunar bases of the future. Using images beamed back from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists identified more than 200 holes with steep sides. Most of the pits were found in …

  1. Dr Scrum Master


    "The ideal follow-up, of course, would be to drop probes into one or two of these pits, and get a really good look at what's down there"

    Probes like this?

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Probably not that big a probe needed

    Something like a small platform with a rotating head, ideally including some kind of 3d laser scanner to get the size and depth back into the shadows (which will be very dark). anything that moves the viability of a human outpost forward is a good thing.

    Targeting it so it goes right down the pipe is likely to be pretty tricky however.

    When people talk of "data mining" they rarely think of this sort of thing. Reviewing old(er) scientific data for new discoveries yet that is exactly what this is.

    Well done.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Probably not that big a probe needed

      I was thinking something the size of a tennis ball with as many sensors as you can cram into it and still leave room for a compressed air propulsion system.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Probably not that big a probe needed

      Felix Baumgartner, a couple of GoPros and a long bungi cord?

      1. Greggles

        Re: Probably not that big a probe needed

        Probably not, he’s an outspoken opponent of any manned space exploration. Yes, a man who has for all intents and purposes been to space, and is only a widely known name because of manned space programs and their resultant technologies, uses said celebrity status to bash manned space flight.

    3. John H Woods

      Re: Probably not that big a probe needed

      >>Targeting it so it goes right down the pipe is likely to be pretty tricky however.

      Probably have to turn off the targeting computer on final approach.

  3. Richard 81

    Try to not land in the soup.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

      Learn from the historical documentaries!

      "Try to not land in the soup."

      and on no account touch that monolith.

    2. Frankee Llonnygog


      No wonder they're full of soupy stuff ...

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Moonpits!

        The man in the moons zits do not have soup in them!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So I wasn't the only one thinking how pissed off the clangers are going to be when probes start dropping into these craters.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        A spokesclanger has commented

        Phew phew pheeewwww. Pheeww pheeeeeeeewwwwwww phew. Phew.

        Pretty conclusive, I should say!

  4. tony2heads

    cavemen in SPAAAAACE

    So back to our troglodyte origins?

    Seriously it does seen a good idea to stay in a cave as long as it is safe (see icon)

  5. Bob Wheeler

    How to get funding...

    ... from TV advertising the latest fad extreme sport : Luna Pot-holing.

  6. Mikel

    Welcome to 2012

    Or 1968. We have known for a long time there are caves on the moon, mars and every other terrestrial body. RAH did a couple books on this. Come October we will see ice caves on Ceres. That will be more interesting.

  7. M7S

    Mind the Exogorth

    It might have other ideas.

    (And I'm not that sad, I had to look up the name)

    1. Peter Storm

      Re: Mind the Exogorth

      That's not all they'll need to look out for.

  8. James 51 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Surely a good if risky goal of another manned mission would be to investigate.

  9. Kharkov

    One Giant Leap... Downward?

    Well that's a step toward The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress except...

    Growing enough food on the Moon to support a large population is still going to be the factor that limits the number of people that can live on the Moon.

    That said, the Moon is a great place to do science, research & engineering studies and one day some manufacturing but I doubt we'll ever see a large autonomous population living there permanently.

    1. JeeBee

      Re: One Giant Leap... Downward?

      Well, if these subterranean voids are common (these are only holes down into them), then growing crops is a matter of lighting the voids, adding viable soil and growing the crops, and keeping them watered.

      Of these, I think that adding lighting is doable, once we have the power plant.

      Soil? We would have to manufacture it on the moon, with some way of seeding it with the required microbes and fauna. That doesn't sound easy to me. I expect people are working on it. Hydroponics will probably be the initial system.

      Water - well, that requires a means to extract water from the lunar soil/rock. It's meant to be there, but the equipment wouldn't be easy to get onto the moon in the first place.

      Building a small manned base under the overhangs of one of these things seems easy in comparison.

      1. Dr Scrum Master

        Re: One Giant Leap... Downward?

        "Well, if these subterranean voids are common (these are only holes down into them), then growing crops is a matter of lighting the voids, adding viable soil and growing the crops, and keeping them watered."

        Hmm, subterranean voids... cold environment.... darkness... that can mean only one thing: emmental

        (Holmes, Watson, elemental.... I'll change the icon to the one of me getting my coat.)

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: One Giant Leap... Downward?

          that can mean only one thing: emmental

          Well, the moon is already made of cheese* **, so there's bound to be holes in it. Which means that for a human population we only need to get crackers up there. And mustard.

          * So sayeth Wallace & Gromit

          ** Leicester? Tilsit? Caerphilly, Bel Paese? Red Windsor? Stilton? Emmental? Gruyère? Norwegian Jarlsberger, Liptauer? Lancashire? White Stilton? Danish Blue? Double Gloucester? Cheshire? Dorset Blue Vinney? Brie, Roquefort, Pont-l'Évêque, Port Salut, Savoyard, Saint-Paulin, Carre-de-L'Est, Bresse-Bleu, Boursin? Camembert, Gouda? Edam? Caithness? Smoked Austrian? Japanese Sage Darby? Wensleydale? Greek Feta? Gorgonzola? Parmesan? Mozzarella? Pippo Crème? Danish Fimboe? Czech sheep's milk? Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?. Cheddar? Ilchester? Limburger?

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?

            I am simultaneously intrigued and horrified by the prospect of tasting Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

  10. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Holes in the ground

    If it turns out they're no good for habitation, we can always use them to store all of our nuclear waste.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Holes in the ground

      That can't possibly end badly...

      (BTW for you young'uns, this is a Space:1999 reference - now get off my lawn)

  11. No, I will not fix your computer

    Has nobody seen Pitch Black?

    I ain't going in there.......

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Has nobody seen Pitch Black?

      No, but I saw this:

      Made in the 1950s, it was later rebooted in 2011 as Apollo 18.

      So, feel free to explore the moon, just make sure Dad's on standby with a hook and ladder truck!

  12. Aqua Marina

    First Men in the Moon

    This article reminded me of a film I first watched in my primary school days, many many decades ago. Never seen it again since. Maybe I should download it.

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: First Men in the Moon

      well its on most christmasses!

      really shows man's violent side i thought last time i saw it

  13. Tempest8008

    Land probe on the top of the crater, or close enough that a rover could climb up it.

    Once at the top the rover stops and releases a ball probe on a cable that rolls down and into the hole, and dangles by the cable.

    Inside that clear plastic ball is your imaging/laser range finding/light source/camera equipment, powered via the tether back to the rover on the crater rim. The golf ball down in the hole sends it's data back to the rover which beams it up.

    That way you're not stuck depending on a satellite EXACTLY overflying the hole to get your data back.

    Anyone else have any daft ideas?

    1. mr.K

      Download directly to Earth

      Since the moon is tidal locked* to Earth and the maria are all on the side facing Earth, maybe we can just pick one that has line of sight from the bottom to earth?

  14. Faux Science Slayer

    Nuclear Powered Settlements ONLY on the Moon

    Solar insolation on the Moon is only 0.4 meter per "Lunar Equator Surface Temperature and Regolith Profile" at Journal of Geophysical Research. Beyond the equator, Lunar temps drop rapidly as incidence angle reflects sunlight with little radiant penetration. Lunar poles are ~40 K, as is the dark side a few days after sunset. Nuclear power would be mandatory for settlement.

  15. MajorTom

    KSP Angle

    Squad ought to update the Mun to include caves and pits. As if driving on the Mun (or landing) isn't difficult enough already.

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