Interior of Subsurface Cave Imaged on the Moon

The LROC NAC acquired an oblique view of the Marius Hills pit with just the right angle to reveal an overhang, with a pit below, which is about 65 meters in diameter. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Follow-up observations of a potential ‘skylight’ in a lava tube on the Moon has revealed a cavernous lunar pit in the Marius Hills region, with a view of the interior and bottom of the pit. The sun angle, camera angle and lighting conditions were just right for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera to look all the way down to the floor of the pit. And this is no small hole in the ground — the LRO team says this pit is about 65 meters in diameter! This latest image confirms this object is actually a subsurface cave; a lava tube close to the surface where part of it has collapsed. These lava tubes could be great locations for lunar bases that could protect human explorers from dangers such as cosmic rays, meteorite impacts, and the extreme temperature differences between the lunar day and night.

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(C) nancy for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | 2 comments | Add to del.icio.us Post

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