Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: First open lava tube may have been found
Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Earth & Moon > Lunar Exploration
Vultur
The New Scientist website has an article saying that an opening which might be a lava tube mouth has been found in Kaguya images.

Wasn't there a proposal (possibly from one of the Lunar X Prize teams?) of a Lava Tube Explorer rover? This might be a possible destination...
Phil Stooke
Yes, that proposal was from Astrobotic, for a follow-on lander after the GLXP attempt. I think they imagined driving into an open cave mouth, not descending vertically into a pit.

If solar proton-produced water can migrate to the poles and gather in shadowed crater floors, I assume it can also gather in a hole like this. Here it would also be protected from micrometeorite erosion.

Phil
Phil Stooke
http://wms.selene.jaxa.jp/selene_viewer/jp.../039/tc_039.jpg

Kaguya images of the skylight.

Phil
Hungry4info
What amazes me is how circular this feature, and its counterparts on Mars, appear in images of them.
mcgyver
I thought lava was never suposed to have flown around on the moon... huh.gif
Anyway it would be a great discovery: it wuld save TONS of money in building a permanent base on the moon, if we can just hide inside a cavern, rather than inflating an habitat and covering it with regolite! smile.gif
Poolio
The lunar maria were created by lava flows billions of years ago. I think the most recent of these happened 1.2 billion years ago, so presumably the lava tubes are at least that old. Probably much older, depending on their locations... I'm assuming that the lava tubes can be dated by the age of the surrounding basalt.
mcgyver
QUOTE (Poolio @ Nov 12 2009, 06:32 PM) *
The lunar maria were created by lava flows billions of years ago. I think the most recent of these happened 1.2 billion years ago, so presumably the lava tubes are at least that old. Probably much older, depending on their locations... I'm assuming that the lava tubes can be dated by the age of the surrounding basalt.

but it was not volcanic activity, if I remember correctly lava came out due to asteroids impacts.
lava tube require active volcanoes.
nprev
The Moon did have vulcanism way, way back in the day; there are cinder cones scattered around. It's all ancient, of course.
Phil Stooke
mcgyver, you are a bit out of date. The argument you are making was espoused by Harold Urey in the 1960s. The other view was championed by Gene Shoemaker. Apollo samples, most of which are basalt lava, proved Urey wrong, as he was quick to admit. There's a really good book on this, 'To a Rocky Moon' by Don Wilhelms. Well worth a read.

Phil
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (Poolio @ Nov 12 2009, 10:32 AM) *
the most recent of these happened 1.2 billion years ago, so presumably the lava tubes are at least that old.

Sure it's a good price, but something that old is going to need a new roof, and I can't even imagine what shape the plumbing is in. Lava tube? More like a money pit.
Gsnorgathon
I think it's worth mentioning (again) that To a Rocky Moon is available online.
antipode
Debated whether to add to such an old thread, but I thought this was interesting

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/caves2011/pdf/8008.pdf

Some amazing oblique images new to me at least...

P
elakdawalla
Oh those are very cool. Gotta dig into the data to see if those are available. Here are the numbers of the images from the caption, if anyone else wants to search:

Mare Tranquillitatis pit
A: near-nadir image (M126710873R) and
B: 7 emission angle image (M155016845R), collectively reveal more than 90 percent of the floor, both images are approximately 175 m wide.
C: Oblique view (26 emission angle; M152662021R), a significant portion of the illuminated area is beneath overhanging mare.
Layering is revealed in D, E, & F (M155023632R and M144395745L, respectively).
antipode
More news on lunar pits reported in Icarus:

Distribution, Formation Mechanisms, and Significance of Lunar Pits
Original Research Article
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 13 April 2014
Robert V. Wagner, Mark S. Robinson



Long story short, there are now 8 known mare pits, 221 Impact melt pits (almost all in Copernican aged craters), and most surprisingly, 2 highland pits!

The mare pits are the well known Tranquilitatus, Ingenii and Marius Hills pits, and more recently discovered pits in Lacus Mortis, 2 pits in Mare Fecunditatis, Mare Ingenii, Mare Smythii and the flooded crater Schulter
This is based on an automated search algorithm from +50 to -50 lat that is still only 53% complete.
So I think we can expect quite a few more discoveries in the future.
Although lighting constraints will make it hard near the poles, the fact that we now have 2 highland pits with no obvious formation mechanism means that there could be more!


P
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.