Enormous lava tunnels on the Moon could be home to humans one day

Future moon colonists could be looking at living the good underground life, thanks to the discovery that the moon may be riddled with tunnels big enough to house entire cities. Researchers have recently determined that lunar lava tubes could be our most convenient housing for long-term occupation of the moon.

According to the Science World Report, scientists have seen huge channels, called sinuous rilles, cut into the moon’s surface, which appear to have been caused by lava flows. “There has been some discussion of whether lava tubes might exist on the moon,” Jay Melosh of Purdue University said in a statement. “Some evidence, like the sinuous rilles observed on the surface, suggest that if lunar lava tubes exist they might be really big.” The surface channels can be over six miles wide, so any underground tunnels could also be huge.

Lava tubes are formed when lava flows underground and forms a sort of pipeline, with the cooler lava at the outer rim forming a crusty tube of rock for the hotter lava in the center to flow through. When the lava flow is over, a long, rocky tunnel is left.

“We found that if lunar lava tubes existed with a strong arched shape like those on Earth, they would be stable at sizes up to 5,000 meters, or several miles wide, on the moon,” study leader David Blair said. “This wouldn’t be possible on Earth, but gravity is much lower on the Moon and lunar rock doesn’t have to withstand the same weathering and erosion. In theory, huge lava tubes – big enough to easily house a city – could be structurally sound on the Moon.“

As explained in a Nature World News report, lunar lava tubes would shelter space explorers from “cosmic radiation, meteorite impacts and temperature extremes.” Such a wide extent of pre-existing shelter could handily accelerate our takeover of the moon as a new frontier for colonization.


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Juicy: Enormous lava tunnels on the Moon could be home to humans one day
Enormous lava tunnels on the Moon could be home to humans one day
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