Scientists find massive underground tunnels on the Moon

Recently, experts found gravity anomaly distributions suggesting the existence of subsurface empty spaces on the Moon based on GRAIL data.

The Marius Hills pit, spotted in 2009 by scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The pit stretches 65 meters across and could be a skylight leading down to a lava tube, the scientists say. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

A group of Japanese scientists claims to have found massive underground tunnels on the moon. These tunnels could be used in the near future as perfect hiding places for human astronauts, according to researchers at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science conference.

According to the study—published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters—Japanese specialists managed to find the giant formations thanks to the Kaguya space probe.

Using high-precision devices, experts have found gaps hidden away kilometers below the surface of the moon. Interestingly in the near future, when mankind starts colonizing the moon, these massive tunnels can become an important part of the effort to build manned outposts on the lunar surface.

These Kaguya images show the Marius Hills pit in the context of a meandering system of volcanic rilles. Because the pit is in the middle of a rille, it likely represents a collapse in the roof of a lava tube. Credit: JAXA/SELENE

Experts uncovered a deep pit, tens of meters in diameter located in the so-called Marius Hills, in 2009. In 2016, a NASA mission found gravitational anomalies that possibly indicated gaps.

As noted in the study, “In 2009, three huge pits were discovered on the Moon in image data acquired by the SELENE Terrain Camera. Their diameters and depths are several tens of meters or more. They are possible skylight holes opening on large subsurface caverns such as lava tubes, by analogy with similar pits found on Mars. This possibility was enhanced significantly by LRO oblique observations; large openings were observed horizontally at the floors of the pits. Lava tubes are normally elongated in the horizontal direction. In contrast, magma chambers may not have large horizontal extensions but instead, may have drops like a sink around their inner walls

Scientists, led by Junichi Haruyama, concluded that these were not cavities/pits but tunnels that penetrate the lunar rock to a depth of several kilometers.

If humans, via rover or their own two feet, ever got access to the tubes, “the science would be amazing,” commented Brent Garry, a geophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The tube’s interior tempts with pristine surfaces, absent of lunar soil or bombardment by micrometeorites, he said. Furthermore, these surfaces could offer answers to questions about the Moon’s origin and formation.

The underground tunnels could prove to be an ideal place where we can create lunar outposts in the near future.

Experts indicate that these are great spots for future human colonies since they protect future astronauts from radiation and temperature variations.

However, the existence of tunnels on the Moon is not something new, said Vladislav Shevchenko, Head of Department of Lunar and Planetary Research, Sternberg State Astronomical Institute, Moscow University.

As Russian website writes, “These formations were discovered several years ago. At that time, experts rushed to make conclusions interpreting their origin: volcanic tubes because they are located in volcanic lunar seas. These formations carried lava to the surface. The material is compressed and as it cools, voids are created.”

“This news did not take Russian scientists by surprise writes, since they claim “they have read about this discovery” back in Societ-era newspapers.”



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