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Caves of the Moon

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-the-horrors-that-lurk-within dept.

Moon 172

jeno passes along this excerpt from New Scientist: "A deep hole on the moon that could open into a vast underground tunnel has been found for the first time. The discovery strengthens evidence for subsurface, lava-carved channels that could shield future human colonists from space radiation and other hazards. ... The hole measures 65 meters across, and based on images taken at a variety of sun angles, the hole is thought to extend down at least 80 meters. It sits in the middle of a rille, suggesting the hole leads into a lava tube as wide as 370 meters across."

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172 comments

Beware (2, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856473)

Beware the mole people!

Beware of the Cave Dwellers! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856557)

3.5 billion years into existence and we've finally hit the first plot point.

Re:Beware of the Cave Dwellers! (2, Funny)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856587)

Thong... the fish is ready.

Re:Beware of the Cave Dwellers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29858409)

Something smells gooooooood!

Re:Beware of the Cave Dwellers! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856779)

caves in the moon, finally we know where the knee grows came from

Re:Beware (1)

ThisIsForReal (897233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856663)

More reminiscent of Empire Strikes Back to me. Quite a few things were living on that asteroid.

Superman Serial (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857617)

I'm not saying I'm old enough to remember, but wasn't there a Mole Men of the Moon enemy our slightly gay, tight wearing, dual-life-leading, Krytonian Ersatz Messiah had to fight?

(Batman rules!)

Slight correction (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857677)

that would be Selenites.
Named after the ancient greek goddess of the moon, Selene.
This name has been used for the inhabitants of the moon for more than a century.

Just thought I'd let you know. :)

Re:Slight correction (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858733)

That would be more of a correction if it actually disputed anything that I said. But it is indeed good information for anyone who doesn't already know the various names the moon has had.

Mapping Lunar Caves (3, Interesting)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858515)

Seriously though - I wonder what would be the best kind of sensors/instrumentation to map underground caves and tunnels on the Moon from orbit? Isn't there supposed to be something called "cavern sensing radar" or "ground penetrating radar" that can do this stuff? If so, then how come it hasn't been done yet? Surely we're not just going to rely on finding these choice living locations by just luckily spotting some hole in the ground?

If Man is going to return to the Moon and make a permanent base there, then it might as well be done in a cave, which is much more naturally sheltered from harmful cosmic rays and meteors, as compared to living in some inflatable habitat on the surface. Heck, that's why our cavemen ancestors liked caves to begin with - because they were uniquely sheltering environments. Shouldn't there be some kind of effort to map out the lunar underground to reveal where the best locations might be? As they say in real estate - it's location, location, location!

Re:Mapping Lunar Caves (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858841)

Very low frequency radar could do this, such as the SHARAD [nasa.gov] radar used to map the subsurface water ice on Mars [geology.com] .

This will not be as easy as it might seem - SHARAD uses 15-25 MHz radar, or wavelengths from 1-3 meters. A 10 meter diameter tunnel (a fairly large lava tube) would only be a few wavelengths across, and thus would be hard to see.

Apollo 17 orbited a 60 meter wavelength radar system [harvard.edu] , but I don't think that this had either the surface coverage or the resolution to realistically see lava tubes.

With this finding, I expect some nation will find the money to orbit a suitable radar around the moon to hunt for more tubes.

Get done with the lava nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856477)

Everyone already knows the space moles dug these holes...

oh yeah (0, Offtopic)

nnnich (1454535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856487)

we're whalers on the moon we carry a harpoon though there ain't no whales so we tell tall tales and sing our whaling toon relevancy = 100
better be a tag....

Oh NO (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856771)

Just when I'd finally gotten that out of my head...

Before you get exited about gaping moon holes... (5, Funny)

Rip Dick (1207150) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856489)

The moon is a harsh mistress...

Re:Before you get exited about gaping moon holes.. (1, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856733)

And I thought, the moon would just Goatse us. ^^

Re:Before you get exited about gaping moon holes.. (1)

FatherDale (1535743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856873)

TOTALLY what I was thinking. Next think you know, the Looneys will be chunking rocks at Cheyenne Mountain...

Re:Before you get exited about gaping moon holes.. (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858797)

The second catapult was 'underground save for ejection and that just a hole in the ground ' (or something like that,

The Menace From Earth (0)

opencity (582224) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856497)

So if we pump a bunch of air into it and wear wings can we fly around?

Sorry I didn't read the story just can't resist the reference.

A more logical conclusion (0)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856501)

Moon worms make, more sense. Everyone knows that earth worms survived the moons separation from earth. Like any good sci fi the worms mutated, and are now giant moon worms!

Liquid Hot MAG-MA! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856509)

"It sits in the middle of a rille, suggesting the hole leads into a lava tube as wide as 370 meters across."

This is really cool, but the main problem with living in lava tubes is...

LAVA.

Re:Liquid Hot MAG-MA! (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856769)

Given the moon's lesser gravity, you should be able to jump right over the lava. That's right folks, this going to be one great big real-life Mario Brothers game!

Re:Liquid Hot MAG-MA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857139)

No, the main problem with lava tubes is the asshole you live with that pronounces it MAG-MA.

Recommended reading (0, Redundant)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856555)

Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress warmly recommended to spark your imagination.

Quiz on Monday kids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856885)

Probably best to go to the primary source you young 'uns, that's where the Cavorite is. Extra credit for learning how many of these they seem to have found on Mars.

Re:Recommended reading (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857629)

I prefer "Rocketship Galileo". Any geek hobbyist can build a rocket, take a Browning, and fight Nazi's on the moon.

Just one question... (1, Interesting)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856583)

...if the moonquake/gravitiational earth pull/meteors broke a hole in the tube, couldn't the same thing happen over the heads of the moon cave-men?

Re:Just one question... (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856709)

...if the moon-quake/gravitational earth pull/meteors broke a hole in the tube, couldn't the same thing happen over the heads of the moon cave-men?

Possibly, but it would be simple enough to reinforce the ceiling like they do in tunneling projects. There probably would also be a dome or structure over the top in case even that failed and sprung a leak.

Re:Just one question... (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856791)

Why complicate it that much? Just have a bunch of lightweight balls of sealant that get sucked into any cracks, burst, and plug the leak.

Obviously (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856855)

The moon isn't like a truck - it's a series of tubes.

Re:Just one question... (4, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856979)

Sure but the same could happen to your home. Events of that type are pretty rare and hell, if something can smash through solid rock it'll probably smash through the ceiling of your surface moonbase too.

Re:Just one question... (2, Informative)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857425)

Not really, our atmosphere prevents any smallish rocks from hitting us (and a lot of them do hit the atmosphere just watch a meteor shower). The moon has no such convenience as seen by looking at its continuous craters.

Re:Just one question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29858337)

The Earth would have lots of craters too, if it wasn't volcanically active. Your sense of geological perspective is broken.

Re:Just one question... (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858863)

Events of that type are pretty rare and hell, if something can smash through solid rock it'll probably smash through the ceiling of your surface moonbase too.

A lot of things which are going to be an issue with a surface structure are not going to make it through several metres of solid rock though. Also using a cave may well mean that you can get your base to a state where you don't need its builders to be wearing moonsuits in less time. Even a better design than the A7L is likely to be heavy and restrict movement.

Re:Just one question... (3, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858679)

This lava flow comes from the late heavy bombardment [wikipedia.org] and so the lava tube is well over 3 billion years old. Yes, the roof might fall in, but (given that there is no erosion, and no ground water dissolving the rocks) if it hasn't collapsed in 3+ billion years, the odds are in your favor.

Now, that doesn't mean that these tubes are necessarily stable, and you would certainly want to be cautious on the first visit, and provide a roof to protect against cave-ins caused by human activity, but many of the lava tubes on Earth are quite stable, and similar tubes on the Moon would be great places to set up shop.

nonsense (0)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856589)

lava my foot. verne was right. it's the selenites!

Just to get it out of the way ... (3, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856605)

That's no moon! It's a space station.

That hole is probably where it fires its main weapon from.

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856727)

That's no moon! It's a space station.

I find your lack of original dialogue disturbing.

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856747)

I generally feel the same way about George Lucas.

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856807)

You could be right....I have a plan though....

We just need to aim some of those super sensitive long range microphones at the cave.......

The second we hear any mention of "Clearing bay 327" or "opening a magnetic shield" we run....

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (1, Funny)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856817)

Negative. It's an unguarded, exposed vent to the central reactor.

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856865)

Damn, now we find WMD on the moon, and Bush is already out of office.
Imagine how much money NASA could have been given now!

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857771)

Well like the Bush administration, Nasa attacked the moon BEFORE having any proof of WMD...

Re:Just to get it out of the way ... (0, Troll)

internic (453511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857083)

I doubt that, but it's quite possible that that cavern is not entirely stable. ;-)

Weird. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856607)

No goatse mention? What's happened to this place?

Re:Weird. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856653)

Ugggh, gaping holes and moons, thanks for that thought AC!

That comment is the single best reason for the continued existence of AC.

Obviously... (4, Informative)

sabernet (751826) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856635)

This is R. Daneel Olivaw's hideout

Re:Obviously... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856739)

I'm on ur moon, controlin ur destiny

Re:Obviously... (2, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856803)

Don't be silly, he won't be built for another couple of thousand years. We still have to turn the planet radioactive first.

Re:Obviously... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858053)

Don't be silly, he won't be built for another couple of thousand years. We still have to turn the planet radioactive first.

No no, you've reversed the order there. Daneel and Giskard were around to see the planet turn radioactive. (Yes, I know, I'm glossing over an important detail there. XD Trying to avoid spoilers -- read the books.)

Re:Obviously... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857377)

It might be the cave where Osama Bin Laden is hiding.

In other news: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856639)

A similar hole was discovered on Uranus...

Re:In other news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857979)

On Mars too.

Re:In other news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29858315)

whoosh

Re:In other news: (2, Insightful)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858569)

M'ars

Monster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856643)

Think we'll find mynock in there?

This calls for action (1)

itsanx (1534709) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856651)

I propose we send commander Boston Low, Dr. Ludger Brink and Maggie Robbins to investigate this.

BEWARE (1)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856673)

BEWARE of space GRABOID'S

The Real question is... (1)

minijedimaster (1434893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856725)

Now that we've discovered our soon to be lizard overlord's base entrance, what are they going to do about it? I for one welcome our new overlords.

I love astronomy! (-1, Troll)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856751)

We found a black dot on one of the hi-res lunar surface pictures! It must be a cave, and could mean a bunch of stuff, but let's think of some high expectations now..

*Josh hides cigarette that fell on the map printout last night during late shift*

Re:I love astronomy! (2, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857075)

I would love to hear your simpler explanation. Any will do, since you have a bunch of them.

Re:I love astronomy! (1, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858013)

Clearly this is strong evidence to suggest the Moon is made of Swiss cheese.

Moon is an artificial alien stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856759)

So it's probably true... the Moon is really what some suspected quite some time...

On an other note, what is this fascination for men to discover holes?

Re:Moon is an artificial alien stuff (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856837)

That is how we reproduce, we better be good at it.

Heechee? (1, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856827)

I call dibs on the prayer fans. 10% of sales and discoveries from prayer fans goes to me, the rest you keep.

Herge was right ! (1)

dario_moreno (263767) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856831)

In "Explorers on the Moon" he mentions ice (recently discovered) and caves. Now if we build that atomic rocket (NERVA or Orion), we could send a V2 like rocket on the moon with 8 people aboard, a dog, a tank (more impressive to selenites than a buggy) and let them stay for some weeks at first.

Re:Herge was right ! (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857517)

Note to self: Carry more oxygen the next time!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explorers_on_the_Moon [wikipedia.org]

One-piece rockets landing on the moon (no air bags required), artificial gravity, a pulley system, fully-transparent helmets, separate rooms for dining, storage, and even extra storage space for, um, "books". And oh yeah, tiny 2-seater helicopters that land and take off in the middle of the road.

I can't wait!

Bin Laden? (1)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856835)

So they finally found out where Osama has been hiding....

A cave on the moon!!! That bastard probably runs around calling it a "Death Star"

Sorry its early in the morning for me and I am a bit loopy :)

Re:Bin Laden? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856913)

Where I come from we'd just call you stupid.

Re:Bin Laden? (2, Funny)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857169)

Who is this we?

Do you have some sort of multiple personality disorder?

I guess your collective has no sense of humor "Your sense of comedy will be assimilated, resistance is futile, clowns are irrelevant"

Hehehehe too fun :)

You go first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856847)

Lava tube is just a theory [starwars.com] .

It's a perfect place (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856883)

for storing cheese.

That's my house.... (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856909)

...and I really don't appreciate the voyeurs peeping in from 240 k miles out. I moved here for a reason, you insensitive clods!

So then, now we know (4, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856911)

The moon is made out of Swiss cheese...

Re:So then, now we know (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858105)

If the moon were made out of barbecue spare ribs, would you eat it?

Re:So then, now we know (1)

TuomasK (631731) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858333)

I love that this is modded "Interesting" :)

In related news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29856937)

An apartment dweller in Hutchinson, Kansas, this morning found a small, green-tinted button on the floor near a spare bedroom for the first time. The button was laying flat, nearly 2 inches from the closed bedroom door. Since this is the first time such a button has actually been available for observation, there is wide speculation as to its origin. According to researchers, it's sudden appearance may be the result of a previously undetected attack by extraterrestrial beings where they bombarded the Earth's surface with invisible and mass-less buttons, with this newly-found specimen being a strange aberrancy in the onslaught. Or, it could've fallen off a shirt.

Access point to the hyperlogos (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29856971)

Sorry I can't find a better link, but you don't really need a lava tube for settlement [inhabitat.com] , it just makes it cheaper and easier. You're still going to need an inflatable habitat or similar (honestly, what else makes sense?) to sit in the tube.

Re:Access point to the hyperlogos (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858907)

Bigelow is supposedly working on digging to bury his BA-330s. I wonder if he has considered a way to get something like even the sundancer down there. In addition, unless this is at the pole, it will mean that nuclear power will be required (or an incredible amount of energy storage). TO be honest, I would think that having a small nuclear reactor would be great so that temps would be easy to maintain.

Build a theme pack there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857009)

Build a theme pack there.

Caves of the Moon... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857019)

... Why does it sound like the title of a Doctor Who episode?

Mandatory: you loserboy nerds, wait for the Sontaran jocks to beat you up and shit on your faces. Sontar-ha!

Most rocky planets should have lava tubes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857025)

Expect any planet with high temperature basaltic volcanism to have lava tubes: Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Moon, and Io. Venus' might be very long given the slow cooling rate of erupted lava. Lava tubes might even exist on icy bodies like Titan.

Serious land-grab issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857055)

Up until now, the land-area of the moon was mainly described by either being in the light side or the dark side. Both sides offered pros and cons to installing research equipment, communications devices, and even manned bases. Even with moon only divided into sections there has already been some friction between the nations regarding how the moon's landmass will eventually be split up. Should it simply be first-come first-served, or would some more democratic method be fairer? Maybe joint ventures is the only way to share the moon without conflict.

Now that we have a clear example of a potentially highly-desirable site, this issue of ownership is going to be extremely crucial. I hope we can figure out a workable solution soon.

Re:Serious land-grab issue (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858059)

Up until now, the land-area of the moon was mainly described by either being in the light side or the dark side.

Let me guess, you're not quite from the bright side of Earth, are you?

Nourishment (1)

slashnik (181800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857085)

"Since the tubes may be hundreds of metres wide, they could provide plenty of space for an underground lunar outpost. The tubes' ceilings could protect astronauts from space radiation, meteoroid impacts and wild temperature fluctuations" ...and provide nourishment for the settlers by way of lashings and lashings of blue string soup.

Chewy... (2, Funny)

Annorax (242484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857217)

... I've got a bad feeling about this.

Moon Rover? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857245)

This all begs the question, when are we going to send a moon rover to study it more depth?

Dahak? (1)

oracleofbargth (16602) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857349)

I call dibs on Sr. Fleet Captain!

Greetings! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857473)

I came from a parallel dimension and somehow ended up here.

Nice to see you use meters; on my home dimension, your equivalents live in a country known for using braindamaged units (a foot as a unit! can you imagine that? yeah, they're the lamest...)

Hmm, I noticed some M$ ads behind the poll. We don't have such things there; /. is like the last bastion where proprietary software would never enter...

Huh, don't tell me in this dimension M$ are the good guys and Google is evil!

Sandworms, or graboids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857579)

It has to be one or the other.

moon meat mine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29857637)

That's undoubtedly the moon mean mine! (Run by an evil crab named Mel Gibson (just a coincidence)).

Ice (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29857753)

These are almost certainly "sinkholes" into lava tubes, where lava runs out the center of a partially frozen lava flow. (Apollo 15 showed pretty clearly that at least the Hadley Rill was a collapsed lava tube.) There are lava tubes you can visit on the big island of Hawaii [bigisland.org] .

The interesting thing to me about this is that the interior of these tubes, being far from the Sun and in a vacuum, might easily contain an appreciable amount of water ice, for the same reason that the lunar poles might, but with a much more convenient distribution across the Moon's surface.

Besides, wouldn't it be cool to explore these 3 billion year old caves?

So easy ... (2, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858235)

a moon-caveman could do it?

Call Samus Aran!!! (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858393)

... there might be metroids inside.

It's not the moon, it's Dahak. (1)

Opr33Opr33 (1180091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858753)

Just ask Lt. Colin MacIntyre.

Lava, on The Moon, really? (0, Troll)

prometx42 (1107413) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858883)

At what point has there been postulated to have been volcanism on the moon in it's past, or would that be a hold over from the theory that The Moon is actually a former piece of The Earth that was ejected from it's mass by some super duper early on catastrophe? Which would, I suppose, explain it.

Or, if there that theory isn't the going favorite, how would "lava tubes" have formed on the moon without, you know, molten core volcanism, etc.? Might we not be looking at some other mechanism? Anyone know anything about that? That supposition just struck me as kind of odd.

Re:Lava, on The Moon, really? (2, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29858945)

It's been postulated a long time - 150 years or more. Apollo showed very clearly that the Mare are big basalt lava flows, and there are various other rilles and other lava related features.

Re:Lava, on The Moon, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29858991)

Ahhh, awesome, thanks, and that would be due to the moons own flows in it's own early formation?

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