The pits and caverns they can take would make them a thermally stable location for lunar exploration compared to areas of the Moon’s surface, which heat up to about 127 Celsius during the day and about minus 173 Celsius at night. Till cool.
Lunar exploration is part of NASA’s goal of exploring and understanding the unknown in space, inspiring and benefiting humanity.
The craters were first discovered on the Moon in 2009, and since then, scientists have wondered whether they led to caves that could be explored or used as shelter. The pits or caves provide some protection from cosmic rays, solar radiation and microscopic meteorites.
“About 16 of the more than 200 craters probably have collapsed lava tubes,” said Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary science at the University of California at Los Angeles, who led the new research recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
“The lunar crater is a fascinating feature on the lunar surface,” said LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Knowing that they form a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the possibility of one day exploring them.”
Horvath processed data from the thermal camera, Diviner, to determine whether temperatures inside the craters differed from those at the surface.
Focusing on a roughly cylindrical 100-metre-deep depression that is about the length and width of a football field in a region of the Moon known as Mare Tranquillitatis, Horvath and his colleagues examined the rock and the lunar surface. used computer modeling to analyze the thermal properties of To chart the temperature of the pit over dust and time.
The results showed that the temperature within the permanently shaded reaches of the crater fluctuated only slightly throughout the lunar day, remaining around 17 Celsius. If a cave extends from the bottom of the crater, as shown by images taken by LRO’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera, it will also have a relatively comfortable temperature.
The team thinks that the shady overhang is responsible for the stagnant temperatures, limiting how hot things get through the day and preventing heat from dissipating at night.
A day on the Moon lasts about 15 Earth days, during which the surface is constantly bombarded with sunlight and often hot enough to boil water. The brutally cold nights also last about 15 Earth days.
Launched on 18 June 2009, LRO with its seven powerful instruments has gathered a wealth of data, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of the Moon.
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