If you have ever dreamed of living on the moon, start zipping up your spacesuit because your new moon residence is already waiting for you – sort of. According to NASA, future moon dwellers could live in the hundreds of caves that dot the surface of the moon. These caves, formed when the moon surface collapses over an underground void, could provide protection from the lunar surface’s hostile environment, giving humans a safe base on the moon.
The moon surface has about 200 pits, many of which appear to widen underground, creating a cave. Researcher Robert Wagner discovered the lunar pits and believes that these caves are a great place to hunker down. According to Wagner, a dwelling set back underneath the overhang would protect humans from sun radiation, meteors and the wild temperature swings on the moon.
NASA identified these lunar pits using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, with an algorithm written by Wagner. They believe that the pits formed after ancient lava streams carved voids under the surface of the moon. Once this lava cooled, the hollowed-out channels remained and, over time, some have collapsed, leaving the pits behind.
The next step is to probe some of the pits to get a good idea of just what these formations look like and how far underground they go. Since you can’t explore a pit from orbit, all of the work will have to be done from the moon’s surface. But once we have a better understanding, we may be one step closer to having a base on the moon. Until then, you can watch a video about the lunar pits here.
Images via NASA