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    NASA lunar orbiter finds pits on Moon with suitable human temperature

    NASA lunar orbiter finds pits on Moon with suitable human temperature

    NASA lunar orbiter finds pits on Moon with suitable human temperature
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    NASA believes that compared to the Moon's surface, these pits and caves to which they may lead are thermally stable sites for lunar exploration.

    Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, scientists have discovered shaded locations within pits on the Moon with a temperature of about 17 Celsius — suitable for humans.
    This conclusion was recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
    NASA believes that compared to the Moon's surface, these pits and caves to which they may lead are thermally stable sites for lunar exploration.
    However, there is a problem — they heat up to 127 degrees during the day and cool to minus 173 degrees at night.
    After being discovered in 2009, scientists have wondered if these pits led to caves that could be explored or used as shelters. It was found later that the pits could also offer protection from cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites.
    “About 16 of the more than 200 pits are probably collapsed lava tubes,” said Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary science at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the new research.
    “Lunar pits are a fascinating feature on the lunar surface,” said LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.
    “Knowing that they create a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the prospect of one day exploring them.”
    Also found on the Earth, the Lava tubes form when molten lava flows beneath a field of cooled lava or a crust forms over a river of lava, leaving a long, hollow tunnel.
    Two of the most prominent pits on the moon have visible overhangs that lead to caves or voids. Scientists also believe that another’s overhang may also lead to a large cave.
    “Humans evolved living in caves, and to caves, we might return when we live on the Moon,” said David Paige, a co-author of the paper who leads the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment aboard LRO that made the temperature measurements used in the study.
    Lunar exploration is part of NASA’s goal to explore and understand the unknown in space.

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