On the Moon, temperatures can fluctuate between 260 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and -280 at night. In other words, the living conditions are not ideal.
There are, however, pits and caves where temperatures remain at around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 17 degrees Celsius, planetary scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles and as reported by NPR have found.
The shaded areas of the pits could also provide protection against harmful elements, such as solar radiation, cosmic rays or even micrometeorites.
This discovery could transform the future of lunar exploration and, in the longer term, make human habitation possible, the researchers say.
According to Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student at UCLA and head of the research, some pits could come from lava tunnels, formed by a volcanic flow that cooled and formed a solid crust. Overhangs inside these lunar pits, initially discovered in 2009, could explain the temperature stability.
Other challenges to overcome
The researchers used images from NASA’s Diviner tool to determine how the Moon’s pit and surface temperatures fluctuated. They then focused on the Sea of Tranquility area, a vast plain of volcanic rock on the Earth-facing face of the Moon, and used modeling to study the thermal properties of rock and dust. lunar in the pit.
“Humans evolved by living in caves. And in caves we could come back when we live on the moon,” said David Paige, professor of planetary sciences at UCLA and member of the research team, in a press release.
That being the case, there are still many other challenges to be faced in order to ensure a human residence on the Moon in the long term, especially with regard to food supply and oxygen supply, even if discoveries have been made there. too. The researchers clarified that NASA has no immediate plans to establish a research base camp or dwellings.