Minggu, 23 Oktober 2011

Tunnel on the Moon

Following the discovery that the Moon's surface may hide a network of underground tunnels, a veteran Russian cosmonaut has plans to set up a colony of in this labyrinth of lava caves.

In 2008, Japan's Kaguya spacecraft unveiled a mysterious, metres-deep cave in the Sea of Tranquility. Nasa went back with its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and snapped high resolution images of the enticing pit.

"They could be entrances to a geologic wonderland," Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, principal investigator for the LRO camera, said in 2010. "We believe the giant holes are skylights that formed when the ceilings of underground lava tubes collapsed."

Those long-dead lava tubes -- a vestigial signature of the Moon's explosive volcanic past -- could still remain as a labyrinth of underground tunnels. These, Russian space pioneers reckon, would be a perfect, natural shelter from hazardous outer-space conditions.

"If it turns out that the Moon has a number of caves that can provide some protection from radiation and meteor showers, it could be an even more interesting destination than previously thought," cosmonaut Sergei Krikalyov was quoted as saying by Reuters, at a forum on the future of manned spaceflight. Krikalyov now heads Russia's Star City cosmonaut training centre outside Moscow.

Instead of building walls and ceilings, or digging into the lunar soil, Krikalyov's plan is to send lunar explorers into the tunnels with inflatable tents. Once there, the blow-up module expands until its hard outer shell seals the tunnel.

Boris Kryuchkov, the deputy science head at the training centre, estimates that the first lunar colony could be built by 2030.

North America, on the other hand, isn't that interested in returning to the Moon. President Obama cancelled the lunar project in 2010 saying, "We've been there before. There's a lot more of space to explore." Instead, he wants Nasa to focus on landing on an asteroid by 2025, and eventually send a manned mission to Mars.
by "environment clean generations"

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