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In lava tubes on the Moon can fit the whole city - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 06:00

On the Moon, there are a large number of lava tubes - tunnels formed as a result of the flow through the rocks of volcanic lava flows - and according to a new theoretical study of these geological formations are so big and strong that they can build entire communities for future lunar colonists.

Scientific data obtained from the satellite Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) NASA indicate that the diameters of the lava tubes located on the Moon, can exceed one kilometer. These subsurface formations can serve the purposes of long-term program of human exploration of the Moon, providing safe havens from cosmic radiation falling meteorites and temperature differences between the lunar day and night, according to researchers at Purdue University, USA.

David Blair, a graduate of the Faculty of Earth Sciences, Atmospheric and Planetary Purdue University, led a study in which an attempt was made to find out whether empty lava tube with a diameter of more than one kilometer to stay on the Moon structurally stable.

The research team found that, provided that the lunar tube on the Moon will have the same arched profile in cross-section, as well as lava tubes on the planet, then these formations can remain structurally stable on the Moon with a width of up to 5000 meters.

"The lava tube, of course, can not reach the same size in the world, where gravity is much higher, but the Moon is quite real. In addition, the rocks on the Moon is less susceptible to weathering, "- said Blair.

Blair and his team found that the stability of the lava tube depends on its width, height overlying rock and the stresses in the cooled lava covering the walls of lava tubes. Researchers have made a large number of simulation sessions, using a wide range of values ​​of the input parameters specified above.

The results of this study, presented in March of this year, the Conference of Sciences of the Moon and planets have so far been implemented for use in civil engineering, the design of tunnels in the world.

Future research, said Blair will give a more detailed picture of the maximum possible size of lava tubes on the Moon.


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