Wednesday, August 26, 2020

About These Lava Tubes....,

Forbes |  Lava tubes on the moon and Mars may be large enough to fit city center-sized groups of astronauts living on these other worlds, a new study finds.

Lava tubes are an underground tunnel that happens due to the flow of molten rock during a volcanic explosion. We get lava tubes on Earth as well, but the ones on the moon and Mars are likely much larger — allowing huge communities of people to work, live and explore on other worlds.

A typical tube on Earth will be roughly 30 feet to 100 feet (10 to 30 meters) in diameter. But one on Mars could be the height of the Empire State Building, with a diameter 10 times that of Earth. If that sounds big, consider the moon, where its even lower gravity produces a tube up to 1000 times larger than Earth’s — much taller than the massive Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.

It’s an exciting find because these small, cramped spaces on Earth would instead open up into vast caverns of space on other worlds. Rather than imagining future astronauts working shoulder to shoulder all the time, these space explorers could easily stroll through otherworldly boulevards, all sheltered from deadly outside radiation (and in the case of Mars, fierce dust storms).

 "These [lava tubes] represent ideal gateways or windows for subsurface exploration,” said study lead author Francesco Sauro in a statement. While we’ve known about these lava tubes for a while, the new study shows just how large they are — able to contain the same space as the city center of Padua, Italy in at least one case, Sauro said.