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The Lunar Underground

December 14, 2009

I recently found an article from New Scientist announcing the discovery of a ‘skylight’ on the moon’s surface. The 65-meter-wide hole, which may have been created by a moonquake or a meteor, may open into a vast, lava-carved tunnel beneath the lunar surface.

Within the dotted square is a 65-meter wide 'skylight' which could lead to a system of tunnels beneath the lunar surface

What a beautiful image: the moon riddled with tunnels, like some sort of celestial sponge. The discovery is of interest to scientists because such an underground complex “could shield future human colonists from space radiation and other hazards.” The way scientists discuss the discovery in the article is sort of remarkable. Penny Boston of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro: “I think it’s really exciting… It’s free real estate ready to be exploited and modified for human use.” So matter-of-fact. She could be talking about a proposed building beneath a city street.

Here’s an article, also from New Scientist,which goes into further detail about the possibility of a lunar base being built in a cave. Scientists seem to think that erecting “pressurised tents” inside a cave would be preferred to constructing a rigid structure on the surface.”Instead of assembling structures that have to be meteorite-proof on the surface, or burying them, you’d have tent-like structures inside these tubes,” says Austin Mardon of the Antarctic Institute of Canada in Edmonton, Alberta. “It’s like being cavemen on the Moon.”

I love the concept of human evolution following – at least spatially – a parabola. We started off living in caves, then built pyramids, the Eiffel tower and skyscrapers, but eventually we will pass our peak point, begin our descent and end up living underground again as moon cavemen.

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