Lava Tubes on the Moon and Mars are Really, Really Big. Big Enough to Fit an Entire Planetary Base

The first lava tube skylight discovered on the moon. Image credit: JAXA/SELENE

Could lava tubes on the Moon and Mars play a role in establishing a human presence on those worlds? Possibly, according to a team of researchers. Their new study shows that lunar and Martian lava tubes might be enormous, and easily large enough to accommodate a base.

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Why Lava Tubes Should be Our Top Exploration Priority on Other Worlds

Spectacular high Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. The 100 meter pit may provide access to a lunar lava tube. Image Credit: By NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University - http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA13518, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54853313

When magma comes out of the Earth onto the surface, it flows as lava. Those lava flows are fascinating to watch, and they leave behind some unique landforms and rocks. But a lot of what’s fascinating about these flows can be hidden underground, as lava tubes.

These lava tubes are turning out to be a very desirable target for exploration on other worlds, just as they are here on Earth.

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