This one thing could be the key to humans living on the moon

2 mins
03 Aug 2022
Areas of the moon may be a suitable temperature for humans

Turns out, cave people were onto something...

image NASA on Unsplash

words Megan Wallace

Elon Musk might enjoy the sound of his own voice droning on about Mars, but his SpaceX mission might have some competition on the horizon. Namely, us Earth-dwellers might be able to set our sights on other areas of the universe — specifically the moon. Yep, while it has long been thought that living on the moon would be impossible, there’s new hope that the moon could become hospitable for humans — at least when it comes down to one important detail.

According to new findings from researchers at UCLA, published last month in academic journal Geophysical Research Letters, shaded pits on the moon’s surface could provide stable environments suitable for humans. The temperature in these craters sits at around 17 degrees celsius throughout the day, whereas elsewhere on the moon it swings between volatile extremes of 127 degrees during the daytime and minus 173 degrees at night which, in case you hadn't guessed, would leave us unable to survive.

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Scientists are pretty excited about this discovery and believe that these pits could be the key to further moon exploration as well as potentially providing spaces for humans to safely live on the moon. The thinking is that the craters could lead to caves which, like back in the Stone Age, may serve as safe havens for humans. Not only is the temperature there cooler and more suitable for humans, the caves could also help provide shelter from cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites.

The idea of living in a cave isn't so chic (we doubt that even your best gorpcore could help you prepare) but it is, admittedly, a classic. "Humans evolved living in caves, and to caves we might return when we live on the moon," said study coauthor David Paige, professor of planetary science at UCLA, in a news release accompanying the study.

It's also worth noting that this discovery is a significant breakthrough for supporters of lunar exploration with UCLA PhD researcher and lead study author Tyler Horvath writing; ”We could be able to establish a long-term presence on the moon sooner than may have otherwise been possible.”

So there you have it, moon exploration isn’t so far out of reach…

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