Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers thermally stable areas in surface pits suitable for future lunar bases

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a group of NASA-funded researchers has discovered that shaded locations inside surface pits on the lunar surface harbor comfortable temperatures that could prove useful for future lunar exploration. Furthermore, LRO continues to operate in a healthy state around the Moon and is regularly returning data, so much so that NASA awarded the spacecraft and teams a mission extension back in April, which will allow the craft to continue its observations of the Moon. Since inserting into lunar orbit on June 23, 2009, LRO has imaged, investigated, and measured the lunar surface pits that are the subject of new research led by Tyler Horvath, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Horvath et al. research shows that the temperature of the pits stays around 17° Celsius (63° Fahrenheit) in shaded areas. Lunar surface pits were first seen in 2009, and since their discovery, scientists have theorized that the pits serve as openings to underground caves and other subsurface geologic features. Understanding the temperatures of these pits is important for future exploration of the Moon, as they could be used for future sites or bases that require thermally stable (neither extremely…

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers thermally stable areas in surface pits suitable for future lunar bases

Updated: August 11, 2022 — 10:26 am