Rocky Roads Through Lanzarote: Astronauts Explore a Lava Tube

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, ESA engineer Robin Eccleston and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins with others at the entrance to a lava tube. (Credit: ESA–A. Romeo)

LANZAROTE, Spain (ESA PR) — Take away the clouds, bulk up the humans with suits and add an orange-red filter and this could be an image from a future mission to Mars.

The actual site, the Corona lava tube in Lanzarote, Spain, is closer than one might think to the Red Planet.

(more…)

ESA Plans Mission to Explore Lunar Caves

Three images of the Marius Hills pit imaged by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. This pit is about 34 metres deep and 65 by 90 metres wide. Marius Hills and other pits may be ‘skylights’ into extensive lava tubes. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In a first step towards uncovering the Moon’s subterranean secrets, in 2019 we asked for your ideas to detect, map and explore lunar caves. Five ideas were selected to be studied in more detail, each addressing different phases of a potential mission.

(more…)

Will Astronauts Follow in the Footsteps of Caveman Ancestors?

Le Moustier Neanderthals (Charles R. Knight, 1920)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

As their name implies, cavemen and their families lived in caves to protect themselves from the dangers of weather, wild animals and alien monoliths that might suddenly appear on the savannah.

As humanity prepares to take its next evolutionary step — the permanent settlement of the moon and Mars — it looks like it will be heading back to the caves. Or, more accurately, lava tubes that will protect astronauts from dangers of radiation and solar storms.

Ah oui. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose….

(more…)

JAXA Spacecraft Data Indicate Massive Lava Tube on Moon

The SELENE (Kagiya) orbiter studied the moon using radar. (Credit: JAXA/SELENE/ Crescent/Akihiro Ikeshita)

Some very cool news out of Japan today where researchers say they have found an enormous lava tube stretching about 50 km (31 miles) under the lunar surface

The cavern, found in the Marius Hills area on the near side of the moon, is about 100 meters wide and extends for about 50 km, according to data taken by JAXA’s Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE), also called the Kaguya moon probe.

(more…)