Swanky Lava Moon Tube Marius Hills: Future Selenite Colony?
January 4, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-Marius Hills. It sounds like an upscale McMansion neighborhood or a pretentious condo development, but it also happens to be the name of the site for a possible future moon colony. An international team of scientists recently discovered a giant hole on the moon referred to, as a “lava tube” located on the volcanic near side of the moon, named Marius Hills. The hole could provide protection from the moon’s extreme temperatures and constant meteorite strikes. An Earth colony on the Moon has long been the subject of countless sci-fi movies. And NASA plans to establish a temporary lunar colony by 2025, provided there is sufficient funding and political support for such a mission. So, the discovery of a “lava tube” that could be transformed into an underground shelter for humans is good news for future space explorers.
But the big question is: Does the lava tube contain an acrobatic race of lunar inhabitants named Selenites?
Besides the obvious benefit of providing exciting plots for sci-fi flicks, moon colonies have been extolled by scientists, as a way to escape biological calamities or nuclear wars on Earth. Stephen Hawking recently gave a TED speech advocating the establishment of space colonies to have a back-up society in the event of disaster.
The hole found by the team of scientists is about 213 feet wide and at least 260 feet deep. And its ideal for shelter, because it’s protected from the elements by a thin layer of lava. “The area around the hole is covered by a thin (20 to 25 m) lava sheet, which may help protect the lava tube from collapse due to meteorite bombardment,” wrote the scientists. Lava tubes have been discovered before, even on Earth, but not with protective lava coverings, like the one found at Marius Hills.
Lead researcher Junichi Haruyama, with the Japanese space agency JAXA, hailed the find as an important step towards the establishment of a future moon colony:
“Lunar lava tubes are a potentially important location for a future lunar base, whether for local exploration and development, or as an outpost to serve exploration beyond the moon. Any intact lava tube could serve as a shelter from the severe environment of the lunar surface, with its meteorite impacts, high-energy UV radiation and energetic particles, and extreme diurnal temperature variations,” wrote the team in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
One of the first sci-fi movies ever made was a silent black-and-white film produced in France in 1902, by famed director Georges Melies, called A Trip to the Moon or Voyage dans la Lune. The film still delights over a century later. And the plot of course, is based on a group of astronomers who travel to the moon in a rocket shot out of a cannon The early 20th century explorers soon discover the moon people, called Selenites living in a fanciful underground kingdom.
The scientists didn’t mention if they found evidence of contortionist Selenites living in the newly discovered, lava tube, but stranger things have happened. This past year we have been bombarded with death panels, teapartiers, birthers and deathers, so why not Selenites?