ISRO scientists have claimed they have discovered a giant underground cave on the moon that could be used as a base by astronauts on future manned missions to earth’s lone natural satellite.
The discovery was possible by examining images captured by the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), one of the 11 cameras on board the space agency’s maiden moon mission — Chandrayaan 1.
In an article titled “Detection of potential site for future human habitability on the moon using Chandrayaan-1 data” in the latest issue of Current Science, lead author A S Arya and four other scientists from the Space Application Centre said “a buried, uncollapsed and near horizontal lava tube was detected in TMC stereo images of the Oceanus Procellarum area on the Moon”.
The Oceanus Procellarum is an area on the moon formed by volcanic activity. It is a little smaller than the Mediterranean Sea and lies on the side of the moon visible from earth. The particular lava tube lies slightly north of the lunar equator. Lava tubes are not unique to the moon, the authors note, saying studies on volcanic fields like those on the islands of Hawaii show most lava tubes “remain partially void”.