National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Detection of intact lunar lava tubes in the data from SELENE (Kaguya) radar sounding

| Science

Artists’ rendering of SELENE (Kaguya) sounding lava tubes in orbit.

A 50-km long intact lava tube underground along a lava flow river “rille” on the Marius Hills of the Moon is detected using the data from the Lunar Radar Sounder onboard SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer/ Kaguya). This research result is very significant because lunar lava tubes have unique values for both science and human expansion to space. Lava tubes may be the best place to build large-scale lunar bases because their interiors protect from dangerous space radiation, micrometeorite bombardment, and wide temperature oscillations.

This research is reported in the paper “Detection of Intact Lava Tubes at Marius Hills on the Moon by SELENE (Kaguya) Lunar Radar Sounder”, Kaku et al., American Geophysical Union Publications Geophysical Research Letters, 2017 Oct. 18.