Posts Tagged ‘Reconnaissance Orbiter’
Alan Boyle writes: Fresh photos from NASA’s lunar orbiter suggest that pit craters could provide havens for humans on the moon – just as they do in 50-year-old science fiction.
About 10 candidate pit craters have been identified in high-resolution imagery from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, according to Mark Robinson, the principal investigator for the orbiter’s camera. He features images that appears to show sunlight slanting down at an angle into holes in the ground.
“They could be entrances to a geologic wonderland,” Robinson says in a NASA Science News report. “We believe the giant holes are skylights that formed when the ceilings of underground lava tubes collapsed.”
Over at Beyond the Black, space writer Robert Zimmerman offers up a provocative pair of pictures, showing sunlight hitting a pit crater at different times during the lunar day. These observations follow up on last year’s first picture of a lunar skylight, based on data from Japan’s Selene spacecraft.
Such pit craters are thought to be a consequence of ancient volcanic activity on the moon, with surface openings leading to the lava tubes beneath. The tubes could provide shelter from the moon’s harsh surface conditions.
“The tunnels offer a perfect radiation shield and a very benign thermal environment,” Robinson says. “Once you get down to two meters under the surface of the moon, the temperature remains fairly constant, probably around -30 to -40 degrees C.” That’s the equivalent of 20 to 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit – pretty chilly, but not as inclement as typical temperatures at the lunar surface, which swing between 225 degrees above zero during the day and 250 below zero at night.
You could even imagine sealing off the openings and creating a tunnel city. That’s basically what Robert Heinlein did in his tales of Luna City, published as short stories and novels in the late 1950s and 1960s. Perhaps the best-known of these works is “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” one of my favorites.
Robinson as well as moon maven Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute say more observations will need to be made to confirm what’s actually within the pits. “Hold off on booking your next vacation at the Lunar Carlsbad Hilton,” the NASA report quotes Spudis as saying. “Many tunnels may have filled up with their own solidified lava.”
If it does turn out that the caves of Luna are open for business, that might lead NASA’s mission planners to reconsider their next steps for human exploration. But when it comes to pit craters, the moon isn’t the only game in town … or the solar system.
Mars appears to have pits as well, including one that discovered by a group of seventh-graders only recently. As I mentioned a few days ago, the Martian caves around Arsia Mons are on the short list for potential human missions. The caves could be among the best places to look for signs of past or even present life on Mars. So when I say that life’s the pits on other planets … that’s meant to be a good thing.
Thanks to MUFON investigator Kristen Winslet and the Cosmic Log.msnbc
KEN PFEIFER MUFON NEW JERSEY
For the first time the dark side of the moon has been captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s LOLA instruments. The rainbow colors correspond to the elevation of the terrain, going from 20,000 feet (red) to -20,000 feet (blue). The beautiful coloring highlights the unique sharp views of some of the largest impact craters in the solar system The image is part of an article on ten cool things discovered in the first year of the LRO, which includes the Moon landing sites but not this amazing close up of its surface.
Thanks to NASA and the Daily Galaxy.com
KEN PFEIFER MUFON NEW JERSEY
Elizabeth Fuller writes, I found another UFO over the Spirit rover in SOL 318 (panoramic view). The UFO is only visible in one of the 74 views on this SOL (it’s the 10th view from the top). This is one of the most amazing UFO’s I’ve seen – it’s really large, has a very odd shape, and appears to be extremely low to the ground. Someone is watching Mars very closely. The more I look at these photos, the more amazing things I find that I didn’t see first time around.
I have to hand it to NASA, they are either not looking at these photos very carefully, or they are putting them out there for anyone who is interested in finding out the truth to see! Thanks to Elizabeth Fuller
Mars Artificial Platforms
Vince White writes, Look at this HIRISE imagery, and explain how rocks sort themselves, into rocks of the same size and place themselves into neat rows and columns. These are smart Martian rocks indeed, as amazing as “cat boxes” sitting on clear artificial symmetric rectilinear berm platforms! The HiRise images are esp_012525_1720 below see image 2 Thanks to Vince White, NASA, J. P. Skipper and University of Arizona. 7.9 276.6E
Editors Note: The right side of the photo has square building like structures.
Richard Buchli D.V.M. writes, “I don’t know if you got my letter last night, but be sure to notice Mars 7 and 8. 7 has interesting something at the base, and 8 is a very strange 2 part light area!! 4 07’12. 95” S 63 10’14.27 W
We’re not sure whether it’s some kind of alien design but NASA says, Mars is “tattooed.” That’s their cutesy way of bringing attention to what’s shown in this high-resolution picture from the HiRise camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter — a twisting dark design on the reddish terrain of the planet’s surface.
From a NASA photo today entitled, “Tattooed Mars:” “Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with a tantalizing mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature wind vortices or dust devils. Spinning columns of rising air heated by the warm surface are also common in dry and desert areas on planet Earth. Image: NASA, HiRise.