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New analysis of the lunar geology combined with gravity data from GRAIL now suggests that the Moon could harbor lava tubes several miles wide.
David Blair, a graduate student in Purdue’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, led the study that examined whether empty lava tubes more than 1 kilometer wide could remain structurally stable on the moon. “We found that if lunar lava tubes existed with a strong arched shape like those on Earth, they would be stable at sizes up to 5,000 meters, or several miles wide, on the moon,” Blair said. “This wouldn’t be possible on Earth, but gravity is much lower on the moon and lunar rock doesn’t have to withstand the same weathering and erosion. In theory, huge lava tubes – big enough to easily house a city – could be structurally sound on the moon.”
You can read their paper here. If this is so, then the possibility of huge colonies on the Moon increases significantly, as it will be much easier to build these colonies inside these giant lava tubes.