Thirty mile cave on the Moon?

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

A new analysis of data from Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter suggests that one of the cave pits it found could be an entrance to a lava tube 30 miles long.

In 2009, the Kaguya probe found a large shaft with an opening about 50 meters in diameter in the Marius Hills area. The shaft descends about 50 meters beneath the surface.

The JAXA team analyzed data obtained from a lunar radar sounder on the probe that indicated an underground structure extended west from the shaft. The study confirmed that the cavern, likely created by volcanic activity, has not collapsed, and there is the possibility of ice or water existing in rocks within the cave, the team said.

Do a search on Behind the Black using the search terms “cave” and “moon” and you will see many images of this pit, taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as a follow-up to the Kaguya mission.



  • wodun

    What is a good material to line the tunnels with and would they require structural reinforcement? Could anything needed to fix up the tunnels be manufactured on the Moon or would it have to be shipped from Earth or someplace else?

  • Phill O

    Seems like a project for Western Mappers; one sixth the body weight? Too bad about the other gear required.

    What will the explorers say when they get in? “We do this for fun.”

  • LocalFluff

    At 1/6 the gravity a hard hat should be great protection against rocks falling from the cave roof a meter above. And from further heights one has time to step aside.

    Hergé’s 1950s Moon adventure with Tintin gets more and more realistic every year. Except for the nuclear propulsion, he used the BRF rocket design. And they discovered water ice in a cave on the Moon. Ridiculous at the time, but now it is happening. Although without the Belgian sense of humor.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Belgian sense of humor? I lived and worked in Belgium for a time. Compared to the Italians, the Dutch and even the Germans, the Belgians were a dour and phlegmatic breed. The normative Belgian I encountered didn’t seem to have a sense of humor.

    But then, even in English translation, I could never make head nor tail of what Tintin was supposed to be all about either. Even without translation, I could make more sense out of Japanese manga. Not a lot, mind you, just more.

  • LocalFluff

    Tintin is about Hergé making up a story as he goes. Unlikely events make a 62 page adventure advance page by page. “The Calculus Affair” is the most intense example of that. His realism created my worldview of a mid-century Europe without the war. Although the shadow of evil rivalry is present in space exploration races to the Moon and to landed asteroids, in crime investigations and in made up countries.

    I don’t know any Belgians, I’m not sure it is even a people, no more than the Spanish or British or French or Italians and on and on. They are Flams and French, right? But Hergé (French) created humorous characters. Inspired by real world people, like professor Calculus was inspired by an astrophysicist exploring cosmic rays early on:

  • wayne

    for my money, it’s going to be some formulation of ‘shot-crete,’ made with indigenous Moon”dirt” constituents and some polymer-chemistry, tailored to cure in harsh conditions.

    That, is hilarious!

    “His realism created my worldview of a mid-century Europe without the war.”
    –That, makes perfect sense to me!

    Not a big fan of Tintin myself, although I have a collected-works of his, somewhere in the house.
    Georges Remi, a Belgian, drew and wrote TinTin under the name Herge. It was the most popular indigenous comic in Europe.)

    For an extensive bio & examples of his art, see:

    has anyone read the series “Maus” by Art Spiegelman?
    -very powerful presentation
    “It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The work employs postmodern techniques and represents Jews as mice and other Germans and Poles as cats and pigs.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *