Scientists have carried out research studying lava tubes that can act as bases for astronauts visiting other worlds. These tubes are believed to exist below the surface of the Moon or planets. These tunnels can protect astronauts from cosmic radiations.
During the study, the scientists from the European Space Agency and the Universities of Bologna and Padua examined the subsurface cavities created by lava beneath the surface of Mars and the Moon billions of years ago. The research was published in Earth-Science Reviews, reported Independent.
They also studied similar tubes found on Earth to gauge the size of the ones thought to exist on other worlds. The tunnels on Earth can be found in Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Australia and Iceland.
The researchers revealed that lava tubes on the celestial bodies are up to 1,000 times larger than those on our planet.
The tubes found on the Moon are up to 100ft wide and more than 25 miles long. The team said that these are the largest tubes and enough for a base the size of a small town.
Besides, the tunnels are thought to be more stable on Moon or Mars because of lower gravity. Comparatively due to high gravity, such tubes on Earth could collapse.
The scientists also measured the size of collapsed tubes on the Moon and the red planet. They did it with the help of images and other data taken from visiting probes. To understand the relationship between collapsed and stable caves, they compared that data with information about caved-in tubes on Earth.
The team found that the tunnels on other worlds would grow much bigger before crumbling due to atmospheric and other conditions.
"Tubes as wide as these can be longer than 40 kilometres, making the Moon an extraordinary target for subsurface exploration and potential settlement in the wide protected and stable environments of lava tubes," reported Independent quoting Riccardo Pozzobon, one of the researchers on the paper.