Lunar Pits Offer Refuge

Image (Credit): Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. (NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)

If you are looking for a comfortable spot on the Moon, you could do much worse than a lunar pit. These pits have shaded portions that maintain a comfortable temperature of about 63 F. That is much better than the surface temperatures of 260 F in the day and minus 280 F at night. Such pits can also be useful to visitors by protecting them cosmic rays, solar radiation, and micrometeorites.

You can see one of these pits above, as detected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

You may ask why we are looking at building space habitats when such locations exist. A good question, but I expect the location, size, and stability of these pits will also be important. Maybe they can at least serve as a safe shelter should the be needed.

More study is necessary, of course, before any big decisions on human settlement can be contemplated.

You can read more about the lunar pits here. You can also check out this video.