Lunar surface may be dotted with hidden, habitable tunnels

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Melbourne, July 18 (ANI): NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has taken a series of pictures, which may establish the presence of a vast network of tunnels on the Moon.

Scientists have had a theory about lunar tunnels since the 1960s.

And if they exist, such tunnels could become home to human settlements on the Moon.

"They could be entrances to a geologic wonderland," news.com.au quoted lead researcher Mark Robinson, of Arizona State University, as saying.

The images were captured by the LRO when it passed over the Marius Hills, a location on the Moon known for its multitude of "rilles" - the long channels on the lunar surface which first led scientists to propose the tunnel theory.

In December 2009, Japanese orbiter Kaguya found a huge pit in the middle of one of the Marius Hills rilles.

It was nearly 70m wide and dropped over 90m to its floor.

The LRO recently returned clearer pictures of the pit, leading scientists to believe it may be a "skylight" in a buried lava tube.

Robinson believes if tunnels exist they could be useful for humans.

He said: "The tunnels offer a perfect radiation shield and a very benign thermal environment."

"Once you get down to two metres under the surface of the moon, the temperature remains fairly constant, probably around -30 to -40 degrees C." (ANI)

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