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Back in 2009, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA announced moon holedeep enough to contain a small human base. Now, the Indian Space Research Organization...

Back in 2009, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA announced moon holedeep enough to contain a small human base. Now, the Indian Space Research Organization has discovered a “giant underground chamber” near the Moon’s equator, in the Oceanus Procellarum area.

The huge cave— discovered by the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft—is more than one mile long (1.7 kilometers) and 393 feet wide (120 meters). By comparison, the vertical hole that Jaxa discovered was only 213 feet (65 meters across) and 289 feet deep (88 meters). This new chamber is big enough to contain a small lunar city or a secret Nazi base with a few thousand UFOs.

The Indian researchers have published a paper detailing their findings and talking about the possibility of making this giant underground vault as a future human base. The settlement would be protected from radiation, micro-meteor impacts, dust and extreme temperature changes by the lava structure:

Lava provides a natural environmental control with a nearly constant temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), unlike that of the lunar surface showing extreme variation, maximum of 130 degrees Celsius (266 degrees Fahrenheit) to a minimum of minus 180 degrees Celsius (-292 degrees Fahrenheit) in its diurnal (day-night) cycle.

They also point out that explorers would only need minimal construction, without the added cost of having to use expensive shields against the hazardous lunar environment.

If humans ever colonize this chamber, I hope they call the city Attilan. [Silicon India]

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Discussion Threads

Alright, so any biophysicists want to explain what would happen if I walked around with just an airtank inside this cave? -4 degrees Farenheit is just like New York 1/4 of the year, and I survived that just fine. Would the lack of atmospheric density have a negative effect on my skin/body?

promoted by RubiksCube

I believe, and anyone please feel free to correct me, but with the lack of atmospheric pressure, there is no force ‘holding’ your body intact. In other words, your body would just blow up I guess.

@Purple Umpteenth – Zombie Dolpharktopus – Watch Farscape or FAIL:
Yeah it’d have quite a negative effect.This is sort of what happens: Space is empty, and matter will try to redistribute itself evenly. Your internals will swell and eventually you will explode because the skin doesn’t stretch that much. You’d likely be dead before the skin tears though, because the fluid in the brain and such would also expand and tear your organs.

Not true. Your skin holds pretty tight to your body and helps to hold it together in lower pressures. However the low pressure could cause a boiling effect of your blood or liquids on and in your body. At near zero atmosphere water will boil at room temperature easily. So yes you can probably survive the lower temperature but without the atmospheric pressure you would die.

I refer you to this article. Its very informative


Edited by Cabs21 at 03/01/11 11:04 AM

@Purple Umpteenth – Zombie Dolpharktopus – Watch Farscape or FAIL: [imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov]

Looks like, given something to breathe, you’d be fine.

I beleive the water in your blood will boil because of the low pressure, not sure if it can be overcome with a tight fiting pressure suit.

Most likely your blood would boil or your body would blow up. Both can happen when you’re in a near vacuum, most likely both. Though like people said, you’ll die before your skin is ripped open.

Am I wrong in thinking that something like bends would occur?

I believe it says in that very article, last time I read (I may be mistaken), that the saliva in your mouth would boil, but that your skin makes a great barrier so that as long as you didn’t have any open wounds your blood and such would not boil.

promoted by Cabs21

The article you posted said your blood will not boil and you will not explode. You die because of oxygen deprivation. As the question notes, you’d have an oxygen tank. So you most likely would not die and your blood definitely would not boil. The cave provides UV protection, so I’d imagine your only major problems would be hypothermia. Or possibly hitting your head due to low gravity.

promoted by Cabs21

Yes so long as the low pressure does not make you poop your pants or the liquid on your eyes boil you are right you would not die. However if you changed pressure at all you would likely die due to the bends. I was wrong when I said your blood would boil since its on the inside of your body. It would not be very comfortable at that low a pressure. If you did have a fresh cut it would not end well that’s for sure.

look at cabs21’s article: [imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov]

New York isn’t -4 F for 1/4 of the year – it’s MAYBE -4 C for a couple months.

promoted by Cabs21

Yeah it sounds like you can survive but your eyes would need to be covered and at the correct pressure or they would dry out and you could go blind. Also I have a feeling that a fart or poop could cause an uncontrolled evacuating of the bowels and possibly some internal organs.

I went to college in Hoboken and I remember the weather being around 10F or lower for about a month. It gets really cold near the ocean.

Sure – but 10F for a month is still different than -4F for 3 months.

promoted by Cabs21

oh yeah i know. Just saying it gets pretty close to that temp in that area.

The lack of pressure would cause the nitrogen gasses in your blood and cells to boil; you’d have the worst case of decompression sickness ever and quickly die a painful death. I read they were trying to make super-tight fitting constricting space suits which would possibly help with this situation, and of course also wouldn’t require so much thermal regulation as today’s suits do, but you’d still need a helmet as no part of your body could be exposed to the vacuum and not be a problem to you.

@Purple Umpteenth – Zombie Dolpharktopus – Watch Farscape or FAIL: I am pretty sure that they are going to probably seal the cave and fill it with air… and probably a “space” heater.. hahahaha

Edited by SGTalon at 03/01/11 12:51 PM

This is very promising then, since the necessary gear and procedures to keep you alive sub-surface would be significantly less.

Bingo. Blood won’t boil, eyes won’t explode. Solids and liquids are pretty stable in the volume they occupy. What will happen is that the gases dissolved inside of your body will attempt to separate. You’d experience debilitating stomach cramps (and the normal thing that happens when you have gas in your intestines), and your blood gases would form bubbles, causing the bends. NASA is currently working on a pressure suit that would use something sort of like a skin tight stiff plastic all over the body instead of air to keep a constant external pressure and allow the body to function correctly. I saw a segment on TV… NOVA I think, where they demonstrated the design. It would be much smaller, less bulky, and provide a greater range of movement than our current spacesuits. They wouldn’t handle temperature/radiation shielding, but in this type of cavern that’s not really an issue.

Aside from all the other posts, remember that since you’re in a vacuum, there is no hot or cold on your skin since air holds the thermal mass you’re used to feeling on earth. The only thing that would feel -4 degrees would be the ground you’re standing on, however your exposed skin would feel cold because moisture would be rapidly leaving your body due to evaporation to the vacuum.

Human skin is a pretty good barrier, but even with air to breathe, eventually you would become a freeze dried dead space mummy without a protective barrier between your body and the vacuum.

The last thought is that breathing would be very difficult, even if you had some sort of mask that supplied air/oxygen. Since the gas you would be breathing needs to be under some sort of pressure for your body to use, (say, 7-8 psi minimum) that would quickly fill your body and then your muscles and tissue would have to essentially contain that pressure as a balloon inside your lungs. That’s quite a bit of force and you probably wouldn’t be able to actually use that gas.

Your best bet is unfortunately to wear some sort of pressure suit that is shaped like a person, to give you a comfortable little human-shaped bubble of air to bounce around inside of, ie: space suit.

promoted by Cabs21

I forgot about the whole moisture on the outside of the body has to come from within the body so like you said freeze dried dead space mummy. The only way to be able to breath easily in a vacuum like this without a pressure suit would be to have a tank of air at 1 atm or roughly 14 psi but that means you would need a huge tank to supply enough air or a highly pressurized tank connected to a small bubble that would be at 14 psi so that your lungs would not explode or collapse if you change pressure.

It looks like a fist

not true. Upstate, it gets very very cold. -11F or lower at times. But only in January/February.

-4 degree Farenheit? No way anywhere in the US gets that cold, especially not at sea level. You mean celcius.

You haven’t lived in New York in February, have you?

For the United States, the extremes are 134 °F (56.7 °C) in Death Valley, California and −79.8 °F (−62.1 °C) recorded in Prospect Creek, Alaska. :)[en.wikipedia.org]

There is some other places too in the first paragraph.

Also see:

Plenty there below -4

Edited by Visioned at 03/01/11 9:39 PM

Though if not it could be used as a way of locomotion. A kind of rocket engine, if you will. Think about the possibilities man… Lactose intolerant people would be like superheroes over there.

Only 3 known modes of heat transfer, conduction, convection and radiation. Assume you have shoes on, feet will be ok at -4F standing on ground.
No convection, so only radiation transfer. On a clear night, you are at radiation transfer with deep space at 0 kelvin. Is not that cold. Multilayer jacket should take care of that. Takes time for heat to transfer out of body. Therefore, temperature issues should be ok.Breathing:
20% O2 on earth. In space, you need 20% X 14psi or 2.8 psi partial pressure of O2. 2.8psi of pure O2 would be quite comfortable. Can your lungs hold 2.8psi? That is like breathing under 7 feet of water. Lung embolism does not happen until 15 ft of water (7psi), so lung can probably take 2.8psi.

Decompression Sickness:
In water, decompression sickness starts at 20ft. 33 ft is 1 atm or 14.7psi. Therefore, going from 1 atm to 0 atm is probably ok given that blood will not be at 0 atm. Body will keep blood at some pressure above 0. Should be no issue.

Boiling blood:
Long as blood is inside body, is not exposed to vacuum. No boiling.

Water will boil off skin and mouth. You get cold. Never will turn to ice base on phase diagram of water. No freezing. Will need to drink lots of water to replace.

Quick Conclusion:
Humans should do fine in space if breathing 2.8 psi of pure O2, wear multilayer jacket and heavy shoes on.

You could probably hold some pressure in your stomach. Would not be vacuum.

That’s ridiculous… at sea level in the contiguous US? I don’t believe that any of those temperatures weren’t measured in the mountains.

I only searched cause i do live in the mountains and it gets mighty cold in the winters. I figured Alaska had to be -4 but imagined that your intent wasnt Alaska or Hawaii.

From that 2006 USA Today Article:

State Temp. Date Station Elevation
( F) (feet)

Delaware -17 Jan. 17, 1893 Millsboro 20

Delaware doesnt get any higher than 450 feet :)

*I tried to correct the spacing but the extra spaces are removed after i click submit.

Edited by Visioned at 03/04/11 9:59 PM

I have lived in New York my whole life and -4 F for three months is not accurate. The only places I would give a maybe to is if you lived in any of the mountain ranges or along the great lakes but for that long is pushing it. Here in the Hudson valley the temperature probably went below zero for two weeks total (either during the night or day).

Everyone here gets what your saying about but your estimation is off.



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