While the moon is constantly being investigated despite a lack of human presence on the natural satellite, many things remain unknown. Precisely because of that lack of direct investigation, many things that could have easily been figured out are still a mystery. And the moon does indeed have its fair share of mysteries.
Since experts managed to finally confirm how the moon was formed just a couple of months back, it stands to reason that other elements pertaining to that that information are just now being investigated. One of these is a highly hypothetical theory according to which city-sized lava tunnels may hide under the moon’s surface.
Theia and the moon
Just a few months back, a long standing theory has been confirmed about the origin and formation of the moon. Theia, a small, young planet that was once part of our solar system, collided with Earth while it still was in its molten rock state, knocking off a chunk of it while Theia was almost completely obliterated. But gravity works wonders in space.
As the chunk of Earth flew off, it remained in Earth’s orbit and fused with the remaining bits of Theia that hadn’t yet been incorporated into the planet. As the chunks kept orbiting Earth, they came together, forming the moon as we know it today.
City sized tunnels
Since we know that the moon was made of molten rock at least in the beginning, it would stand to reason that this lava cooled from the surface inwards. This is where the theory comes in, claiming that this molten rock left huge tunnels, some the size of cities, underneath the moon’s surface.
While stable tunnels as big as four times the size of Philadelphia wouldn’t be physically possible on Earth, the moon’s reduced gravity actually makes them perfectly plausible. Even though everything is still only speculation, multiple hints would suggest that the theories might be right. And let’s be honest, even the scientists behind the study find the idea of developing an underground moon base very exciting.
NASA’ GRAIL data
According to the research team from Purdue University, the best evidence for their premise comes from the data collected via NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft. If such tunnels were real, a dip in the astral body’s gravity would be present above them. Some ten such anomalies were found during the spacecraft’s fly-over.
Even though the tunnels can’t be confirmed via a spacecraft, the dips in gravity are definitely a positive sign. Now, the research team is proposing to send LAROSS to the moon, a robot capable of digging through the surface and finding out whether the theories hold true. But that’s going to be a while.
Image source: Wikimedia