Lava tube Skylight on Mars. For comparison, near Boeing 747
If you can not find alien life on the surface, then you have to admit its 100% absence or even go deeper. We do not yet have the ability to send human missions, but you can ask for help from the drone!
Inside the lava tubes
The Most Famous Moon Lava Tubes
On Earth, you can find a huge number of locations with lava tubes. These are cavities left after lava flows. Remind long corridors with different diameters. They are formed when the surface lava layer contacts with air and cools down, transforming into a solid structure.
On our planet, lava tubes are capable of covering 14–15 m in width, so excursion or research groups can freely move inside and make halts. They should be searched at a depth of 1–15 m, and they are capable of stretching tens of kilometers in length. For example, near the volcano Mauna Loa (Hawaii) there is a lava tube, which stretches towards the ocean for 50 km!
There are also whole systems of lava tubes, which include branches. For example, one of the systems in Australia has 20 tubes, where the largest in diameter is 2 m. However, this is not the highlight of the Earth, but a common feature that is found on many planets and satellites.
Where exactly? Well, take at least Mars and the Moon that interest us. In length, they stretch for hundreds of meters, and in thickness - 10 m. The largest and most durable are even considered as future residences of the colonists. This is really convenient, Vedic much easier to build in the finished cavity, than to create a colony from scratch. In addition, they are located below the surface, where people will be protected from collisions with meteorites, cosmic radiation and extreme temperatures.
“Martian caves and lava tubes”
Entrance to the Martian Cave
The MRO orbiter fixed a gap in a cave on the southeastern part of Mount Peacock, a large volcano of Farsis Province. A recess in width extends 180 m.
Mysterious Martian Clearance
A photo from the MRO shows a gap in the cave with a width of 35 m and a depth of 20 m. The caves often form in volcanic regions, when lava flows solidify from above, but continue to flow under hard crust.
Seven Martian Caves
In six shots from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, you can look at seven holes in the Martian surface on the northern slope of Arsia volcano located at 9 degrees south latitude and 239 degrees east longitude. The diameter of the recess covers 100-225 m.
Deep Martian Hole
This feature on the Red Planet is the entrance to the cave. It is located northeast of Mount Arsia, one of the four large Martian volcanoes in the Farsid region.
Microbes (or astronauts) can hide in Martian caves.
Large-scale hidden subsurface caves may exist on Mars. Researchers believe that such structures can serve as a haven for future colonists. They may also hide traces of ancient life.
Cave at the side of the volcano
The MRO orbiter photographed a hole located on the slopes of the giant Martian volcano, Mount Arsia. According to the parameters, the hole resembles a football field, and the depth is so large that it is not illuminated by the Sun. Destroyed lava tube on Mars
The MRO orbiter photographed a trough in the center of the valley on the territory of Tartarus Colles. Scientists believe that the structure was originally a holistic lava tube.
Collapsed Martian Lava Tube
In the photograph of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, you can see the lava flows near the top of the Mountain of Ascas. The intermittent channel that passes through the upper half of the frame is a folded lava tube.
Seventh-graders are watching the Martian Cave
California seventh graders found this formation on Mars while studying photos from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. A peculiarity on Mount Peacock is a gap in the subsurface lava tube.
Recently, NASA representatives thought: if people want to use lava tunnels as a place of residence, then why not use the aliens. That is, potential organisms can hide under the surface (even if they are not super advanced in intelligence) or traces of ancient alien civilizations are stored.
How to check it? Drones! They are compact, easy to manage and inexpensive to develop. Recently, the technology was able to test in Iceland, where they got a good result. The vehicles will not act blindly, since the LiDAR system (used in the Icelandic project), which scans pipes and ice formations below the surface, comes to the rescue. This allows you to create accurate maps in 3D. The same can be done on the Moon or Mars. And the task takes minutes. Of course, the project can not do without adaptation. If now drones use propellers, then you need to transfer them to powerful, but miniature engines. The main thing is that they yield to control at lower gravitational levels of Mars or the Moon. It is also important to add more autonomy so that they cope with critical situations while the signal is transported between worlds.
While the project is at the stage of ideas and discussion, but successful earth missions confirm great potential. Researchers believe that if the tubes are devoid of life or its fossils, then there may be water that can be used to develop rocket fuel when launched from other worlds.