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The Forefront of Space Science

Skylight of Underground Lava Tube on the Moon
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Exploration of lunar lava tubes, and further,
Exploration of Martian lava tubes

The vertical hole and the lava tube, which is thought to exist and extend under the hole, is an important target for future lunar exploration. The first step is to observe in detail the area around the hole, the walls and bottom. Based on these results, a further mission to enter the hole is expected.

After the lunar mission, it is also important to explore the Martian lava tubes. Lava tubes on Mars are the most suitable site for underground water flow. The flow volume must vary according to the season, sometimes small, sometimes large. As the process repeats, some substances may be deposited in pockets on the lava tube walls. If the substances include carbon and nitrogen, the creation and evolution of organic matter might be possible. As mentioned above, the temperature is maintained at a certain level in the underground tubes and, further, the tubes block the ultraviolet and cosmic ray radiation that destroys organic matter. In conclusion, the tubes are suitable for the evolution of organic matter. If not life itself, then some kind of fossil of life's precursors may be left there. We may discover a clue to elucidate a missing link between organic matter and life that had been lost on earth. It would be fascinating to explore what occurred in the tubes, and what is left there. I strongly hope that we can explore the lava tubes on Mars. As a preparatory step, the exploration of the lunar vertical hole is very significant.

Lunar lava tube and construction of lunar base

It is often said that this discovery could lead to the construction of a lunar base. But first, what is the purpose of a lunar base? My idea is that the base should store and analyze samples of extraterrestrial matter. In this century, we should gain many extraterrestrial samples. One of the most important objectives of sample analysis is to find extraterrestrial life or signs of life. However, one concern is that such samples (which may be related to life on earth) may "pollute" the earth. On the other hand, scientists are concerned that when the samples are brought to earth, the earth's atmosphere, water, and life could "pollute" the samples. It would be better if we were able to analyze the samples before returning to earth. In this sense, the lunar base is very effective. We can drop extraterrestrial samples on the Moon and collect them to store and analyze at the lunar base. Aside from the economic benefit, the knowledge that could be obtained from extraterrestrial samples is unlimited. It would be great if the lunar base were built to preserve and analyze such samples. I will be happy if our present discovery contributes to cost savings in lunar-base construction and to keeping the base safe.

Conclusion Remark

Over 40 years have passed since man first landed on the Moon. As a child, I thought that many people would go to the Moon when I grew up. Looking at a giant space colony in the cartoon "Mobile Suit Gundam," I imagined that a new space for life would be built by mankind outside the earth and new wisdom and science would expand mankind's potential. Now, indeed, the space station has just been constructed. I hope that our discovery this time would be one impetus to make a giant leap toward a new space age.


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