‘Lava tube skylights’ on the moon call to caving astronauts – CNET

These may be lava tube skylights. NASA LRO LROC Future astronauts on the moon might need to hone their spelunking skills before they visit.  A new study from the SETI Institute and the Mars Institute looks at a series of pits seen by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). These pits might actually be lava tube skylights, which are entrances to underground tunnels that were once filled with lava. Those tunnels could be key to accessing usable water on the moon. The area of interest is the large Philolaus Crater near…

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NASA studying potential cooperation on Russian lunar science missions

COLUMBIA, Md. — NASA is in discussions about potential roles it could play on an upcoming series of Russian robotic lunar missions, including landers and sample return spacecraft. Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, told attendees of the annual meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) here Oct. 11 that he recently returned from a trip to Russia that included talks about cooperation on those future Russian lunar missions. “There’s been good reception by the Russian space agency to some of the concepts that we discussed relative…

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