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Guest: Dr. Anahita Modiriasari; Lunar and to a lesser degree Martian lava tubes. We discussed lava tube characteristics, qualities, sizes, uses, and more.
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We welcomed Dr. Anahita Modiriasari to the show for this one segment 65 minute lava tube discussion. We started our discussion with our guest introducing us to lava tubes and telling us precisely what they are and where they are found. In the process of doing this, she talked about her academic background and the Purdue University connection to her work with funding and the Resilient ExtraTerrestria Habitats Group (RETH). RETH was mentioned throughout our discussion. In this lava tube introduction, our guest talked about the origin of lunar lava tubes and the skylights or openings in them. She also talked about lava tubes on Earth and Mars but for Mars our guest said that not that much was known about them.
Dr. Modiriasari talked about the basaltic material, the probable texture and living in a lava tube on the Moon. At one point she was asked to compare living in a lava tube to living in a lunar habitat on the surface. She cited numerous advantages to the lava tube including radiation production, constant temperature, the lack of lunar dust and more. I asked our guest to give us an idea of size and used a jumbo jet fuselage as a possible point of comparison. Anahita then provided us with size information for a lunar and Martian lava tube. See what you think of these sizes which are to say the least, huge. Later, I asked her how far under the surface the lunar lava tubes were located. You might be surprised by what our guest said in answer to this question. Going back to deciding to live in a lunar lava tube or a habitat on the surface, note that our guest said that there were still issues of certainty regarding the lava tubes for shelter. If certainty issues can be resolved, she suggested that the lava tube would be the first option for living on the Moon.
Our guest visited terrestrial lava tubes as part of her research. She actually visited the lava tubes in the Lava Beds National Monument in northern California near the Oregon border. In addition, she listed other lava tubes located in Hawaii, Arizona and New Mexico.. We next took a call from Marshall who brought up issues of porosity and permeability of the lava tubes here on Earth and on the Moon. Our guest and Marshall had an interesting conversation on this subject so don't miss it. Especially the part where porosity and permeability for the lunar lava tube were probably influenced by lunar gravity and pressures. Before Marshall got off the line, I asked if there were any known lava tubes in Oklahoma.
Anahita next told us about the four sources we have for our lunar lava tube information given that she has said we know quite a bit about the lunar lava tubes. Listen to what she said about the sources for information. Share your thoughts with us on these points by posting on our blog. Other questions that came up focused on water in the lava tubes. Our guest talked about this plus the thought that liquid water was present but ice was not there. Seismic activity and the impact on lava tubes was brought up regarding the Moon. Our guest had much to say about the dynamic seismic influences on the lava tubes. Despite what she said, she did make the point that the lava tubes had survived on the Moon for billions of years.
Jean called from Pasadena with several questions but the first one deal with her research funding. He wanted to know if NASA was doing any of the lava tube funding and research. She said they were now in a five year program but initially the funding came from internal Purdue University sources. In addition, it was pointed out that we were not yet that far along in being able to use lava tubes on the Moon for living. Before hanging up, he asked questions about our lava tube models for research and the lunar gravity. Cracks in lava tube walls came up as did crystals and thermal spaces. He inquired about doing a lunar survey to see if lava tubes could be located without a skylight so we could drill into them. Listen to what our guest said in response to this line of questioning. It might surprise you.
Anahita summarized her discussion points and offered us specific concluding comments. Don't miss them. Please post your comments/questions on the blog for this program. You can reach or guest through me as she is no longer at Purdue University.