Usefulness of Terrestrial Lavatubes in a Lunar Analog Research Station Program

As promising as lunar lavatubes are for the future of lunar settlements, in the early days of the frontier, it is more likely that the main settlement complex will be on the surface, covered with a regolith blanket, and that a nearby lavatube will be used for area-hungry unpressurized applications such as warehousing and storage, tank farms, and even industrial parks. Sealing and pressurizing a cave is a daunting task that may not be attempted for some time.

NASA has ended all funding for Biological "Advanced Life Support"

According to Gary Mitchell, Director of the NSCORT (NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training) program at Purdue University, with team affiliates at Howard and Alabama A&M University, the program launched in 2002 with a 5 year, $10 million commitment from NASA, has now been shut down early because of pressures on the overall NASA budget.

Lunar Analog Outpost News 10/29/06

We have been brainstorming the future directions of the Moon Society's Moonbase Analog Program.

Thanks to our friends in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who are scouting the way for us, it is beginning to become ever clearer how we should proceed.

The Calgary Space Workers are now an affiliated organization of the Moon Society.

Candidate Analog Sites for a Lunar Research Station

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that money is not a problem. The Moon Society has decided to find a location for its own Analog Research Station in a more geologically and morphologically appropriate area. What locations might make a short list, if we were constrained by logistical practicalities to the area of the continental U.S., “the lower 48” states?

Our first search turns up four promising areas, all in the Western States, each offering extensive lava flow sheets and attendant lava tubes: