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Will Astronauts Follow in the Footsteps of Caveman Ancestors?

6 Oct 2020, 22:11 UTC
Will Astronauts Follow in the Footsteps of Caveman Ancestors?
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Le Moustier Neanderthals (Charles R. Knight, 1920)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

As their name implies, cavemen and their families lived in caves to protect themselves from the dangers of weather, wild animals and alien monoliths that might suddenly appear on the savannah.

As humanity prepares to take its next evolutionary step — the permanent settlement of the moon and Mars — it looks like it will be heading back to the caves. Or, more accurately, lava tubes that will protect astronauts from dangers of radiation and solar storms.

Ah oui. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose….

Holes called skylights that could be openings to lava tubes have been spotted on the moon and Mars. ESA has selected five proposals from European and Canadian organizations focused on how to explore lunar openings to see if they are suitable for future human habitation.

Below are ESA’s summaries of and links to the five selected proposals. You can also read a longer story abut ESA’s plans here.

Skylight: A Tethered Micro-rover for Safe Semi-autonomous Exploration of Lava Tubes

Credit: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) Kaiserslautern, Germany

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