Goldilocks zone

At Live Science: Scientists discover 200 ‘Goldilocks’ zones on the moon where astronauts could survive

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Scientists discover pits on the moon that are room temperature in the shade.

Lunar scientists think they’ve found the hottest places on the Moon, as well as some 200 Goldilocks zones that are always near the average temperature in San Francisco. 

The moon's Tranquillitatis pit
The moon’s Tranquillitatis pit (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)



The moon has wild temperature fluctuations, with parts of the moon heating up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (127 degrees Celsius) during the day and dropping to minus 280 F (minus 173 C) at night. But the newly analyzed 200 shaded lunar pits are always always 63 F (17 C), meaning they’re perfect for humans to shelter from the extreme temperatures. They could also shield astronauts from the dangers of the solar wind, micrometeorites and cosmic rays. Some of those pits may lead to similarly warm caves. 

These partially-shaded pits and dark caves could be ideal for a lunar base, scientists say. 

Of the 200 pits discovered, two to three have overhangs that lead to a cave, while 16 appear to be “‘skylights”‘ to collapsed lava tubes. On Earth, lava tubes are hollow caves found close to the surface in volcanic regions — most notably Kazumura Cave in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and La Cueva del Viento on Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

“As the lava flowed, the top of it solidified while the lava continued to flow beneath it, in some places the lava actually evacuates completely and leaves a lava tube,” Horvath said. If a lava tube collapses, a pit is created that acts as a “skylight” to a long cavity.

That same process happened billions of years ago when massive volcanic events on the moon created the famously dark lava fields on the lunar surface called “maria,” which is Latin for seas.

“These pits likely formed due to small impacts punching a hole into the lava tube’s ceiling or seismic activity weakening the ceiling,” Horvath said.

In the new study, researchers analyzed the temperatures within a cylindrical pit about 328 feet (100 meters) deep in the Mare Tranquillitatis — the Sea of Tranquility — near the moon’s equator. The team’s findings revealed that while the pit’s floor is illuminated at lunar noon, it’s probably the hottest place on the entire surface of our natural satellite, at around 300 F (149 C); meanwhile, temperatures within the permanently shadowed reaches of the pit fluctuate only slightly from Earthlike hoodie temperatures. 

The pit is relatively close to where two of NASA’s Apollo missions landed. “The Tranquillitatis pit is actually the same distance from the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 landing sites, about 375 kilometers [233 miles] away,” Horvath said. “If we end up going there it would be incredible to see the bookends of the Apollo program and how well it’s been preserved.”

Complete article at Live Science.

Note: The article’s claim that these lukewarm lunar pits represent Goldilocks zones is weakening this term for planetary habitability to a single, narrow criterion – temperature. Certainly, many more parameters need to be aligned within finely-tuned ranges in order to classify the zone as habitable.

9 Replies to “At Live Science: Scientists discover 200 ‘Goldilocks’ zones on the moon where astronauts could survive

  1. 1
    chuckdarwin says:

    Uh oh…..chinks in the “fine tuning” argument. “Habitable” is a relative term. Much of Mother Earth is unhabitable by humans without extensive modification and management of our living environment and our tool-making behavior. For example, I wouldn’t want to be caught out in the middle of the American prairie on a January night without my long johns and a Zippo lighter. Also. I wonder what the Intelligent Designer had in mind when he/she/it designed these cozy pits on the moon?

  2. 2
    Caspian says:

    Nothing has changed in the remarkability of the multiple layers of fine-tuning that make the earth habitable for over a million species of life over most of its history. Calling the “cozy pits” on the moon a Goldilocks zone (perhaps insinuating that the earth isn’t so special after all), is to utterly devalue the meaning of the term.

  3. 3
    AaronS1978 says:

    @CD You must be running out of material. It seems like you had to stretch for your fine-tuning jab.

    It shows a lack of understanding of what the fine-tune argument is about

    But you do you ChuckDumb@$$

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, would you dismiss the design of your house because say the foundations or the roof or the sewage system are not human habitable? Despite your strawman tactics, the earth is human habitable and this is tied to cosmological fine tuning and to privileged planet circumstances. KF

    PS, I cannot but note an emerging strawman habit. You tried to dismiss a link to an outline of the Plantinga free will defence as it begins with a testimony on the experiential form. I took time to clip and post the outline. You ducked out. Here is what you needed to answer https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/apparently-scientists-are-the-only-ones-exempt-from-the-fact-that-we-evolved-to-have-biases/#comment-761772

  5. 5
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF
    I didn’t “duck out” on all of your herculean efforts to cut and paste duplicative material on Plantinga. We have been over this at least three or four times. In fact, I was the one that brought Mackie to your attention, and then, of course, in typical response, you quote it back to me completely out of context. Mackie couldn’t be clearer: “In short, all forms of the free will defence fail and since this defence alone had any chance of success there is no plausible theodicy on offer.” (The Miracle of Theism, p. 176, emphasis added) I’m going to say it one last time–Plantinga’s free will defense is a dodge that boils down to “it is possible that God has his reasons for allowing evil and you can’t prove otherwise.” That isn’t philosophy, that is playground one-upmanship. And, no, I’m not going to go back and re-litigate the definition of “theodicy” just because Plantinga claims his FWD is something different. As the bard said, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet….”

    I’m getting sick of beating dead horses on this blog and getting childish responses from commenters like (3) AaronS1978 who have nothing of substance to contribute. I’ve been called every name in the book on this blog. Various commenters label me and others as trolls, but the real trolling is the day in, day out smug arrogance that pervades the ID world without advancing the conversation an iota. The only response I get from you and your compatriots is the same old “strawman” nonsense or some type of irrelevant pablum. We are not talking about the design of my house. We are talking about the origin of the universe and life. The issue isn’t whether the earth per se is habitable, it is whether exoplanets or other astronomical bodies are ready to give up evidence of habitability. It appears that time is upon us. Now there is a bit of evidence that points to “yes.” Is it conclusive? No. Is it a beginning? Yes. It is all but inevitable. And you can’t get much closer than the Moon.

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    @CD good leave

    Hilarious, your tag name on an intelligent design blog is ChuckDarwin, and you then complain about being called every name in the book. Our introduction to you via your name was a troll directed at us on the site. But I’m sure you’re mature @$$ thought it was super duper clever when you made it.

    Most of your interactions with us is you showing up, making one snide comment mocking us and the op, then taking off.

    So please, complain about being called every name in the book, it delights me. Because you’re the same trollish little atheist that shows to places like Catholic Answers and opens up with statements like “I’m a man of empirical evidence and science and I’m sorry that the lot of you are naïve to reality and have to live in your disillusioned little worlds”

    I can dig up plenty of your commentary showing very similar examples of the above, I mean shoot your mocking FT in the first post on this OP which, holy crap Batman, is a view point held by most people of this site

    There was nothing substantial about your sarcastic remarks, nothing.

    So if people respond do you in kind because you said something sarcastic, mocking their beliefs then you deserve what you get.

    I’m sure you can’t help it because you don’t believe in free will but you did pick the name ChuckDarwin on an intelligent design website, I mean I can’t stop emphasizing that you painted yourself a troll at the very start.

    And if you want a different response try not mocking the OP and people on the site first with your commentary.

  7. 7
    AaronS1978 says:

    “AaronS1978 who have nothing of substance to contribute”

    Btw nice recycle troll, It’s good to see that I’m having a little bit of an impact on you. I accused you of this plenty of times, it’s my main gripe about you, so it’s nice to see you try to throw it back in my face.

    It’s just kind of too bad you proved my criticisms of you right with your first remark on this op

  8. 8
    AaronS1978 says:

    My god look at all of this substance just oozing from ChuckDip$h1t’s commentary

    He’s such a valued commentator

    12
    Chuckdarwin
    July 28, 2022 at 11:52 am
    Seversky/7?Someone needs to let God know that online gambling is illegal in most states……

    16
    Chuckdarwin
    July 28, 2022 at 3:34 pm
    Sev?“You raise a legitimate question.” I thought it was a rhetorical question. Silly me….

    6
    Chuckdarwin
    July 27, 2022 at 6:47 am
    The level of information found within a seed can only come from a mind so far above our own that to ascribe it to God is not a statement of religion, but of logic.
    It seems that every time I open this blog, there is one more piece of evidence that ID is inexorably evolving into a full- fledged religion…..

    26
    Chuckdarwin
    July 27, 2022 at 10:34 am
    Pater Kimbridge/12?There is a lot of approach-avoidance happening in the ID world. Maybe even enough for a good social psych dissertation. But it’s never been a big secret, that the Christian God would win the day. The game was rigged from the start. Presently we see what I call God of the Gaps 2.0–updated to exploit the latest mysteries in science while trying to keep the pews from emptying out completely. You can have your science and eat it too………..(wow this comment ALMOST had some worth but missed it by that much)

    34
    Chuckdarwin
    July 25, 2022 at 6:48 am
    KF/22
    Sev, why do you continue to try to taint the design inference as religion not science….
    Perhaps because the “design inference” is religion…..

    2
    Chuckdarwin
    July 23, 2022 at 7:10 am
    So, already, we can see why it is quite reasonable to speak of “evolutionary materialistic scientism,” as that explicitly summarises a relevant, even dominant, form of naturalism commonly seen on the ground, especially in scientific and policy contexts.
    You forgot “atheistic Marxist evolutionary materialistic scientism”…… You could even set it up as an acronym: “AMEMS” Then you could use it like “hey moms, get your kids inside, there is a creepy, nasty AMEMS lurking in the neighborhood….”

    5
    Chuckdarwin
    July 23, 2022 at 7:59 am
    How could I forget “nihilistic?” Good catch…

    It took me about five minutes to dig these up and all I had to do was scroll to each of the CURRENT OPs and look what your first comments were

    So don’t complain about people not being cordial with you, when these were your responses to the op or other commentators, not one of these is anything more than you being sarcastic and either mocking the op or commentator first troll.

  9. 9
    relatd says:

    CD at 5,

    People called me names. There is zero evidence of life anywhere outside of earth. No doubt temperature mapping of the Moon occurred and they’re just announcing it now. A Moon Base goes back to 1960 in terms of planning.

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