• Mon. Jun 27th, 2022

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Double-shadowed moon craters may be coldest place in the solar system

The moon has deep craters that sit at such an angle that even reflected sunlight doesn’t touch some areas, making them prime locations for water ice to collect

Space 14 March 2022

Artist Jorge Ma?es Rubio, part of ESA?s future-oriented Advanced Concepts Team (ACT), has designed a place of contemplation to serve a future lunar settlement. It would be built on the sunlit rim of 21-km diameter Shackleton Crater, which is bathed much of the time in sunlight while overlooking a 4.2 km-deep interior mired in perpetual shadow.

Shackleton crater sits at the moon’s south pole

Jorge Mañes Rubio. Spatial design & visualisation in collaboration with DITISHOE

Some of the moon’s craters may contain “double-shadowed” regions that are so dark they would be among the coldest places in the solar system.

The small tilt of the moon – just 1.5 degrees – as it orbits with Earth around the sun means that it has hundreds of craters where direct sunlight never reaches. We know that inside these craters, located near the moon’s poles, temperatures can drop below -170°C, making them prime locations for water ice to collect and optimum …