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Gravity modeling of lunar lava tubes: Insights from Ape Cave as a terrestrial analogue

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
Exploration of the Moon for long-term habitation faces challenges related to surface risks. Recent discoveries suggest intact lunar lava tubes that could serve as shelters for future settlements. This study considered Ape Cave in Washington, USA, as a terrestrial analog, and used high-resolution 3D models and clustering techniques to examine its morphometry. Results revealed significant geometric variability within the cave, correlating cross-section shape with location. Gravimetry, a promising method for lava tube identification, successfully detected Ape Cave's gravity anomaly using measurements from five gravity transects. The synthetic gravity model created for this lava cave showed good correspondence with the data measured in the field. Furthermore, the analysis from the lunar models suggested a minimum instrumental resolution of 25 μGal to detect a lunar lava tube comparable in size to Ape Cave and 100 μGal for larger ones. These findings underscore the importance of terrestrial analog studies in advancing lunar exploration techniques.
157 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Williams-Jones, Glyn
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