Scientists have discovered a mountain on the moon where the sun never sets, which might become the site of a U.S. moonbase.
The "peak of eternal light," as it is called, is on the rim of Peary, a 50-mile-wide crater at the lunar north pole.
The peak, announced by scientists from Johns Hopkins University at a meeting of astronomers in Houston, was discovered by analyzing images take of the moon's poles by the Clementine spacecraft in 1994.
Because the moon's axis of rotation is tilted by about 1.5 degrees, it experiences small but detectable seasons at its poles. Earth's tilt, by contrast, is 23.5 degrees.
Although the low tilt angle means there are crater floors and walls at the poles that never see the sun at all, at least one mountain always protrudes into the sunlight.
Finding the permanently illuminated peak means the lunar north pole might be a good place to build Earth's first moonbase, the scientists said. The location probably has daily temperature changes of only about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making lunar base operations easier than at the lunar equator where temperature changes are as much as 450 degrees daily.
All rights reserved. Copyright 2004 by United Press International. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by United Press International. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of by United Press International.
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express