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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Arizona Scientists Counsel Turning Moon Into Earth’s Lunar Repository

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Pure underground caverns on the moon may very well be used to retailer frozen samples of Earth’s species with the intention to shield biodiversity within the occasion of world disaster, based on a College of Arizona scientist and his college students.

Jekan Thanga, a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and 5 of his college students offered a paper earlier this month on the idea throughout the worldwide IEEE Aerospace Convention, which was held nearly this 12 months, the Arizona Day by day Star reported.

Thanga mentioned the underground organic repository would function a backup copy of frozen seeds, spores, sperm and egg samples from most Earth species. The specimens could be saved secure contained in the caves carved by molten lava a whole bunch of ft beneath the floor of the moon.

The caves, some massive sufficient to carry a 30-story constructing, may be reached by rocket from Earth in 4 to 5 days and supply an atmosphere basically undisturbed for the previous 3 to 4 billion years, scientists mentioned.

College doctoral candidate Álvaro Díaz-Flores Caminero and undergraduate scholar Claire Pedersen had been the lead authors of the paper. They mentioned the thought got here from the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, however as a substitute of two of each animal the lunar ark would retailer 50 samples from every of the chosen species in a high-tech archive manned by robots and powered with photo voltaic panels. The group has been researching concepts amid international disaster for at the very least seven years.

“There’s nothing like that on planet Earth. There’s nothing as safe,” Thanga mentioned, including that it serves as “an insurance coverage coverage” within the occasion of world disaster.

Thanga estimates that it may take as little as 5 years and 15 area launches to create the repository.

Thanga additionally mentioned it will be just like that of the Svalbard Seed Financial institution, an current repository in Norway that holds a whole bunch of hundreds of plant samples. As an alternative, the one on the moon would maintain as many as 1 million totally different seed packets.

The group hopes to ship 6.7 million species to the moon, representing as much as 90% of all recognized vegetation and animals, minus these that can’t be cryogenically preserved, he mentioned. It’s unclear what’s going to occur to the samples as soon as on the moon.

“We wish to put it aside for a time when we now have the expertise to (re)deploy it,” he mentioned. “As a result of as soon as it’s misplaced it’s misplaced ceaselessly. There’s no manner of getting it again.”

Thus far, work on the thought has been funded by way of a grant by NASA. The group has introduced plans to launch extra particulars as they conduct extra analysis, together with how the samples would possibly react to long-term storage in microgravity.

Díaz-Flores Caminero, a doctoral scholar who co-wrote the primary paper on the idea, welcomes the problem. “Multidisciplinary tasks are laborious as a result of their complexity. However I believe the identical complexity is what makes them stunning,” he mentioned.

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