NASA: Lunar pits could one day shelter astronauts.
While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.
The pits range in size from about 5 meters (~5 yards) across to more than 900 meters (~984 yards) in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).
"Pits would be useful in a support role for human activity on the lunar surface," said Robert Wagner of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. "A habitat placed in a pit — ideally several dozen meters back under an overhang — would provide a very safe location for astronauts: no radiation, no micrometeorites, possibly very little dust, and no wild day-night temperature swings."
Biwei Pan | http://behance.net/8g1b
"It’s a simple system created to help people make a sofa or a dormette from their own latex mattress. Photoed by Biwei Pan. Modeled by Hugo Dabin."
Graduated from China academy of art, Biwei has been studying and living in France for 3 years. Biwei is interested in reading and swimming and his motto is “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water”.
The goats are found in Morocco and they climb these argan trees each spring and summer to eat the leaves. How does a goat climb a tree? Well, like you or I would –via the low-hanging limbs. And evidently they have enough balance to tight-rope walk branches out to the tasty leaves and nuts. When a goat loses its balance – and it will – it falls out of the tree like a 100-pound acorn and lands with a thud. No biggie.
But here’s where things get weirder than a bunch of tree-climbing goats: The goats eat the nuts from the trees, but the farmers in the area want to harvest those nuts for oil. If the goats get to a tree before they do, the farmers collect the nuts the goats drop and they also pick through the goat’s manure to find the kernels of the nuts, from which they then extract oil. The oil is used for food. It’s so precious that people carry vials of it around their necks to pour into their couscous, according to The Dallas Morning News.
And now here’s where things get even more surprising than eating oil from nuts digested by tree-climbing goats: That oil is not only tasty, it also has anti-aging qualities. So, people don’t just want to eat it, they want to slather it on their faces to prevent wrinkles. In 2005, Prince Albert of Monaco, UNESCO, several chefs and “an army of grandes dames excited by the oil’s reputed anti-aging qualities” formed an alliance to create a global market for the oil, according to NYT. Why? Well naturally it has to do with the tree-climbing goats.
Apparently the goats were overgrazing the argan tree, and the tree was slowly going extinct. To protect the tree and its precious oil (which is so vital to the people who live in the area), the alliance hoped to make the oil popular to the greater culinary and cosmetic world. That would push the locals to protect the tree and come up with ways to harvest its nuts for a larger market. As part of this initiative, the alliance made some trees off limits to goats from May to August. That’s what I said – no tree-climbing goats from May to August.
Much to the argan trees’ dismay, the goats still climb them, though. And if you’re visiting Morocco and you’re like the Dallas Morning News writer, a guide will drive you out to see the goats in the trees, if you so desire. If I ever go to Morocco, I know I’ll want to see those goats.
Now that’s on my bucket list!! :)