Human beings could live on the moon in bases built in huge natural tunnels below the surface, scientists have claimed.
The tunnels – known as lava tubes – were created by ancient volcanic eruptions.
They are so big that the openings to the tunnels can be seen from Earth.
Such openings formed by the flow of lava under the ground can also be found on Earth.
Last year, a man in Hawaii died after falling down a lava tube entrance at the end of his garden.
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The theory was posted online by one netizen who claimed they would be the simplest way to travel around the moon.
Writing on the site Disclose.tv, user Truthhunter said: "Greetings folks. I just wanted to make a quick post about an interesting idea that never really crossed my mind.
"There are a lot of people that are obsessed with moon photos. Some spend a lifetime trying to find an alien base on the surface of the moon.
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"Honestly, if I was an alien race I would hide my base underground and the easiest way would be to use lava tubes.
"It would be especially easy due to the sheer size of the tubes on the moon."
Sharing a video, they added: "Around the one minute mark you can see just how huge these lava tubes can be on the moon.
"The lady in the video even says they can tell that there are surface openings due to the shadowing."
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Last year, NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green said that "pits" on the moon are likely to be lava tube skylights.
He explained that lava tubes could be a game-changer in getting humans back to the moon and staying there for the longterm.
The tubes provide protection and shelter from the harsh lunar environment, where one day lasts about 29 Earth days.
This means the surface endures about two solid weeks of daylight followed by two weeks of darkness.
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The skylights could also provide other surprises to lunar explorers, Jim said.
"Maybe there's a lot of water in these skylights?" he added.
"We don't know. We're finding them all over the moon."
According to Anahita Modiriasari, a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University, lava tubes on Earth could provide the inspiration we need to create bases on the moon.
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She visited Lava Beds National Monument in California to explore the lava tubes there ahead of more research on the moon.
"This is an ideal testbed because it has similar basaltic rock, and it formed in a similar way to those on the moon," she said.
"These lava tubes also have skylights, which is an important factor we're investigating."
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The work is part of Purdue's Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats (RETH) group looking at how future human habitats on the moon or Mars can be made to withstand the many challenges of space.
These include radiation, temperature fluctuations, seismic activity, and meteorite impacts.
"All of this collected data is vital," Anahita added.
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"We are using it to build an advanced model of the size, strength and structural stability of the lava tube.
"What happens during seismic activity? What would happen if a meteorite strikes?
"This helps us assess whether similar lava tubes on the moon or Mars would be capable of hosting a permanent human habitat."
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