University of Oulu

Giovanni Leone, Caitlin Ahrens, Jarmo Korteniemi, Daniele Gasparri, Akos Kereszturi, Alexey Martynov, Gene Walter Schmidt, Giuseppe Calabrese, Jari Joutsenvaara, Sverdrup-Henson crater: A candidate location for the first lunar South Pole settlement, iScience, Volume 26, Issue 10, 2023, 107853, ISSN 2589-0042,

Sverdrup-Henson crater : a candidate location for the first lunar South Pole settlement

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Author: Leone, Giovanni1; Ahrens, Caitlin2; Korteniemi, Jarmo3;
Organizations: 1Instituto de Investigación en Astronomía y Ciencias Planetarias, Universidad de Atacama, Copiapó 153000, Chile
2NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, Greenbelt, MD, USA
3Arctic Planetary Science Institute (APSI), Rovaniemi, Finland
4Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Konkoly Thege Miklos Astronomical Institute, Budapest, Hungary
5Maana Electric, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
6Department of Science, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy
7International Research School of Planetary Sciences (IRSPS), Universitá“D’Annunzio”di Chieti e Pescara, Chieti, Pescara, Italy
8Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
9Underground Science, Research & Development Centre Callio Lab, Pyhäjärvi, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-13


Robotic and manned exploration of the Moon is the next target in Solar System exploration. The availability of in situ resources such as water ice, iron oxides, helium-3, and rare earth elements, combined with permanently sunlit areas, provides the opportunity for the first settlement, either human or robotic, on the Moon. We used several selection criteria (abundance of water ice, the slope of terrain, usable energy sources, communications, and base expandability) to identify a suitable area for a future base in the southern polar crater Sverdrup-Henson. Due to the higher abundance of water ice, we found that the Sverdrup-Henson site is better suited to host a base than the nearby craters de Gerlache and Shackleton. The crater floor is partly in permanent shadow and exhibits numerous signatures of water ice. Since water ice is essential for rocket fuel production and human survival, its presence is necessary for a first settlement. Sverdrup-Henson has a flat floor ideal for building and safe traversing, is accessible from the surrounding intercrater plains, and has nearby locations suitable for communications and solar power production. Thus, the Sverdrup-Henson site holds great potential for future missions. We propose further exploration of this area through in situ measurements to better constrain available resources.

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Series: iScience
ISSN: 2589-0042
ISSN-E: 2589-0042
ISSN-L: 2589-0042
Volume: 26
Issue: 10
Article number: 107853
DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107853
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 119 Other natural sciences
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY license (