Moscow: New data about the Moon may help create lunar bases, a top Russian space official has said.

Foreign satellites have traced holes with the diameter of up to 65 meters and the depth of up to 100 meters on the lunar surface, which may be a sign of volcanic activity, head of the Cosmonaut Training Center, Sergei Krikalyov, said at the opening of the Space Forum 2011 on Tuesday.

"The data is new. If a large number of such caves is found, the technology of the future development of the Moon will change drastically," he said. "It will be necessary to open up the cave, and its walls and ceiling will be natural."

Residential and working quarters may be built in the caves, deputy head of the Cosmonaut Training Center Boris Kryuchkov said. "The caves will protect their dwellers from radiation. The constant temperatures of minus 30 or 40 degrees Celsius are also an important factor," he said.

Russian specialists think that the first inflatable modules may be installed without the participation of astronauts.

There is no particular project of lunar bases so far, Krikalyov said. "There is a need for additional research and new flights of automatic and manned spaceships. The flights will supply sufficient data for planning," he said.

 “First lunar bases may be built before 2030-2035. They will be used, in particular, for testing technologies of the prospective manned flight to Mars," he said.

(Agencies)