Moon base plans and research?

Oct 14, 2019
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I'm a student and I usually try to theme my projects around space and planets. Mars is pretty current in the headlines and popular so I want to find different areas to study.
For instance, does anyone here think we can build a self-sustaining station on the moon where people can live? Any article links and research papers are welcome.
Thank you
 
Aug 22, 2019
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There was a really fantastic video that was done up on this last year by Kurzgesagt on YouTube that provides a whole guide on how to setup a moon base, and how we could actually make it happen today.


And there have been several articles on the subject here on Space.com as well, including plans to develop a moon base for human inhabitants by using autonomous robots.


Not to mention some ideas for the architecture of such places!

 
Oct 21, 2019
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I'm a student and I usually try to theme my projects around space and planets. Mars is pretty current in the headlines and popular so I want to find different areas to study.
For instance, does anyone here think we can build a self-sustaining station on the moon where people can live? Any article links and research papers are welcome.
Thank you
Sustainable Self-Reliant on the Moon would be difficult. There is literally no data on long term effects of low gravity on humans. Intuitively, I would think that .38 g on Mars would be tolerable over the long term, but 1/6th g on the Moon would probably not be. If inhabitants must be shuttled back and forth to Earth periodically (every year or two), then the station would not be self-sustaining.
Also, though there are claims of water ice being found in polar craters, IMO that seems unlikely, or rare.

I am unaware of any hard science on either of those.
 
Nov 24, 2019
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I'm a student and I usually try to theme my projects around space and planets. Mars is pretty current in the headlines and popular so I want to find different areas to study.
For instance, does anyone here think we can build a self-sustaining station on the moon where people can live? Any article links and research papers are welcome.
Thank you
Hi I’m a student too doing a project on Moon bases! You can check my thread but I just wanted to ask if you have found any info since posting this?
 
Jan 13, 2020
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There is literally no data on long term effects of low gravity on humans. Intuitively, I would think that .38 g on Mars would be tolerable over the long term, but 1/6th g on the Moon would probably not be. If inhabitants must be shuttled back and forth to Earth periodically (every year or two), then the station would not be self-sustaining.

Yeah, gravity is the elephant in the room. If it turns out to be the case you have to have 100% earth gravity in order to not suffer physical maladies, I guess we're going to have to build centrifuges on the Moon and Mars in which people can live... :-O

Mars also has the issue of have a lot of perchlorate in the soil. That could be a major problem, because it's a toxic substance. In certain places here in Silicon Valley, it's been found in the groundwater, and those sources had to be filtered.


Also, though there are claims of water ice being found in polar craters, IMO that seems unlikely, or rare.

Presumably it was proven in 2018...

 
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Jan 10, 2020
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I'm a student and I usually try to theme my projects around space and planets. Mars is pretty current in the headlines and popular so I want to find different areas to study.
For instance, does anyone here think we can build a self-sustaining station on the moon where people can live? Any article links and research papers are welcome.
Thank you
 
Jan 10, 2020
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Building a basic base is one thing. A self sustaining one something else. Entire nations are dependent on trade. Just your laptop contains chips and stuff manufactured in factories all over the planet. A base will always be dependent on trade. To be financially independent such a base will need to find a resource for trade, something earth needs. This could be mining He3 on the surface. Then of course there are all the other issues like effects of zero G, radiation protection etc.
 
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Jan 10, 2020
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Building a basic base is one thing. A self sustaining one something else. Entire nations are dependent on trade. Just your laptop contains chips and stuff manufactured in factories all over the planet. A base will always be dependent on trade. To be financially independent such a base will need to find a resource for trade, something earth needs. This could be mining He3 on the surface. Then of course there are all the other issues like effects of zero G, radiation protection etc.
 
Jan 10, 2020
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I will add more. He3 will only continue to be a resource if fusion reactors become established on earth. Another possible resource is rare earth metals. These are located in concentrations on the moon where meteors deposited them. Of course none of this mining will be viable if transport costs do not reduce. You need to research to see if Elon's starship could bring down costs sufficiently to make it worthwhile to get these minerals back to earth. If not, I cannot see how a colony can be financially independent.
 
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Jan 13, 2020
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There was a really fantastic video that was done up on this last year by Kurzgesagt on YouTube that provides a whole guide on how to setup a moon base, and how we could actually make it happen today.


And there have been several articles on the subject here on Space.com as well, including plans to develop a moon base for human inhabitants by using autonomous robots.


Not to mention some ideas for the architecture of such places!

As I understand it, any Moon base would have to remain in orbit, due to Moonquakes. These would shake to pieces any structure we attempt to place on the moon.
 
Jan 10, 2020
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After seeing what you said about moonquakes I looked it up. You are right (I did not know about the seriousness of them). Inflatable habitats like those proposed by Bigalow aerospace and Sierra Nevada Corp. should be flexible enough to be OK. NASA has reserved SLS Artemis eight to place a habitat on the surface, more than likely the lunar asset will be one of these inflatable habitats.
 
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Jan 10, 2020
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After seeing what you said about moonquakes I looked it up. You are right (I did not know about the seriousness of them). Inflatable habitats like those proposed by Bigalow aerospace and Sierra Nevada Corp. should be flexible enough to be OK. NASA has reserved SLS Artemis eight to place a habitat on the surface, more than likely the lunar asset will be one of these inflatable habitats.
 
Jan 10, 2020
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Don't know much about it My understanding is the new inflatable habitats (one, the BEAM, has been attached to the ISS) have up to 15 layers of material in their walls, self repair if hit by micrometeorites, are lighter and reduce radiation exposure. Radiation will be a big issue for any lunar base, maybe any habitat will need to be buried under lunar regolith. The lunar surface will be a very harsh environment, no 100 km of atmosphere nor Van Allen belts as a barrier to the suns radiation.
 
Jan 13, 2020
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Don't know much about it My understanding is the new inflatable habitats (one, the BEAM, has been attached to the ISS) have up to 15 layers of material in their walls, self repair if hit by micrometeorites, are lighter and reduce radiation exposure. Radiation will be a big issue for any lunar base, maybe any habitat will need to be buried under lunar regolith. The lunar surface will be a very harsh environment, no 100 km of atmosphere nor Van Allen belts as a barrier to the suns radiation.
While the walls, roof, and floor may be inflatable and flexible, the people and equipment inside won't be. So I remain doubtful. But I am sure that any risk I can dream up, these geniuses thought about twice before breakfast. So I will stay tuned...
 
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Feb 1, 2020
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Sustainable Self-Reliant on the Moon would be difficult. There is literally no data on long term effects of low gravity on humans. . .
Also, though there are claims of water ice being found in polar craters, IMO that seems unlikely, or rare.

I am unaware of any hard science on either of those.

There have been some studies. The studies I have seen are mostly having to do with long term bed rest.
The results are mostly consistent with the effects of micro gravity. Loss of muscle tone, loss of calcium from bones, deterioration in the cardiovascular system, that sort of thing.
Recovery is also largely the same. Physical Therapy and some nutritional supplements are recommended. Some drugs have also been tried with varying levels of success.
I suspect that longer term we will find that the total effects vary more or less linearly with gravity and therefore effort. I also suspect that age will be a major factor in the amount of time recovery requires.
As for long term colonies on the Moon, the Moon hasn't enough water or nitrogen for true independence from the Earth. It can be economically free of Earth, but will always need imports from either Earth or from further out in space.
The Moon is a great place for factories, mines and some habitats, but it will never support an independent ecology. So yes, colonies on the moon and in high Earth Orbit, but no, they will not be truly independent of Earth, at least not until after they can begin to import gasses from Jupiter or further out.
Of course the same can be said of Singapore or Hong Kong. Both are though quite viable as cities.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
" So yes, colonies on the moon and in high Earth Orbit, but no, they will not be truly independent of Earth, . . . . . . . . . . . .
Of course the same can be said of Singapore or Hong Kong. Both are though quite viable as cities"

I agree with this, but in the back of my mind I recall what my father said when I was about 12 and he was quite a bit younger than I am now. I think it was about Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future) in Eagle. He told me not to waste my time on such rubbish.
The idea of men going to the Moon was totally ridiculous.

Sic transit gloria
 
Feb 1, 2020
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What constitutes rubbish changes with time.
In the 1840's everything west of the Missouri River, including what is now Texas and California was 'rubbish'. Brigham Young was bet $1,000.00 that a bushel of corn couldn't be grown in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Mind you, that was when a dollar was a decent days wage. Today, that 'Rubbish' is a full third of the most powerful nation in the history of the world. Alaska wasn't just rubbish, no, it was "Folly" when the US purchased it in the late 1800's.
But California expanded all the way up the West Coast, Salt Lake City expanded to settle Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, plus a small amount of Mexico and Canada. As for Texas, well, it's TEXAS, the single biggest and baddest state in the country. Home of the Dallas Cowboys and authentic Chili. Some mean Bar -B-Q too.
What the settlement of Space will bring we cannot now say. But it's worth it if it brings anything as awesome as Chuck Norris, don't you think???
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
What constitutes rubbish changes with time.
In the 1840's everything west of the Missouri River, including what is now Texas and California was 'rubbish'. Brigham Young was bet $1,000.00 that a bushel of corn couldn't be grown in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Mind you, that was when a dollar was a decent days wage. Today, that 'Rubbish' is a full third of the most powerful nation in the history of the world. Alaska wasn't just rubbish, no, it was "Folly" when the US purchased it in the late 1800's.
But California expanded all the way up the West Coast, Salt Lake City expanded to settle Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, plus a small amount of Mexico and Canada. As for Texas, well, it's TEXAS, the single biggest and baddest state in the country. Home of the Dallas Cowboys and authentic Chili. Some mean Bar -B-Q too.
What the settlement of Space will bring we cannot now say. But it's worth it if it brings anything as awesome as Chuck Norris, don't you think???

The word RUBBISH was provided by my father, it was NOT my estimation of the concept.
 
Dec 29, 2019
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I think Mars and the Moon really are, in terms of their economic potential and therefore potential for colonisation, rubbish - more comparable in lack of opportunities to the High Atacama desert (only worse) than the extraordinarily resource rich and already well populated Nth America, where low cost existing technology in widespread use was sufficient to suppress native resistance and exploit the existing resources. You can't let longhorn cattle loose and expect the herds to grow on Mars any more than in the Atacama and you won't be able to drive them on their own feet and you on your horse to meat hungry cities and use the money to buy essential equipment to grow your dryland economy. Except in the most superficial and misleading ways, The Moon and Mars are not much like North America during the "golden age" of European exploration, conquest and colonisation.
 
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Dec 29, 2019
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Catastrophe - fine by me. I realise my views on these subjects tends towards the pessimistic - towards realistic, I like to think. There is a lot of legitimate interest in space and there will be opportunities. I just think the opportunities won't be the ones that are getting hyped.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Ken
" I just think the opportunities won't be the ones that are getting "
What do you have in mind? Robotic exploitation?
Use as a base?
I would gp along with things like that - depending on COST.
Cat
 
Dec 29, 2019
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Catastrophe - I struggle to see any commercial opportunities in Earth's moon or Mars, let alone any obvious ones. Exploration there is more about scientific curiosity and understanding than about economic opportunity and I support that kind of exploration. There are commercial opportunities to service those activities but that is not the same as the the moon or Mars having commercial opportunities in and of themselves, so it remains a subsidised, loss making activity of wealthy Earth economies, in large part undertaken for national prestige - a demo of the wealth of their Earth based resources and capabilities.

Can those explorations reveal unexpected commercial opportunities? It is hard to imagine what those could be - the very definition of unexpected - but we are no longer flailing in the dark. We have good understanding of the nature of our universe and solar system and how planets and moons formed, so we have some idea what is likely and what is possible; if we are chasing the unlikely and unexpected the moon and Mars may not be the best targets. Even asteroids may not be the best targets; they, like planets, have seen a lot of mixing together of primordial materials, whilst lacking the un-mixing processes that geologically and hydrologically active planets (Earth) have, that make the rich ores we depend on. If we want to find unmixed primordial materials - the potential for finding some of those precious metals or high value ores in more concentrated or more easily extractable forms - we may be better looking to comets or other targets that have not been subject to those mixing processes.

Exploration needs to identify real and quantifiable opportunities for the planning and investment any commercial exploitation to happen; people going to someplanet and expecting the opportunities to inevitably follow just won't cut it. The pre-investments needed are far too large for that kind of bet.

The best way forward for larger scale and long term subsidised activities in space may be meteor defense - maintaining reason to keep up space tech R&D that can lower launch costs and establish permanent orbital presence despite the absence of commercial opportunity. Greatly reduced launch and in-space transport costs, if they can be achieved, greatly change the threshold for what is viable - but those costs are so very high that there is a long, long way to go.

We may yet see some kind of high value zero gee manufacturing - something that (disappointingly) has not emerged to drive space investments.

I've suggested elsewhere that I think nickel-iron may be the commodity to keep in our sights. If some method that can get the precious metals out, that would be a bonus, but crude nickel-iron is hugely abundant and potentially able to displace mild steel for many applications. If it were being mined for Earth markets, with minimal on-site processing, there may not be human presence needed at the mine site but there could be a lot of associated space activity near Earth - supply to the distant operation, repackaging and de-orbiting the cargoes sent back - that could see people working in space to support it.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Ken
What can I say? That is an impressive argument especially 00.30 hours. As far as the iron-nickel is concerned that is (by "old" theory in the core and not very accessible. Even according to alternative theories of later acquisition, it might be harder to find.
Cat