Moon Base

Nov 24, 2019
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Hi.
I am currently doing an Academic Project Award about Moon bases. I was just wondering if anyone had any info on the subject?
It would be much appreciated!
Thanks
 

MMohammed

Community Manager
Oct 10, 2019
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Sweet! What specifically are you doing for your project and what would you like to know?
 
Nov 24, 2019
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Sweet! What specifically are you doing for your project and what would you like to know?
Thanks for replying. Here are some more specific questions. Hopefully you can answer some of them.
When will the first habitable Moon base be built by?
What will a Moon base consist of?
What dangers will astronauts face?
What benefits can humanity gain from building a Moon base?
What will astronauts eat?
How will the living modules be built?

Sorry there are quite a few questions, hopefully you have an answer to some of them.

Thanks.
 
Feb 1, 2020
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Thanks for replying. Here are some more specific questions. Hopefully you can answer some of them.
When will the first habitable Moon base be built by?
What will a Moon base consist of?
What dangers will astronauts face?
What benefits can humanity gain from building a Moon base?
What will astronauts eat?
How will the living modules be built?

Sorry there are quite a few questions, hopefully you have an answer to some of them.

Thanks.

Luca,

One good book is "The High Frontier" by Gerard K O'Niel another is "Mining the Sky" by John S Lewis . Both are by scientists, and neither book is actually about Moon Bases. They do both deal with the subject however. Mr. O'Niel was a prominent astrophysicist. He has entire chapters on mining the Moon and shipping the materials gained out to High Earth Orbit (HEO), where the Moon orbits Earth. For this he designed and built some working electromagnetic rail gun models. For the Moon, those would be shooting containers the size of railroad freight cars. The use for these is to build satellites which could contain cities. These satellite cities are now called "O'Niel Colonies". Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com wants to build some.

Mr. Lewis is (or was) a scientist at Arizona State University, where he worked with the group that built and operated several of NASA's spacecraft. His book is about how to refine and use materials from meteors and asteroids. These are systems that are for low gravity environments. Once again, it isn't for the Moon specifically, but the systems will work there.

Robert Zubrins "The Case for Mars" also deals with some of the issues, though it is written for Mars. Many of the same sorts of systems will be needed however. Mars is easier in some ways than the Moon is. In other ways it is easier. Mr. Zubrin is an Engineer who once worked for NASA.

Each of these books are still (or again) in print.

For your specific questions,

"When will the first habitable Moon base be built by?"

Probably in four to ten years from now. Unless Trump loses the next election, then maybe never. Politicians tend to cancel the programs of their predicessors unless they reflect favorably on the newcomer.

"What will a Moon base consist of?"

Like the Space Station there will be pressure modules with work areas, storage areas and living areas. There will also be some additional facilities without pressure for storage, vehicle parking, some labs and so forth. There will also be a fuel depot and a spacecraft landing area. I would like to include a telescope and maybe radio telescope facility. This can be as simple as a solar array, or as complex as a nuclear reactor. The reactor will be needed if you plan to be there for more than a week or two at a time, unless you build your base at one of the poles. You will need a radio communication center as well.

"What dangers will astronauts face?"

Astronauts will face many dangers.
First of all there is the vacuum of space. The moon has a wispy atmosphere, but to detect it at all requires delicate scientific instruments. That's why you need space suits or pressure vessels.
Next there is radiation. Just like on the International Space Station, there is radiation from Cosmic Rays. On the Moon it is worse. The Earth has a natural force field that deflects much of the radiation that comes our way. It is the Earths magnetic field. The Moon has no such field. It is possible to shield against this, but it can be quite hard. If there is no shielding, the astronauts will be limited to a single two week stay. More might kill them. The simplest shielding is a few feet of Lunar regolith piled up on top of their shelter.
Heat and cold are the next danger. During the daytime on the Moon, temperatures can climb to hot enough to boil water. During the night they can plummet so low that CO2 can freeze. The astronauts on a lunar colony will have to be insulated from both extremes.
Air is the next danger. When you breath, you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. If there is more than a few percent of CO2, it can be toxic. So the air has to be constantly cleaned out by removing the CO2. Electronics also releases some quantities of toxic ozone, a carcinogen. It's actually just a special form of oxygen that does occur on Earth but only in low concentrations. On earth it is mostly in the upper atmosphere where it is our UV radiation shield. On the surface it's a pollutant that the US EPA worries about. There are also other chemicals that can get in the air, some from machines and plastics, some from inside you. Those all need to be scrubbed from the air. NASA knows about that, and has been doing it since the Apollo days. The Russians have some good systems for cleaning the air too.

"What benefits can humanity gain from building a Moon base?"

There is a lot of Science to be gained there. First off, there are studies of the Moon itself, and also the Sun. Astronomy from the Lunar Surface is also better than from the Earth's surface.
There are also some industrial promises to be gained. The Moon has a lot of raw materials. There is aluminum, iron, glass, silicon for semiconductors, and almost every other element. The Moon also has more Helium 3 than Earth does. This is a potential fusion fuel that doesn't emit harmful neutron radiation when fused with Deuterium. Someday we may be able to use it.
Near the lunar poles there are shaded craters that have water ice. Water can provide fuel for spacecraft. It can be electrolyzed to provide hydrogen and oxygen. It can also be combined with carbon and then provide methane and oxygen using what is called the Sabatier Process. Methane is easier to store for long periods than is hydrogen.
For any large satellite you want to build, and for big spacecraft as well, you will need a lot of oxygen for interior atmosphere. Refining almost any metal from ore available on the Moon will release rather a lot of oxygen. The Moon is estimated to be 40% oxygen, all bound up with that aluminum, silicon or iron.
There is bound to be quite a lot more technology and industry to be expected from the Moon, but that is all more than twenty years in the future. Sorry, but we don't know what we don't know.

"What will astronauts eat?"

The early years, astronauts on the Moon will eat much as astronauts do now on the ISS. Dehydrated foods prepared on Earth and shipped to them. Think hikers meals. Not great food, but good enough, if prepared correctly. Later, also like on the ISS, there will be some gardens for fresh vegetables. Much later there may be fruits as well. In a generation or so, and if the population on the Moon grows, there will be farms producing many of the same sorts of foods you eat every day.

"How will the living modules be built?"

The early modules will be built on Earth and lifted whole or in pieces by large rockets. That's a part of what the monster SLS from NASA is for. It's also part of what SpaceX is building their Starship rocket system to be used for. Russia has some other large rockets in the planning stages, as does Blue Origin with it's New Glenn and New Armstrong rockets. All of these are larger than any existing rocket. The closest to being ready is the SLS. SpaceX however is pushing to be ready by 2022. New Glenn may be flying by that time also. New Armstrong will not be ready for at least four to six years. New Glenn is a bit larger than a Falcon Heavy, and New Armstrong is nearly as big as Starship.
We could do the Artemis Moon Missions with Falcon Heavy rockets, but it would take staging in orbit, messy.
Later moon modules will be built on site from parts manufactured on Earth. Later still, they will be manufactured on the Moon. Don't expect that to happen though for at least twenty years.
One exception to that will be some cast shells built by 3D printing of lunar regolith. Moon dust can be bound into stone using microwaves, and so be cast like cement to build building structures and items like pottery. NASA and the ESA both have projects that intend to use this to build on the Moon.

I hope this gives you what you need, and wasn't too late for your project.
 
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May 8, 2020
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Hi.
I am currently doing an Academic Project Award about Moon bases. I was just wondering if anyone had any info on the subject?
It would be much appreciated!
Thanks
yes , take the international space station and retro fit it out and use it as the firstmoon base. then construct a new design for local space station to be able to perform the actions and motions needed for artificial gravity test.
 

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