In Moon Camp Explorers each team’s mission is to 3D design a complete Moon Camp using Tinkercad. They also have to explain how they will use local resources, protect astronauts from the dangerous of space and describe the living and working facilities.
Starting from an initial idea created by the teacher in an ESA training course, the students add the necessary elements to complete a lunar base. We have extended this activity to two secondary education courses – ESO in Spain – and we have also involved our Erasmus partners in a recent mobility to our city. The designs focus on habitable modules, transportation systems, energy production, communications, scientific modules, production of essential resources, etc.
Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?
Close to the lunar poles
Why did you choose this location?
There are places at the poles of the moon where sunlight reaches uninterrupted. On the other hand, in some areas of the poles there is evidence of the existence of water, an essential resource for the maintenance of life.
How do you plan to build your Mooncamp? Which materials will you use?
Bringing the necessary materials from Earth would be very expensive and would not be economically and environmentally sustainable. Materials must be found on the moon itself: Locating metals and building materials collected from regolith and moon rocks. We are talking about a moon base that becomes self-sufficient and sustainable over time, so it will have to have a large number of facilities of many types.
At the bottom of some craters found at the poles of the moon there seems to be solid water. That is one of the reasons why we should build our lunar base near those places. It will have to be transported and made drinkable before being used. Special extraction, transport and purification methods will be required and therefore people specialized in this job.
We will need to build greenhouses where we can grow most of the food necessary to supply the needs of the lunar colony. We will also need some types of farms that provide us with animal protein and other derived products. Therefore, there needs to be people dedicated to raising plant and animal species in a pioneering and efficient way.
The choice of poles is essential if we want to always have sunlight. In any other place we would have periods of darkness that could last up to 14 days. For now, the main source of energy should be photovoltaic. Perhaps later in time we will have mastered another type of energy (nuclear fusion).
Again, the construction of large greenhouses is the key to renewing the air of the entire lunar colony. On the one hand, the CO2 of our breathing must be eliminated and, on the other hand, the production of vital oxygen for our way of life. On the other hand, we can extract oxygen from lunar rocks since they contain oxides in their composition. It would be an extra supply for the air and for the combustion of rocket propellants.
On the moon there is no thick atmosphere like on Earth to protect us from radiation and small impacts (there is no atmosphere), so we must protect ourselves in some other way. One option would be to build the living spaces underground, but then we would have to do a very large preliminary ground preparation. The second option would be to cover the living spaces with domes made of cement-like material and covered with lunar soil.
Describe a day on the Moon for one of your Moon Camp astronauts
The idea is to build a habitable space where people can live comfortably and do jobs like what we do on Earth. Of course, the jobs will be largely related to scientific and technical research, but there are more everyday jobs such as those necessary to carry out daily tasks: cooking, cleaning, managing resources, time for leisure and rest, health, and illness care, etc. In the future, there will be children on the moon base and their educational needs will have to be considered as well.
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