We named our team “Team Armstrong” because we admire Neil Armstrong and his work in the Apollo 11 mission. Our camp will have a minimum of 3 astronauts at all times nevertheless it can accommodate maximum 5. The camp would have ~8 parts in which 5 of them are simple e.g.: Living Room, Sleeping Quarter, Control Room, Communication Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen. The rest are the actual things we need like Greenhouses, Solar Plants, Experiment Lab, Waste Management Systems, etc.
Three experiments would be conducted:
1) Regolith to grow soil (R2GS) – In this experiment, we would try to modify regolith into a soil with which we could grow plants directly and so it is called the grow soil.
2) Regolith Radiation Proof – This would be to test if regolith can absorb radiation.
3) Regolith to Soil – This is a part of the R2GS experiment. Here we would see if we can give moisture and humidity to the regolith and see if there is any microbe growth in it.
There are many things that are unique in our camp like, the algae tank or bioreactor is specially designed for the production of oxygen and also produces an edible mass that astronauts can feed on in case of a food shortage. Also, the nuclear plant is a genius design, inspired by the idea of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) which can produce 300 MWe of energy which is more than sufficient.
Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?Close to the lunar poles
Why did you choose this location?
Our camp will be located on the south pole of the lunar surface. The main reason is the discovery of the presence of ice in this area. Water will be extracted from this ice. Moreover, highland areas help in providing constant sunlight thus making it easy to use solar energy and helpful for growing plants. Also, the high raised crater rims eases the communication with Earth.
How do you plan to build your Mooncamp? Which materials will you use?
We would build our camp using 3D printing and AI-bot technology. The reason behind this an astronaut is not required to operate them. So, we would not need to send extra astronauts on the moon to just operate the 3d printers or maintain the AI-bots. The materials that would be used will be lunarcrete (lunar concrete) and aluminum. We also decided to make a small section of the camp transparent so that the astronauts can enjoy the outer view; this would be made up of polycarbonate with thin invar rods.
At the initial phase of settlement, water will be transported from Earth. Gradually as we settle in the camp, the water will be obtained from mining the ice present on the lunar surface. First the automatic lunar excavator will extract the ice from the lunar surface. After extraction, it will transport the pieces of ice to a tank where the ice will melt, resulting in the generation of water. Here, the water will be purified as well. The water can be used for watering the plants, to fulfil the needs of astronauts. Other sources of water are man-made biological waste.
The following products will be transported from Earth:
● Processed food
● Canned food
● Salt and pepper
Packing method – Freeze-drying method
Freeze drying is a process in which a completely frozen sample is placed under a vacuum in order to remove water from the food, allowing the ice to change directly from a solid to a vapor without passing through a liquid phase.
Fresh fruit/vegetables will be obtained from the botanical garden (aeroponics). Aeroponics is a method of growing plants in an air/mist environment with no soil and very little water.
Our camp has two energy sources: photovoltaic and nuclear power plants. Most of the energy (90%) is obtained from the nuclear power plant because we only need one kilogram of uranium to power the entire camp for a year. But in any case, if the nuclear power plant faces any trouble, we do have an alternative for that i.e. a photovoltaic plant. Semiconductors present in the photovoltaic plant will convert sunlight into electrical energy. The moon is abundant in silicon which will be used to produce more photovoltaic cells. Excess energy will be stored in high-efficiency batteries.
The astronauts in our camp will be provided with oxygen through the following sources:
• Through plants present in the botanical garden
• Through algae tanks
• Through Electrolysis: It will use the electricity from the solar panels present in our camp to split water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The oxygen gas can then be used by astronauts for breathing.
• Through Astronauts: The carbon dioxide that the astronauts will breathe out will be combined with hydrogen to produce water and methane. Then, oxygen will be extracted from the water obtained through this process.
Astronauts are protected from the radiation as the entire camp is buried in the ground plus there is a thin layer of water between the walls and regolith because hydrogen in water is an efficient radiation absorber.
For protection against meteorites, a protective layer of Kevlar, coated with Wolverine is used.
Kevlar is a composite, it is light in weight but strong, it can withstand extreme temperatures as well, and it can also protect the camp from fire. We are also using Wolverine to cover the surface of our camp because it is a self-healing, highly stretchable, and transparent material.
Describe a day on the Moon for one of your Moon Camp astronauts
Once an astronaut wakes up from sleep, their morning routine is pretty similar to ours down here on Earth since they still have the same hygiene needs, the way those needs are met just looks slightly different because of the less gravity present on moon.
Of course, breakfast is still an important meal in space, and astronauts are scheduled to eat one every day.
I think it’s safe to say a spacewalk is far more exhilarating than any 9-5 jobs we see on Earth and by conducting one, an astronaut is sure to work up an appetite. Spacewalk or no spacewalk, astronauts are scheduled to eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
After wrapping up their morning routine, an astronaut begins their work assignments for the day, which can entail a number of different tasks either supervising experiments or performing routine maintenance on camp equipment.
It is essential that astronauts dedicate each day to fitness. On average, astronauts exercise about two hours per day in an effort to prevent bone and muscle loss while living in microgravity.
On Earth, there’s nothing better after a long day at work than climbing into bed for a good night’s sleep. It’s the same story in space except instead of beds, astronauts cozy up in their sleeping bags located in their personal crew cabin. The sleeping bags are attached to the wall to keep the astronaut secure because they’d otherwise be floating around all night, which doesn’t sound very restful (or safe).