Castrum is designed to be the backbone for human colonization of the Moon. It is going to be the first outpost that will be fully self-sustaining, without the need for shipments from Earth. At first, our base will have 2 large multi-purpose modules. After a few manned missions, an additional medium-sized multi-purpose module is to be installed. In the end, our base will have an Aeroponics module, a Habitation module, and a Lab.
All modules, hallways(except the areas with blast doors) and airlocks’ walls(except the docking ports for rovers and spacesuits) are inflatable and made from composite materials. Equipment like gas tanks and Manned Exploration Rovers(MERs) are created from solid materials like carbon fibres or aluminium. In terms of ground vehicles, we have 2 MERs with pressurized atmosphere, 3 automatic rovers, 2 “Legionaries” that are used for construction and digging operations and 1 “Centurion” that will be used for outdoor exploration in order to minimize the need for EVAs. The number of rovers can be increased by additional cargo missions from Earth. Our base has 2 configurations: 1. A base that is completely on the surface and 2. A base that is half on the surface, half in the processed crater.
The construction of the base is split into 3 phases. All together, we will need 3 unmanned flights with rocket Ariane 6 and 1 manned flight with ESA’s, NASA’s or private spacecraft. Our base can be inhabited by 6 long-term astronauts or 12 short-term astronauts.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/j-M4NzxQI9Q
Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?
We are going to place our base near the South Pole region of the Moon. We have chosen this location because of the available sunlight, which is our main source of energy (about 80-90 % per cycle). In this region, we can find many craters that have ice. We will use the ice to supply our base with water. Additionally, due to the landscape, we will be able to build an additional outposts near Castrum.
For the first configuration, our main candidates will be any areas that meet our needs the best. In the case of the second configuration, we have found a few craters that are big enough to fit our large modules (and thus shorten our construction phase and protect our Moonbase).
Here are the coordinates of potential construction sites for our base: Lat:-89.399 Lon: 173.889, Lat: -89.31 Lon: 93.898, Lat: -89.899 Lon: -38.141, Lat: -89.582 Lon: 70.442.
How do you plan to build your Moon Camp? Describe the techniques and materials you would use.
As we mentioned before, there will be 3 phases before the base will be fully operational and there are 2 different configurations of our base.
- “Preparation phase”: We are going to land on the surface “Cesar” (Automatic station that will provide energy[via RTG] for rovers and contact with Earth) with 3 unmanned rovers “Centurion” and “Legionaries” near a chosen building site. Legionaries will be used to dig and print the constructions using the moon’s regolith and Centurion will proceed to explore the surroundings. In case something goes wrong with Legionaries or Cesar, Centurion can assist or be used as a backup power source and communications central.
- “Construction phase”: Here things split in two. If we choose to build the base half underground, we will use 2 large natural or artificial(with impact probe before phase 1) craters. Legionaries will use their drums to flatten the bottom of craters and dig trenches to connect them. If we choose the full-surface configuration, Legionaries will have to slightly flatten the construction site. After everything is finished, they will start printing protective shells for modules, airlocks, and hallways.
- “First humans to stay”: Before we land the first inhabitants of our outpost, we are going to land 2 cargo missions with deflated modules, hallways and airlocks, some equipment, and inner interior. Then the astronauts will land and inflate modules, connect parts, prepare airlocks, etc… They will deconstruct Cesar under “Operation Brutus” for additional parts: gas tanks, pipes, antennas, batteries…
The environment on the Moon is very dangerous for the astronauts. Explain how your Moon Camp will protect them.
Several different elements are threatening our astronauts.
- To keep astronauts safe from the vacuum of space, our base is fully hermetic. We designed our base so that if one of the modules loses pressure, astronauts can still leave the base via an airlock.
- To protect modules from (micro-)meteorites and radiation we will print an upper layer of protection out of the moon’s regolith(that will be stronger than concrete with special formula).
- To keep astronauts safe from the intense gamma radiation(that might penetrate the protection layer) we use the cargo on the 2nd floor for additional protection of the 1st floor, where the astronauts work. Places, where astronauts spend most of their time -like the crew room, where they sleep- will be specially protected with the densest cargo.
- To keep the base warm, we will use an electric water heater (or, in the worst-case scenario, the RTG)
Explain how your Moon Camp will provide the astronauts with:
In the beginning, astronauts will bring some water with them. After the base is done, we are going to start excavating water from the nearest known location(crater Shackleton, for example).
All wastewater will be collected and cleaned to be used again. We can also try to get water from the soil of the Moon, but we wouldn’t collect much using this technique. Water will be needed for electrolysis, aeroponics, drinking water, and hygiene.
We will also store Hydrogen and Oxygen on board and in case of a water shortage, we can combine them back into water.
For the first period on the Moon, food will be brought from the earth. For long-term missions, we are going to use our Aeroponics module, which will provide enough food to extend the mission’s duration.
When the Aeroponics module is completed, it will provide enough food to extend the mission for years. We are going to grow different types of plants there: herbs, some vegetables, sugar plants. To maximize food production, we will use genetically modified plants, a special fertilizer mixture and a 24/7 optimized growth light to provide photosynthesis.
Plants will be priority number 1 for the crew.
As we mentioned before, we will provide energy for rovers at the beginning with RTG, to minimize the risks of losing the building team. After the astronauts land, RTG will be buried (for safety), but in case of an emergency, we can extract it and use it.
To keep the base powered 90 % of the day, we will place solar panels on the highest, nearest hill. At night we will use the accumulated energy(via. oxygen and hydrogen) in fuel cells, almost all experiments will be offline to minimize energy consumption and all energy will be used to keep plants and humans alive.
In the beginning, astronauts will bring oxygen and nitrogen with them. For long-term missions, oxygen will be produced via electrolysis and we can also extract some from the moon’s regolith.
To keep the environment inside the base safe for humans, we will have a computer that is going to monitor CO2, O2, N2, H2O levels, and pressure inside the modules, similar to those on ISS.
Oxygen and water can be produced on the Moon but nitrogen needs to be sent from Earth. The MELISSA project will be used to recycle CO2 to O2 and to minimize the water demands.
Explain what would be the main purpose of your Moon Camp (for example: commercial, scientific, and/or tourist purposes).
Our base has multiple purposes:
- Commercial: We will allow companies to land their probes using our printed landing pad. We will also refuel and prepare cargo rockets from Moon to Earth when our base starts producing a lot of hydrogen and oxygen.
- Scientific: In our base, we have a lab for studying the behaviour of plants, humans, animals, materials, gases, etc. on the surface of the Moon. Also, our MER will allow us to travel around the south pole region.
- Our base can also accommodate additional, short-term tourists.
- Infrastructure: Our Legionaries will be building roads around Shackleton crater(“On the Moon, all roads lead to Shackleton crater”) to connect future colonies and to make the Moon long-range travel safer and efficient.
- Humankind: Our base will pave the way to start Moon’s first colony and to be the gateway into our solar system.
Describe a day on the Moon for your Moon Camp astronaut crew.
Astronauts’ day in our base starts in the living compartment. They will have everything for their morning routine there. After breakfast, astronauts will get their schedules from Earth. Engineers will have to go through system checkups, botanists will update the status of their crops and scientists will check their experiments.
Then the astronauts prepare for their EVA, group of at least 2 will go outside and collect water ice from the nearest deposit. After collecting enough samples, astronauts will stack the ice into a sun-heated box where all of it melts. After that, it will be transported into the base for further use in an ISRU(In-Situ Resource Utilization).
After they complete the daily “ice” mission, some astronauts will return to the base while the others take a brief walk around some sites to excavate samples for further analysis. In case something goes wrong with outside equipment, MCC from Earth would inform the crews outside about mission updates and provide astronauts with further information and procedures to repair fallen equipment. The specially scheduled expedition, under full monitoring from MCC on earth, would use MER for a long trip around the South Pole Region, collecting interesting samples and mapping new sites. After all that, EVA plans for the day will be done and astronauts will return to the base.
To keep the astronauts healthy in the moon’s gravity, each will have to do daily exercise in our gym for about 3 hours. Being so far from Earth can make the crew miss the vegetation and the smell of nature. Because of that, we created a place for them to rest in the Aeroponics module, where they can take a rest and enjoy themselves around plants.
At the end of the day, astronauts will get through a mental check to answer the questions and describe their thoughts. Astronauts will have some spare time to check or reply to their emails from their friends and families from Earth. Then the astronauts will have dinner. Later on, they will take a bath and go into the living compartment to rest for about 8 hours.
To keep maximum output while solar panels are producing energy, we would schedule 3 astronauts to stay awake while the others sleep . In case of important events, all astronauts will have to stay awake.