Mooncamp challenge
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Pioneers gallery 2022 – Moon Camp Challenge
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Pioneers gallery 2022

Moon Camp Pioneers Gallery 2021-2022

In Moon Camp Pioneers each team’s mission is to 3D design a complete Moon Camp using Fusion 360. 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.

Team: SCN Aerospace

Petroc College  Barnstaple    United Kingdom 17   2 / 0
External viewer for 3d project
Project description

The brief given to us was to design a moon camp. The brief was completely open ended and we were given free reign to decide the function of the camp. My team decided the camp would be for a mission duration of three months, housing four astronauts with backgrounds in chemistry, engineering, medicine, and botany. The camp would be built to complete this mission, but with a view to using it again in possibly longer missions in the future. In designing the camp we have attempted to make the most realistic decisions as possible, so decisions made have been influenced by: the cost of launching large parts, the safety of the astronauts, the scientific value to be gained, and the potential interest to be created. The camp will house living and working facilities for four astronauts. Their mission will include excursions outside of the camp, as well as experiments and such inside, so they will need several rovers in addition to the camp itself, including a small trailer like rover for transporting equipment and manipulating the modules during assembly, a long-distance rover designed to act as a ‘lifeboat’ in case of emergency, and some landscaping robots that would be sent before the astronauts’ arrival to prepare the landing site. We have been fortunate enough to be able to create a VR world with the Base in using Occulus Headsets Quest 2.

The plans shown in section 4 for a few of the modules are for an older version of the base, so although they are very similar to the final version they do differ slightly.

2.1 Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?

An equatorial location on the near side would have constant line of sight with Earth, a definite advantage, but it would mean that the astronauts would be unable to view the portion of the sky behind the moon. Unfortunately, the Surface temperatures near the equator vary drastically, making a surface base in this position difficult to maintain. Near the poles, exposure to the sun is much lower. In fact, there are several locations near the poles where the sun quite literally never shines. This means that, while it is obviously cold, the temperature variation at these locations is minimal. Consequently, the materials and structure of the base can be optimized for the cold temperatures near the poles. Furthermore, since the surface temperatures are much lower, ice can form near the poles. By considering these factors, we have selected a crater near the south pole at 42°E, 84.25°S.

2.2 How do you plan to build your Moon Camp? Describe the techniques, materials and your design choices.

Before the moon camp can be built on the surface, it will be necessary to prepare the landing area. For this, unmanned rovers will be sent to the landing site, which will clear the area and flatten slopes as necessary so that there is a suitable place for the camp to be built. There are ten modules that make up the main camp, with an additional communications tower and experiment module placed on the rim of the crater that will be operated remotely. To reduce the risk of catastrophic failure, some of the modules will be built on Earth, and simply installed on the moon, by docking them to the other modules. This is because it is far easier to ensure the reliability of the modules on Earth than on the Moon. The following modules would be made on Earth: the airlock, habitation, laboratory, toilet, experiment, and utility modules, as well as the flexible corridor between the hubs and communications tower (the hydraulically actuated stilts would also be built on Earth). The two hubs would be broken down into smaller components, as they are much too large to be launched in one piece. The hydroponics module would be made from a combination of simple parts (such as titanium strips and HDPE bricks) and parts fabricated on Earth (such as the docking assembly). All of these would be constructed using materials and techniques (aside from the hydroponics module) which are typical of existing habitable modules.

2.3 The environment on the Moon is very dangerous for the astronauts. Explain how your Moon Camp will protect them. (maximum 150 words)

As mentioned in section 2.1, the location selected already provides significant protection. Because the camp never has direct illumination from the sun, it is shielded from solar radiation quite effectively. The only other radiation sources are the nuclear reactor that powers the camp, and cosmic radiation. The reactor is suitably shielded, and any cosmic radiation is blocked by HDPE which is at least 20cm thick to ensure sufficient protection. Another danger is the lunar dust, which sticks to surfaces and cause various problems, including potential damage to the astronaut’s lungs, damage to surfaces due to its abrasive properties, reduction in effectiveness of vulnerable components such as seals, and damage to space suits. Filters in the environmental systems will ensure that if dust enters the camp it will be removed, and careful maintenance of space suits and equipment after returning to the base will prevent dust from entering the base.

2.4 Explain how your Moon Camp will provide the astronauts with:

In order to reduce risk with relying on resource extraction, water will be stockpiled at the Artemis space station during routine supply missions. It will be taken down during the landing. We can supplement the supply by extracting water from lunar ice.

Again, in order to reduce the risk associated with resource extraction, we will be stockpiling food at the Artemis space station in preparation for the mission, and the supply will be supplemented by the hydroponics experiments (although these experiments would not be able to sustain the crew on their own).

Power will be supplied by a small nuclear reactor modelled after the eVinci reactor being designed by Westinghouse. Flywheels will be used as the main method of energy storage, due to their resistance to extreme conditions, although we will use hydrogen fuel cells due to their existing use in space flight.

Air will also be stockpiled at the Artemis space station, and once again, we can supplement the supply by extracting oxygen from the lunar surface by reduction with hydrogen, which is approximately 45% oxygen by mass.

2.5 Explain what would be the main purpose of your Moon Camp.

The purpose of the camp is a mission of discovery. The aim would be to test and demonstrate technologies and techniques which could be used in the future for longer missions, and ultimately long-term habitation. This is because in terms of crewed space missions, we have sent people to the moon for a few days, had astronauts on the ISS for several months, but never have we had astronauts stay on the surface of the Moon for any long duration. Consequently, the first concern, before we can seriously start thinking about commercial or tourist endeavours, is whether we can actually, genuinely live on the moon in the first place. Projects which would be undertaken would include growing plants (hence the botanist), investigating effective methods for extracting oxygen and other resources from the lunar soil, and manufacturing various items using the tools in the fabrication module.

3.1 Describe a day on the Moon for your Moon Camp astronaut crew.

The over-arching investigation in the moon camp is to decide whether long term habitation on the moon is feasible. To this end the astronauts’ day needs to be as ‘normal’ as possible. Most of us start our day with breakfast, followed by personal hygiene, and getting dressed. This is how the astronauts would start their day. A short meeting to discuss tasks planned for the day, and how work went yesterday, would follow. Once such activities are dealt with the astronauts split into two ‘teams.’ Team one has an exercise session in Hub A. Exercise is important to ensure minimal muscular atrophy caused by living in a low gravity environment, and to maintain a strong cardiovascular system. Team two, meanwhile, take care of general maintenance in the camp, such as tidying, checking plants etc. The two teams would then swap, with team one on general maintenance duties and team two exercising. The reason for this split is that Hub A doesn’t have the space for all four astronauts to exercise in simultaneously. The two teams come together to work on the projects set for the day. Over the course of the three months, there would be a wide range of tasks, perhaps preparing for an EVA, performing maintenance, conducting analysis on samples, using the fabrication facilities in Hub B, and so on. These tasks would be planned out before the mission began in order to use the astronaut’s time most effectively, although changes are likely to be made during the mission due to unforeseen reasons. For our example day, the astronauts will be making a replacement hydraulic valve to repair a backup pump. Again, keeping the working day as ‘normal’ as possible, the teams would break for lunch at around mid day. After the washing up has been done, the astronauts approach their next task, which on this particular day is planning tomorrow’s EVA to collect soil samples. This work period would be longer than the morning session, and would conclude in time for their evening meal, after which they would have time for relaxation before closing everything down, doing any last minute checks (perhaps those plants again), and retiring to bed. The time of day itself would be synced to GMT

Other projects:

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  Lunar Explorers