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: S.P.I.D.E.R.

Tudor Vianu National Highschool of Computer Science  Bucharest    Romania 16, 17   2 / 0
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Project description

Our Moon Camp, S.P.I.D.E.R., has the main purpose of space research, but also to simulate the colonization of other planets. It will give astronauts, researchers, a broader understanding of our Universe and what it means to live outside of Earth. We will make use of everything at our disposal: water procured from ice inside the Shackleton crater, continuous sunlight at the South pole, and the lunar regolith for research and even plant cultivation. We will have a rover for our astronauts to travel to other parts of the Moon, and the Shackleton and Shoemaker craters near us, which are also of scientific interest. The Camp will sit on the lunar surface, anchored with tiny spider-like legs made out of strong steel. The Moon Camp will house a small team of two astronauts which will conduct scientific experiments and learn more about the Moon and Space in general. Also, they will familiarize themselves with what it means to live on another planet (although it’s a satellite). They will then bring their findings and their experience back to Earth and will hopefully encourage other people to expand their horizons. We wanted to build the best Camp possible for our astronauts, to give them an optimal environment for practicing science and enjoying Space life.

2.1 Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?

Our Moon Camp will be located at the South Pole, near the Shackleton crater. Thus, we would have continuous sunlight which will power our Camp through the solar panels, and we will stock some of this energy in fuel cells for the lunar eclipses. Also, the high amounts of hydrogen measured inside the crater may indicate the presence of water ice, which is a crucial benefit for our astronauts. Because we might encounter meteor showers, we will incapsulate our Camp in Kevlar, which is very light and durable. In case scientific research requests it, astronauts will use the rover t0 go wherever they need. We also plan to have remotely-controlled Kevlar-protected rovers, in case of long-distance travel, which will also be solar-powered, have a fuel cell, and, just in case of an emergency, an RTG, which could also allow us to visit even the far side of the Moon.

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

We thought of this design so as each one of the astronauts would have a personal space, but also share a common room where they can work and relax together. We wanted them to feel cozy, at home, and so we made sure our Moon Camp has all the elements of one. Because all the materials we use are light, we won’t have a problem bringing them by spaceship. We also liked that our Moon Camp be modular, to ease its building on the surface of the Moon and to be easily fixable in case something happens. Firstly, we need to install the supports of our camp, which are the spider legs. Thick sheets of aluminum alloy will form our base. All the layers will be locked airtight to one another. The tunnels will be made of 3 such sets of layers, in a triangle shape. The research-purposed sphere will consist of triangle shaped windows made of thermal glass. The rovers will be assembled outside of the base and will also be modular. The last items regarding our Moon Base are the solar panels, which will come pre-built and ready to fix into place. We chose a spider shape because this creature is associated in mythology with creation, being able to weave its own worlds. We will explain the material choice in the next paragraph, as it is strongly related to the astronauts’ safety.

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

The astronauts’ health and safety is our main priority, ahead of anything else. Therefore, we have researched the best materials to insure their well-being. Therefore, we will use aerogel, Kevlar, a strong aluminum alloy and thermal glass. The aerogel neutralizes the three methods of heat transfer: convection, conduction and radiation, and as such it is an excellent thermal insulator. Kevlar has adequate power to withstand the effects of space debris and meteors. Besides, Kevlar weights little and has a high degree of hardness. Without harming its structure or changing its form, it may also undergo extreme temperatures. In impact research, aluminum alloy works so well that we can use this material for the window shutters to prevent debris from destroying the glass, for which we will use the thermal glass because it shields the astronauts from both high and mostly low temperatures around the windows and the stresses of Space.

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

The water source for our base will be the ice inside the Shackleton crater. Its surface is smooth enough so that our rover can get to the ice, after which we’ll use a heated power drill to go through the solar surface and melt the ice in the process. This process is time and energy consuming, and thus we won’t be doing it more than necessary, preferably once a week. We’ll keep the water in a reservoir, and the astronauts will use a purifying system before drinking it. Besides human consumption, water will also be used in electrolysis and plant growth.

Our astronauts will, of course, have Space food. This will ensure them a balanced nutrition, while being easy and safe to store, prepare and consume, but this comes at a cost of 0.64 kg/individual-day of storage space, which isn’t optimal for our mission. Instead, their primary source of food will be their greenhouse, in which they will grow potatoes, celery, tomatoes for vitamins and carbs, and the main source for protein will be various aquatic invertebrates, from the phylum Mollusca, for various advantages: they easily adjust to a partial-gravity environment, don’t require much space, and they assimilate nutrients from the flow of surrounding water to build biomass. There already are projects using lunar regolith simulants as the substrate to sustain plant growth, and this is also what our astronauts are going to use.

Our main power source will be the solar panels. Being located at the South Pole of the Moon, we will have continuous sunlight apart from the lunar eclipses, for which we will have fuel cells as backups. We will also send our rovers to spots with maximum sunlight on the Moon, to gather extra energy with their solar panels. In case of an emergency (a solar panel gets damaged by a meteor or simply malfunctions), we will have a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), which will be powered by Plutonium-238, for its long half-life and good power output.

The astronauts need oxygen to survive, and this can easily be procured from three sources on the Moon: the electrolysis of water, and the lunar regolith and, of course, plants. From the first one, using a Na+ and Cl- solution, the astronauts would get H2 and O2. As a bonus, the H2 can be recombined with O2 to obtain pure water, and the O2, after being exposed to UV / X radiation, can be transformed into O3, which has antibacterial action. For the lunar regolith, although it is very rich in oxygen, we would need a very, very precise filter, because the smallest grains could lodge in astronauts’ lungs, possibly causing long-term health effects. Last but not least, the plants our astronauts grow are also a strong source of oxygen. Because of the dangers it presents, we would use the lunar regolith only as a last resort.

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

We love science, so this will be the main purpose of our Moon Camp. There are still endless things which intrigue us about space, and we’re sure the scientists present on our Camp will learn a lot from this experience. The scientists can study the Moon, its surface and its craters, plus the Space, using either telescopes built into the Moon Camp or the remotely-controlled rover, with which they can explore hardly reachable areas and can get stellar views of the sky. Another objective of our Moon Camp is accommodating people for living on another planet. After coming back from the Moon Camp, the astronauts can relate their experiences and inspire others to dream about living in Space.

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

Our astronauts, let’s name them Tina and Bob, will wake up at 0600 sharp (standard GMT time). After a routine check of all the systems to make sure everything from life support to plant growth is running smoothly, they will have their breakfast. Bob will eat mussels and tomatoes (his favourite dish on the Moon Camp), and Tina will settle for mussels with potatoes. Of course, they can choose whatever combination of vegetables and molluscae they want.

Then, they will perform some physical exercises, 0700 sharp. Bob will run on the treadmill while Tina will use the indoor bicycle. 0730 sharp, they head for the cold showers (we don’t want to use too much energy, but they’re allowed a cheat day on Sundays). They will clean themselves with water from the reservoir, which will then be re-purified (so they don’t ingest soap) and sent back to the reservoir. We also have a biological waste recycling system in place, which will help them obtain cultivable soil.

At 0800, the science day begins. Tina will make experiments inside, while Bob will get suited-up and head for the surface of the Moon, from which he will collect some regolith for both plant-use and research, and will make some scientific measurements regarding the Moon, Sun, and Earth. Later, he will head back to the camp where Tina will have finished her experiments. At 1200 they will have lunch, and until 1400, they will have free time in which they can read, write their loved ones, and relax. After that, it’s Bob’s turn to make experiments, while Tina checks the plants and harvests them, checks the water tank and then does science together with Bob, with which she has a snack around 1600.

At 1800 they have dinner, molluscae plus vegetables. After free time, they go to sleep at 2200. They sleep at the same time, and to ensure their safety, we will have layers upon layers of alarms for any disturbances, plus the astronauts will have wrist bands measuring their heartbeat and oxygen saturation, which can wake them up in case of an emergency.

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