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Moon Camp Pioneers 2022 – 2023 Project Gallery


In Moon Camp Pioneers, each team’s mission is to 3D design a complete Moon Camp using the software of their choice. They also have to explain how they will use local resources, protect astronauts from the dangers of space and describe the living and working facilities in their Moon Camp.


  First Place – ESA Member states

Gymnazium Nad Aleji  Praha-Prague    Czech Republic 13, 15   2 / English
3D design software: Fusion 360

External URL to the team’s project (e.g. website or PDF):

Youtube Video Link:

1.1 – Project Description

One of ESA’s contributions to the Artemis program could be a small lunar shelter, which will later be transformed into a lunar base. We present such a lunar shelter for two astronauts.

The main criterion was that the cover could be transported to the Moon using the EL3, which has a payload of 1.5 tons to the Moon. We did not manage to fully meet this weight limit, but it is not unrealistic that the limit will be met after further modifications and development of the design. Considering such a low weight, the equipment of the shelter is very basic, but it can serve its purpose well in the initial stages of lunar exploration.

The shelter consists of a sealed module and a non-sealed porch. The module houses most of the equipment and the crew lives and works in it. Above the module is a porch that serves as a warehouse for outdoor equipment, samples not intended for on-site analysis, etc. The crew goes from the module to the shelter and then to the surface through an airlock unconventionally placed on the ceiling of the module. It makes it easier to build the radiation shield and simplifies the overall design.

1.2 – Why do you want to build a Moon Camp? Explain the main purpose of your Moon Camp (for example scientific, commercial and/or touristic purposes).

Moon colonization will bring us many benefits. It will become a springboard for Solar System exploration. The discoveries and technologies developed during the construction of the base on the Moon will also help us on Earth.

The purpose of our shelter is to have a base on the Moon around which further settlements can be built. All the necessary technologies for the construction of other modules will be tested on it.

In the future, we plan to use the base mainly for scientific and technical purposes. Technologies for the trip to Mars will be developed there. Using ISRU we can build entire probes on the Moon and send them to the Solar System. We can work on new advanced life support systems or do infrared astronomy. Commercial use will also be important, which will ensure the financing of the base in the future.

2.1 – Where do you want to build your Moon Camp? Explain your choice.

The shelter is made for a maximum of 5 days of darkness, so the base location options are actually very limited to a few areas of the South Pole, namely the rim of Shackleton Crater. If it was in the dark for more than five days, it would freeze. Being 18 m tall the solar panel will be illuminated even longer than the rest of the base.

Lighting is the only limiting criterion for the location of the shelter itself, but further development that will need access to water ice in permanently shaded regions needs to be considered. Fortunately, the edge of the Shackleton crater also meets this criterion.

2.2 – How do you plan to build your Moon Camp? Consider how you can utilise the Moon’s natural resources, and which materials you would need to bring from Earth. Describe the techniques, materials and your design choices.

The shelter will be brought entirely from Earth. It will launch using Ariane 6 + EL3, or rather Ariane NEXT + EL3 (or some successor of EL3). After launch and flyby to the Moon, the EL3 will land with the shelter and then be unloaded from the EL3. We haven’t designed the exact shelter unloading mechanism yet, because we don’t know what the EL3 will look like exactly.

The only thing used to “build” the shelter will be the lunar regolith as a radiation shield. Eventually, 16 bags of regolith will be placed around the shelter, providing 0.5 meters of radiation shielding. The bags will be filled using the RASSOR excavator. It moves up to 700 kg of regolith per day. Each bag contains 1200 kg of regolith. During the first mission, only four sacks around the sleeping quarters will be filled, which will take 7 days. RASSOR always collects regolith and then drives up the ramp to the tops of the bags, where it dumps the regolith. The crew will have to relocate the ramp after each bag is filled. The rest will take place in autonomous mode.

As for the construction of the shelter, we mainly use a light but strong carbon composite, which allowed us to reduce the overall weight.

In the future, bags will no longer be used for radiation shielding, but rather 3D printing from regolith. It can be used to make garages for rovers and can be used to create protection for inflatable habitats.

2.3 – How does your Moon Camp protect and provide shelter to your astronauts against the Moon’s harsh environment?

On the Moon, we encounter several types of radiation, namely GCR, SPE, and secondary radiation created after the interaction of GCR or SPE with materials. Given the short duration of the mission (14 days), the dose received from the GCR is acceptable (as we know thanks to Apollo). The problem would be if the crew inside were hit by the SPE. Although the probability is low, it could have fatal consequences. Therefore, during the first mission, 0.5 m of regolith shielding will be added around the crew quarters and will be completed around the entire shelter during subsequent missions. This will be enough to protect against smaller solar storms. As the missions get longer, additional shielding will need to be added against large storms.

Micrometeoroids are less common in lunar space and orbital debris is not present at all, so 3mm of carbon composite and MLI will stop them. Adding regolith shielding increases safety even further.

A porch serves as protection against dust. Its interior will be semi-clean and serves, among other things, as storage for things that may not be in the module. Astronauts clean themselves carefully before entering the porch. The dust that gets inside is filtered out by an atmosphere revitalization system, specifically a filter located in each lithium hydroxide canister. The output of the atmosphere revitalization system is in the crew quarters.

Another aspect is the thermal environment. During the crew’s stay in the lights, the shelter systems will have 8 kW of input power that needs to be radiated. We will use a 10 m long radiator to radiate the excess heat. During the five days of darkness, when the crew is not present, the cover will lose 48 kWh, which needs to be supplied by lithium-ion batteries to keep the systems from freezing.

3.1 – How will your Moon Camp provide astronauts with sustainable access to basic needs like water, food, air and power?

The clean air is provided by the atmosphere control system. Oxygen is supplied from pressure tanks under a pressure of 40 MPa. 23 kg of oxygen is needed for the mission, with a reserve there is 35 kg of oxygen in the tanks. This is dosed into the air revitalization section so that the concentration in the atmosphere is 21%. CO2 is removed using LiOH. The crew produces 29 kg of CO2 per mission, for which 32 kg of LiOH is needed to capture, after adding a reserve of 48 kg.

Nitrogen will need to be topped up due to 10% airlock leaks per cycle. There will be a 20 kg supply in the cover.

Food is imported from the Earth. There are 3 meals prepared for each day, for a total of 84 meals per mission. Each meal weighs 0.8 kg.

Water is the only commodity that is recycled. Each crew member consumes 4.4 kg of water per day. More water is produced than consumed, as it is formed during the reaction of LiOH with CO2 and during respiration. 8.8 kg of clean water is needed per day and 12.7 kg is produced. The water that will be cleaned comes from the toilet (urine) or from the heat exchanger (atmospheric condensate). The condensate has a sufficiently low concentration of substances that it can be cleaned directly using forward osmosis. The urine is first vacuum distilled. What remains after forward osmosis is cleaned again using vacuum distillation. The efficiency of the system is above 80%, so more water is always produced than consumed.

The power of the base systems is 8 kW, which is half of what IROSA can deliver. In partial gravity it cannot be used without modification but is used as a reference.

3.2 – How will your Moon Camp deal with the waste produced by the astronauts on the Moon?

Waste on the Moon is a tricky business because we cannot let it burn up in the atmosphere like with the ISS. It is also more expensive to bring things to the Moon, so it needs to be handled judiciously. The crew produces about 20 kg of waste with a volume of 0.2 m3 per mission. Although the current shelter cannot recycle it in any way, we store it in containers and store it in the porch for further use. The waste will mainly consist of paper and plastic packaging, or leftover food, from which carbon, which is rare on the Moon, can be obtained. We can use plastic that can later be recycled and used for 3D printing. In the same way, solid waste from the toilet is stored, which will be valuable for growing plants in the future. Urine is recycled into drinking water.

3.3 – How will your Moon Camp maintain communications with Earth and other Moon bases?

We will use the Moonlight constellation for communication, through which data from the shelter will primarily be sent. Despite this, the shield will have the ability to communicate directly with Earth in a limited mode. We will also use Moonlight to determine the position. There will always be a possibility for an astronaut or rover to communicate directly with the shelter, but the basic choice is Moonlight, also because the horizon from a human height is only 2.4 km away on the Moon.

4.1 – What scientific topic(s) would be the focus of the research in your Moon Camp? Explain which experiments you plan to do on the Moon (for example in the topics of geology, low gravity environment, biology, technology, robotics, astronomy etc.).

As stated at the beginning, the main goal of this shelter is to have a foundation around which to build further, so the scientific equipment is rather minimalistic. The main areas of interest therefore include geology and the possibilities of using local resources. The knowledge will be used during further settlement.

The shelter houses a laboratory that has a glovebox for examining surface samples and preparing them for further experiments. The glovebox includes a fluorescence microscope for studying samples. The glovebox is made in such a way that the samples do not come into contact with the inside of the shelter at all. Another part of the laboratory is the growth chamber, where the cultivation of plants in the lunar environment is studied. For example, cultivation in regolith can be explored. The laboratory also has a small furnace and a press, which will be used to test regolith sintering under different conditions and its subsequent strength. This will provide valuable data that can be further used for the development of 3D printing from regolith.

Tools designed for EVA include hammers, tongs, sieves, core drills and other geological exploration equipment. Spectrometers for rapid rock analysis will also be available. Instruments for measuring space weather or micrometeoroid impacts may be located on the exterior of the base.

In the future, medical devices, other instruments for the study of rocks such as the electron microscope, and instruments for the study of physics and chemistry in partial gravity will be added. Later, astronomy will begin to be performed at our base.

5.1 – What would you include in your astronaut training programme, to help prepare the astronauts for a Moon mission?

The training will primarily involve learning with the shelter’s individual systems. It is necessary to learn how to behave in the event of a malfunction and how to repair it. Next, individual operations will be trained. The main goals of the first mission include the creation of radiation shielding from the regolith, so work in the lunar exterior and work with RASSOR will be practiced. The last area of training will be science. The crew must complete an extensive geological course (if there is no geologist on board) to get the best results from the limited time devoted to science. Training can also take place in volcanic regions here on Earth. Some training will also be done during parabolic flights to simulate reduced gravity.

5.2 – What space vehicles will your future Moon mission need? Describe the vehicles found in your Moon camp and consider how you will travel to and from Earth, and explore new destinations on the Moon’s surface.

The shelter will be transported to the surface using the European large logistics render, which is launched on Ariane 6. It is possible that Ariane NEXT will be available by the time the shelter will be prepared. The crew will launch from the ground in Orion, which will be launched by the SLS. At the Moon, it transfers to the Starship HLS, which them then uses to land. The shelter will be several tens of km away from Starship HLS and Artemis Base Camp to increase the radius of lunar exploration and human settlement on the Moon. The crew will move with the help of a hermetic (in case of emergency, also non-hermetic) rover. At the end of the mission, the crew will return to Artemis Base Camp using the rover and return to earth using the Starship HLS and Orion.