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.
Our base is a modular pod system, allowing for easy adaptations and expansions to the base as it develops. It also makes construction and assembly easier and more efficient as much of the base is constructed to standardised dimensions and is connected by identical passageways to separate out the camp and to offer protection against incidents like fire and depressurisation. The secular design of three central domes allows for the mimicking of day to day earth life wherein astronauts are able to separate home and work life, an important aspect of maintaining a productive and healthy lunar lifestyle. The base would primarily be used for research purposes and as a preliminary off-planet settlement, then to be continued and mimicked as a Martian Base. For this reason, we have designed an extensive laboratory which is designed both to monitor algae production and also to hold isolated lunar samples for analysis.
Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?
We have selected a crater rim on the lunar north pole as the location of our moon base. The site lies in near-constant sunlight and is also suspected of having large stores of water ice. Permanently sunlit areas would provide our moon base with crucial solar energy and the ability to grow algae, which is a critical component of our base. Moreover, the pre-existing crater infrastructure is ideal for allowing the excavation of lunar soil and the construction of foundations from 3D printed regolith.
How do you plan to build your Moon Camp? Describe the techniques and materials you would use.
As our base is partially underground, we would begin by excavating the area and, using the excavated regolith as a concrete substitute, would 3D print the foundations and walls of our subterranean structures. From here, the process is repeated throughout the base. Using powdered regolith, we would 3D print a glass substitute which is proven to be stronger than steel, and ideal for protecting our astronauts against asteroids or debris. Around the glass, we plan to use aluminium to secure the panels into a geodesic structure to maximise strength. All walkways in our base incorporate ‘Pavegen’ technology to amplify efficiency and reduce energy wastage around the base. These shall be shipped up to the base as their complex design would prove difficult to produce in the base. However, the base’s workshop allows for routine repair work to be carried out easily.
Water is an essential element around our base, not just for consumption purposes but also for hygiene as well as in our algae system. We have chosen our location on the lunar north pole specifically because previous expeditions provide evidence of large stores of ice here and we plan to take advantage of this source. We are planning to excavate this with the same machines used for the base construction, before processing it in the base.
All water used around the base will be recycled for further use and our algae systems are specially designed to do this automatically.
The first stage of our food source shall be brought up from the earth, and this will be essential whilst the base is in its early stages and before algae production systems are in full operation. We have designed algae production units and processing systems around the layout of the base. We shall process the algae using the machines we have designed which will dehydrate, ground and store the algae for later use as a flour, nutrient and egg supplement. Although further supplies shall be required from the earth, it is hoped that this shall improve the base’s self-reliability.
As solar power will be our primary power source we have stationed 900 square meters of solar panels on our model, and we estimate with data from the ISS that this should produce a near-constant 85-90kW of power. However, whilst this is a reliable source, panels may become obscured, and so to supplement this we have installed a system of Pavegen panels around the base. Pavegen technology works such that when pressure is applied, kinetic energy is produced which can then be carried around the base through a system of cables installed in the infrastructure. We have included a series of batteries within the utility dome which would have the capacity to store excess power.
Our algae systems are able to remove CO2 from the surrounding air and create oxygen as a bi-product. We would use water ice located around the base and recyclable nutrients transported from the earth, to grow endless supplies of algae and perform constant air purification. The system’s efficiency levels and production would be monitored from the utility dome via a control display. The base’s lab would also have the ability to carry out tests on the machines and monitor for signs of decay within the algae cycle to minimise loss of production.
How do you plan to build your Moon Camp? Which materials would you use?
The environment on the Moon is very dangerous for the astronauts. Explain how your Moon Camp will protect them.
As the base is designed to be largely subterranean there would be natural protection from the moon’s surface. We plan to use 3D printed regolith as a concrete substitute which is designed to deflect incoming meteorites and harmful radiation. The geodesic structure of the domes is designed to be strong and withstand meteor-showers and debris impact. Moreover, ‘glass’ around the base will be 3D printed with regolith from the adjacent crater and is proven to be as strong as steel. Passageways around the base separate the pods for fire and depressurisation protection, reducing the risk of a ‘Base Wide’ crisis.
Describe a day on the Moon for your Moon Camp astronaut crew.
Our base would primarily be created as a preliminary mission in preparation for future Martian missions and research facility. Therefore, the majority of tasks being carried out will be monitoring the psychological impacts of the mission, the success of the base and performing scientific experiments on the surrounding lunar environment.
Within the Recreational area, we have designed the Living Quarters, Gym and the Storage Dome. We have formatted the Recreational Dome’s layout such that the gym lies lower in the ground than the other domes which will allow for a cooler environment for the astronauts to work out in. The design of two layers in the Recreational Dome leads astronauts towards the Gym and promotes a positive outlook on exercise. After starting the day in the Living Quarters; equipped with a kitchen, shower units and bedrooms; astronauts head to the Gym.
The Central Dome acts to unite the base, creating a centre to it. Alongside the Central Dome are the Control Centre and Med Bay. After travelling to the Central Dome, the astronauts will attend a daily video link with mission control on earth. This has two main purposes; it allows astronauts to remain in contact with friends and family on Earth, whilst also giving the opportunity to set an agenda for the day and communicate any developments which have occurred. After this, they travel to the Med Bay for routine vitals check-ups via the multi-purpose scanner and receive any supplements depending on each astronauts’ individual needs.
The astronauts continue to the Work Dome where they complete their daily tasks. Within the Work section of the base are located the Lab, Rover Storage unit and utility dome. The Work Dome itself acts as a workshop and here astronauts would complete tasks ranging from maintenance to the production of new parts and devices using machines such as the 3D printers, and CNC cutter. As well as the workshop, astronauts could also carry out experiments using the base’s Laboratory. From the Lab, astronauts can complete experiments on lunar samples, monitor algae production and health, and use monitors to access scientific records.
At the end of the day, astronauts would return ‘home’ and after attending the gym again would be expected to eat and socialise together.
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