Describe your Moon Camp project.
From the central cylindrical structure with dome (Command and Communication Centre), six radial structures branch out: the three long hexagonal hallways (10.7 m) lead to the larger areas, useful for
maintaining astronauts, a hydroponic Greenhouse (NFT type) and Living Spaces, and to the rover Hangar
(the real entrance to the Camp, as there is a pressurization anteroom).The smaller hallways (6 m) lead
instead to the spaces useful to ensure the self-sufficiency of the base (Energy Storage, Production of
Oxygen and Water), in the same shape as the Command Centre. Outside the base there are three antennas
for communications. Solar panels stretch on the three upper sides of all hallways on an area of
approximately 264 square-meters and around the base for 60 square-meters. In addition, under the central structure there is a
tank for storing water.
Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?
Team Lucine agreed that the camp will rise up in the huge Aitken crater, on the far side of the moon. The
inner wall of Aitken is terraced (as verified by Apollo 17), so the base will be built very easily and life will be
very comfortable. In particular, it is located near the lunar South Pole; here, thanks to the prolonged
exposure to sunlight, the temperatures lay in a narrow interval: from 0 °C to 60 °C. Furthermore, in the
crater ice deposits and lots of underground lava tubes are concentrated. These tubes, created by the
primordial lunar volcanic activity, will be used as warehouses: they can be useful to the astronauts as the
above soil is able to shield dangerous radiations, too. Moreover, ice water will be a fundamental resource
to allow the life of scientists and the upkeep of the Greenhouse.
How do you plan to build your Moon Camp? Describe the techniques and materials you would use.
The main construction material will be the regolith, characterized by a varied composition and particularly widespread on the lunar soil. In particular, iron-aluminium alloys will be used given by the melting of the regolith (at a temperature of 950 °C): this will be possible through the use of three-dimensional industrial printers. The structures will have parts in reinforced glass (useful for example in the Greenhouse to let light in to improve the growth of crops): to make it can be used silicon (which makes up about 20% of the satellite). The command centre and the three smaller structures will be equipped with double-shell domes (quarries, to be used as storehouses), to ensure greater protection and facilitate their repair in appropriate cases. The hallways will be regularly interspersed doors (like sections), to avoid problems (for example of depressurization) by isolating the spaces concerned.
Water is indispensable both for the life of the settlers and the crops in the Greenhouse. The main source will be the recycling: urine will be made drinkable through a treatment in the Water Recovery System and in the Urine Processing Assembly, and several drying systems will be used to obtain water from the recycling of moist air. Yet the team provided other solutions: in fact, the colony will be located near the South Pole. Once extracted, the ice present in the polar caps can be treated so to use the water in the ways mentioned.
An essential food sources is going to be the food brought from the Earth (can food and dehydrated food). In the Greenhouse-module, vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes will be produced; fruit trees will be planted, too. Spirulina will grow in a specific tank: a nutrient-rich unicellular alga, full of proteins, amino acids, and lipids. The presence of Omega-3 and the great deal make it possible to get better cholesterol and triglycerides level in the blood, normalize blood pressure, increase the production of myelin sheaths, and improve the functionality of the immune system.
The principal energy source will be sunlight, which will be captured and converted by a photovoltaic system (a great part of this will be preserved in a specific structure). These panels, which produce on average 275 kWh per square-meters, will be assembled on the surface of the hallways and around the base, to save space and materials. When lunar eclipses will occur, stored energy can be used, too. Finally, in case of emergency, astronauts will be able to use lithium-sulphur batteries. Despite their reduced life cycle, they offer specific energies of about 500 W⋅h/Kg.
Oxygen will obviously be an indispensable resource to guarantee the survival of the astronauts. It will be produced from the plants grown in the hydroponic Greenhouse. In general, breathable air will be spread thanks to a Dual Flow Ventilation System, which will allow the recirculation of clean air and an appropriate distribution in all the environments. Furthermore, in one of the small structure a photobioreactor (which utilizes a light source to cultivate phototrophic microorganisms) will be set up for the plantation of Spirulina, that produces large quantities of oxygen (which can be easily stored).
The environment on the Moon is very dangerous for the astronauts. Explain how your Moon Camp will protect them.
Before living on the moon, astronauts will face the following problems: micrometeorites, solar radiation, temperature changes between day and night and atmospheric pressure. Due to the incidence of sunlight (the Camp will be located near the Aitken crater, at the South Pole) and the low speed of heat propagation on the Moon, the temperatures will be bearable and in the module, there will be a ventilation system and heating. The structures will be in iron-aluminium alloys with 20-30 cm thick walls so to resist impacts and isolate the heat inside, as well as shield radiation. The base will be permanently inhabited only when the construction is well advanced, so the oxygen produced in the meantime will be used in the module to stabilize the pressure. In addition, near the crater there are lava tunnels that can be used as warehouses or shelters, before the astronauts settle in the structure.
Describe a day on the Moon for your Moon Camp astronaut crew.
Since it is a lunar colony, on the whole, research and collections of samples and data will certainly made.
Team Lucine thought that the ideal crew will be made up of 6 researchers: all astronauts will take care of
everything, however specialists will be needed in areas such as botany, medicine, communications, and
module maintenance. The colony will be able to communicate with Earth using a geostationary satellite as a repeater. In the first part of the day (regarding the 24-hour terrestrial one), each crew member
will devote himself to the activities of his competence (where appropriate) to easily manage the production
and facilities of the base, making the necessary checks. Once the tasks have been carried out, the
astronauts can meet in the dining room to eat together: there will have to be collaboration and friendship
between the members of the establishment, therefore eating together will stimulate conversation,
favouring the sociability and compactness of the crew. Obviously, they will consume an adequate number
of meals during the day to satisfy the right caloric needs, but in the event of shortages, the infirmary
included in the housing complex will be available, with the necessary first aid tools and drugs. The other
research will be carried out externally, directly on the lunar soil, with the appropriate rover: like vans, they
include a mini-laboratory suitable for immediate analysis of samples etc. Then, in reference to NASA studies
and projects, to capture images and data to be sent to Earth they will be able to use one of the nearby
craters as an infrared telescope (by placing a receiver in an elevated position), without the interference due
to the proximity to the Earth’s magnetic field and other background noises. For the rest of the time the
astronauts will be able to carve out a space dedicated to recreation and physical activity: it is not a
coincidence that the house is rather spacious and also offers a gym with a “locker room” equipped with
nebulizing showers (which reduce water consumption by 70%, since it is a “steam bath”). At the end
of the day, once the last checks to ensure that the module is fully functional have been made, the
astronauts can meet for dinner and finally go to the dormitories.