Mooncamp challenge
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Pioneers give score to projects – Moon Camp Challenge
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Team: Test 1

Cowes Enterprise College  Cowes    United Kingdom 14 or younger   1 / 0
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Project description

Our moon camp is designed to be a first outpost on the moon for exploration and scientific and infrastructural development and is designed to be habitable throughout the lunar cycle. Using a lava tube for protection the setup will not require large amounts of excavation or heavy radiation shielding from Earth. The base is divided into different sections each with its own purpose and equipment, such as medical or hydroponics treatment, the latter of which will add nutrients into the water going to the hydroponics bays, and also utilise an experimental aquaponics system to see how fish develop on the moon for a potential food source. The base is designed to access local resources such as ice from craters and metals and other resources on the surface. The project is designed to act as a staging ground for further expansion to the base, allowing a large crew and more resources.

2.1 Where do you want to build your Moon Camp?

The moon base will be close to the north pole. We have decided that this is the best location because; near the lunar north pole are craters, at the bottom of which is water ice. The ice can be mined out of the craters and brought back to base. Being near to the north pole means that any vehicle travelling to the craters will not have to travel far. It will mine the ice before returning to base.
Our base will probably be in the Philolaus crater as it is suspected that there are lava tubes there. Closer to the poles the sun remains in the sky quasi-permanently so solar energy can be used all the time. We want to make our base in a lava tube because it will protect the base from radiation and micrometeorites. If lava tubes are discovered further north, we would use them instead

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

To construct the base, we would send modular parts via payload rockets. The parts would then be used to construct different structures and vehicles. The base floor will be constructed out of triangular panels made from aluminium, with a hexagonal core to maintain strength but reduce weight, to lower costs. The walls will be made from aluminium poles, formed to make a dome, and triple-layer plastic canvas, so that any leaks can be detected with sensors and identify which layer(s) have punctured. The vehicles will be sent up in parts that are easily assembled, the parts must be robust enough for continued use without repair, however, repairs for the vehicles will be kept in the shed on the surface, which will be made with metal panels sent from the Earth. The tanks and other external equipment will be sent up in parts and assembled on the moon.

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 moon camp will provide protection from the dangers of space, by being built within a lava tube. This will provide protection from micrometeorites, extremes of temperature and ionising radiation from the sun and deep space. There’ll be an artificial day and night cycle, this makes sure that the plants/animals behave normally and crew members don’t have disturbed sleep. The walls will contain stable levels of oxygen and humidity so that all organisms have a habitat to survive in. To ensure that crew’s mental health does not degrade, contact between friends and family will be kept and each person will be allowed one kilogram of personal belongings. Exercise machines will ensure that the crew’s muscles and bone structures do not decay due to a lack of gravity. To ensure static electricity generated by charged particles doesn’t damage electrical equipment, the base will be grounded onto the surface of the moon.

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

After the base is set up, a hopper rocket will fly on a suborbital trajectory, to craters identified with ice at the bottom, and land in the crater. The ice will be mined and stored in radial detachable tanks. Once back at base, the ice will be offloaded into a large metal tank. During the lunar day, the tank will heat up due to the sun’s thermal energy. As the ice melts, water will sink to the bottom of the tank. The water will flow down buried pipes, into a pumping station to make the water useable in the base.

The food will be grown in hydroponics bays by botanists. The hydroponics will be rows of pipe that will have holes in them every 457.2mm. The pipes will be on rails so they can be moved to access other rows. We will grow soya beans for protein, calcium and fats; sweet potatoes for carbohydrates and vitamin A; ducks/duck eggs for protein, vitamin B and D; bell peppers for vitamins C and E, and Brussel sprouts for vitamin K. The ducks must have genetic diversity so unfertilized egg cells will be taken. There will be a kitchen to cook the foods.

Solar power will be used during the day. Panels are needed to power the entire base and also charge up batteries for the night. For the base to have enough power during the night, a mixture of power sources must be used. A solution is to use hydrogen fuel cells, electrolyse the water during the day to turn it into H2 and O2, this can be combusted to release energy. Another solution is an RTG (Radioisotope-Thermal-Generation) but because of the radiation it produces, this is not the best. Human excrement could be digested down into methane and burnt for power.

The initial source of oxygen will be imported from Earth. We will electrolyse the water to attain oxygen. This process will also form hydrogen gas which can then be reused in the same process. We will electrolyse the water attained by melting the lunar ice. A partial quantity of oxygen will be derived from compounds found in lunar ores, these compounds include aluminium oxide, iron(||) oxide, titanium dioxide, sodium oxide etc. Nitrogen will most likely have to be imported from Earth.

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


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

The crew have rotary sleep patterns so at least 2 members of the crew are awake if an emergency occurs. Each member, when they awake, will wash and eat breakfast they will then begin work on their jobs each crew member will have multiple roles to fulfil, and there will be two experts of a job on mission that will be awake while the other sleep. The crew will monitor systems through the base to ensure that no systems critical or otherwise break. If a component or system breaks then the engineers will take the system or machine to engineering, if it’s within the base, or to the shed where equipment will be stored to require the faults and allow the damage objects to continue serving the mission, if items are damaged beyond repair then replacements will be sent. The crew will also ferry materials harvested by the harvesters down to the smeltery where the crew’s metallurgist, of which there will be one, will process the materials and refine them to make useful resources and oxygen, as most ores are in metal oxide form on the moon. The botanists will run the hydroponics and aquaponics systems to ensure that the base has enough food, however, the food produced will likely not be enough to be completely self-sufficient and so will require food supplies from Earth, however, due to the food being grown this will increase the time between supply ships. The crew will conduct science experiments in their field to increase understanding of the moon, such as its geological structure or the effects of low gravity on living organisms. This research will help to increase our understanding of how to create a sustaining base on the moon and ways and local resources, that could be used, to expand the base and increase its population. The crew could also research the pros and cons of industry and resource extraction on the moon for future reference when constructing a large moon base or settlement. The crew might also later in the project construct new facilities sent from Earth or built from resources and equipment on the moon. Before the lunar night, the crew will assess the resources and energy stored within the base. During the night they will watch the levels of hydrogen and if needs be turn off some systems to ensure the base keeps power for critical systems like life-support.

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Total score 4.00

Jury ratings

Jury member: Adrian Suhanea
Innovation 4
Software skills 4
Suitability 4
Answers 4
Total score 4

Testing score for

Team: Test 1