Mooncamp challenge
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DreamCamper – Moon Camp Challenge
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  • DreamCamper
Description
Date : 30/09/2019
Qualification : 1st place - Non ESA Member State
Country : China
Location : Suzhou, Jiangsu

2.1.a. You are about to land on the Moon. You have to make some decisions about the location of your settlement. Where would you locate your shelter on the Moon’s surface?
Close to the Lunar Poles

2.1.b. Explain your choice from question 2.1.
At a distance of about 550 kilometers from the North Pole of the Moon, there are lava tube skylights. We decide to camp in one of the lava tubes. Firstly, the lava tube is covered by very thick moon shell, which is a natural protection for impact and cosmic radiation. So, it can protect our staff. Secondly, the special structure of the lava tube allows a relatively little temperature fluctuation. As a result, the temperature condition inside is more controllable than that on the surface, which means it’s more suitable to establish a lunar base in the lava tube. Moreover, according to a newly study conducted by Purdue University, the lava tube with a diameter of 0.6 miles (about 1 km) or more is very stable and can be used as a permanent base for humans. Therefore, considering the size, shape, lighting conditions and geological conditions of the integrated base, the lava caves at several meters underneath the Malius hills should be the best place for the base.

2.2.a. Where would you build the shelter: on the surface or underground?
Underground

2.2.b. Explain your choice to question 2.2.
First,there are many dusts on the moon surface, which may cause bad effects on human body and the equipment. Moreover, there is no atmosphere and geomagnetic field on the lunar surface, leading to a large temperature fluctuation range and no protection for the cosmic rays. Second,the surface of the lava tube is covered by very thick moon shell, which is a natural radiation and impact-proof shield. And the special structure of the lava tube allows a relatively little temperature fluctuation. Thus, the staff can have better protection and the design of the living quarters can be simplified as well. Last,the rock of the cave contains ice water sediments, which may be used for domestic water and fuel production in the future. Mining water on the moon will also save the weight and space of the spacecraft.

3.1. What will be the size of your Moon Camp?
We chose the natural lava tube as the base, for there is a lot of space and we can gradually expand our base in the future. The current camp consists mainly of four approximately cylindrical buildings with a diameter of about ten meters and a height of three meters each. The buildings are linked by a sealed passage with a width of 2 meters and a height of 2.5 meters. The total space of the camp is about 3,126 cubic meters.

3.2.a. How many people will your Moon Camp accommodate?
3 – 4 astronauts

3.2.b. Explain your choice to question 3.2.
There are four main cabins in our camp, which are used for planting research, energy production, research, and living. Each astronaut is responsible for one of the studies, so from the perspective of research and life, 3 to 4 astronauts are needed. At the same time, from a psychological point of view, astronauts live in space, without the companion of family and friends, without a place for entertainment and decompression. And they are required to take their work and life seriously. If there is only one person, he may feel lonely easily and tend to be one-sided and subjective when making decisions. Though if there are two people, they can discus and make decisions together, their positive and negative emotions will affect each other. Any misunderstanding between them may lead the research to an impasse. Therefore, 3~4 astronauts are more reasonable, although it may cost more money.

3.3.a. Which local Moon resources would you use?
•Water ice
•Regolith (Lunar soil)
•Sunlight
•Other

3.3.b. Explain your choice to question 3.3.
We chose four local resources: ice, regolith, sunlight, and rock. We can extract oxygen from the lunar soil, the oxygen content of which can reach 40%, for use as the rocket propellant. And water can be synthesized for human use. Lunar soil has a silicon content of 20% and can be used in solar cells. Lunar soil also contains Helium-3,it is a rare nuclear fuel on the earth. If it is fully exploited, it can meet the energy needs of hundreds of years around the world. Of course, it can also meet the fuel supply of the lunar base. The lunar natural glass can be made into a high-strength structural composite material after physical treatment. Water is the source of human life. So, we decided to use the water on the moon directly to reduce the unnecessary occupation of the precious space of the supply ship. During the mining process, we also put the lunar rocks into use. Because by analyzing the composition of the moonstone, we can get to know the evolution history of the solar system and the earth. Moreover, moonstones also contain water molecules. There is no atmosphere on the surface of the moon. The solar radiation can come directly to the surface. The annual solar radiation energy in the lunar is about 12 trillion kilowatts. We can make full use of solar energy to build a solar power station and transmit the heat generated by sunlight to the living area, which can be used to heat food.

3.4. Explain how you plan to build your project on the Moon. You should include information about the materials and building techniques you are planning to use. Highlight the unique features of your design.
Building the living compartment in the lava tube can effectively protect us from the danger of cosmic radiation. The lunar basalt is processed into concrete so as to make the roof and walls of the building. In case that the lava tube will collapse, we intend to extract aluminum and iron from the lunar ore, and make them into the support frames of ring shape, cylindrical shape, etc. So that the base will be firmer. The aerogel material is used inside the concrete layer, which is durable and can withstand temperatures up to 1400 degrees Celsius. It can be used as a thermal insulation material for camps and as a core material for spacesuits. The inflatable structure made of aerogels make the entire camp a confined space, ensuring that air does not escape. We will transport aerogels from the earth, for it is light in weight and will not add extra pressure to the spacecraft load. Lunar natural glass is also used to build our camp. After physical treatment, it can be made into high-strength structural composite materials. In order to make sure good life and work conditions of the astronauts, in the early days of the landing, the essentials and sleeping cabins necessary for astronauts are prefabricated from the earth. After we arrive at the moon, the materials will be transported to the interior of the lava cave. All other building structures and internal facilities are completed by 3D printing, and the source material is moon soil. In addition, the outer layer of the camp is covered with semiconductor temperature sensors, which take the temperature difference into electricity. This makes up for the problem that solar power cannot be used at night. Our camp is well-organized, divided into living area, planting area, scientific research area, and energy mining area. Each compartment is connected by a channel. The four parts together make a circle. At the center of the circle locates the scientific research area (including the escape zone) and we can reach any area through the passages.

3.5. Describe and explain the design of the entrance to your Moon Camp.
We designed the entrance structure of the moon camp with a dome shape to enhance the external impact resistance.The entrance of the camp is designed with three cabins. The first cabin is the closest to the outside, which is used to store the moon rover and common detection tools. The second cabin is a buffer compartment to prevent the escape of air. Static electricity removes dust from the astronauts and prevents harmful dust from entering the living area. The third one is the changing room, where the astronauts can change their spacesuits and working clothes to get into the camp. All the doors of the three compartments are made of lunar natural glass with high strength and good tightness.

3.6. Explain how the Moon Camp provides protection for the astronauts.
When we built the moon camps, we used aerogel as an insulating layer to maintain the inside temperature.In addition, our camp is built in a cave, which provides us with protection.In each area, we installed “protective bed” which has strong impact force and radiation protection. We still placed the necessity stuff that maintains life inside. In case of emergency, the staff members can enter and avoid as quickly as possible. We also designed a special escape area, which located above the scientific research area, and other areas can also directly access the escape area.There are small spacecrafts in this area that can locate and eject accurately back to earth.

3.7. Describe the location and arrangements of the sleeping and working areas.
We divided our sleeping and working areas into two different areas. The sleeping area is located in the living cabin, the innermost and deepest part of the camp (the soil covers more than two meters), so that the astronauts can sleep safely away from cosmic radiation.The living cabin is divided into two floors underground, and the astronauts can walk up and down the stairs.The upper floor is equipped with a gym, and the lower floor is a living room. The sleeping cabin is equipped with AI system, which has an emergency escape function. That can temporarily protect the personal safety of the astronauts through closed measures in case of emergency. The working area is located in the center of the camp. It’s a structure with one floor above ground and two floors underground. The first floor underground is the scientific research center which is about one meter away from the ground. All the information collected by external sensors will be gathered here for intelligent analysis. The second floor underground is a water ice factory, and we set the working area in the center in order to facilitate the rapid delivery of water to various areas.Through the water signal sensing system, the robotic arm was ordered to dig into the ground in a planned way, to mine the moon’s solid water source, and to treat and purify the water ice factory.

4.1. Describe what will be the power source for the shelter.
Three power generation methods will ensure the supply of electricity at all times. The average temperature of the moon’s surface during the day differs from that at night by 300 degrees Celsius. According to the theory of Seebeck Effect, thermoelectric generators are expensive to manufacture, so we just use it for the initial lunar landing. Since the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, sunlight hitting the lunar surface generates a lot of heat. Solar panels automatically measure and adjust the heat at an angle perpendicular to the sun’s rays. And it can produce high-pressure steam power through thermal energy.When groundwater is mined, solar power is used instead of thermal power. Lunar soil contains Helium-3.The construction and usage of thermonuclear reactors with Helium-3 are free of neutron radiation and do not pose any environmental hazards. After the construction of the camp, the solar power will be gradually converted to nuclear power.

4.2. Describe where the water will come from.
Our initial supply will be the water from earth.After encampment,we mine the moon’s water directly. All the water on the surface of the moon is in the form of water ice, and we’re going to dig down in the lower part of the camp to get water. It will cost much time but once mined successfully, we will have a stable provide of water source .Until then, we’ll have to extract liquid water molecules from the lunar soil and rocks.

4.3. Describe what will be the food source.
Our camp is equipped with a separate planting cabin located in the half underground. It’s beneficial to collect sunlight. According to the experience of the international space station (iss), we select lots of crops that are rich in a variety of nutrients, such as potatoes, Lebanon, wheat, oats, wheat, corn, soy, tomatoes, turnip, cabbage, sugar beet, etc. In order to prevent plant variation due to radiation effects, the top of the planting cabin is isolated with a radiation protective coating.We try to breed animals, carry fertilized eggs from the earth, hatch chickens on the moon, set up chicken farms, improve the lunar agricultural base. All the things we do to ensure the supply of protein.Before that, of course, we’ll have to bring a certain amount of food supplies from earth to provide a nice environment to the astronauts.

5.1. What would you like to study on the Moon?
There is no atmospheric barrier on the moon, so it is an excellent astronomical observation condition there. We set up an observatory in the research center and hope to understand the unknown universe through astronomical research. At the same time through real-time monitoring, protect the earth from meteorite disaster. The soil and rocks of the moon are rich in elements rarely seen on earth. Meanwhile, the surface of the moon has experienced cosmic radiation for a long time. We hope to study the geology of the moon and find resources that are beneficial to human beings. Furthermore, the age of the moon is similar to that of the earth. We hope to know more about the origin and evolution of the solar system by analyzing the composition of the moon. Living and growing on the moon itself can also help us gain a fuller understanding of life sciences, such as humans, animals and plants.

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