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Moon/Mars habitats

Posted by: Andy Hill - Sat Jan 01, 2005 11:21 am
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Moon/Mars habitats 
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Post Moon/Mars habitats   Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 11:21 am
I have been looking at a lot of proposed future moon/mars bases and most seem to have some form of inflatable tunnel or dome attached. This is obviously an easy light weight solution to increasing the base's volume.

Given that most of the Martian landers have deployed some form of airbag to cushion their landing, would it be possible to somehow modify these airbags to be reconfigured into additional living space once the craft has landed?

I'm not sure whether this airbag landing technique has been used on the moon but see no reason why it couldn't, obviously the lack of atmosphere means that any beneficial drag is not present but it would still act as a cushion and maybe reduce the amount of rocket power needed to slow the descent by absorbing some of the energy on landing.

This would work if the habitat was deployed separately from the crew so that it would be ready for them to take up residence in when they arrived.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 1:05 pm
Inflatable structures on the moon can't be very big unless (off course) supported by 'beams' and other means of a skeleton structures, similar to in a tent. One problem would be to keep and pressure and oxygen from depleating. Furthermore, if some astronout would fall against the 'wall', how would and should the wall react?
And in case of an emergency, wouldnt be harder to make a small part air-tight because it will bend?

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In theory and on earth you can get very far, but unless you test a lot off different things on a large scale in space, progress will be slow.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 1:31 pm
Stefan wrote:
Inflatable structures on the moon can't be very big unless (off course) supported by 'beams' and other means of a skeleton structures, similar to in a tent. One problem would be to keep and pressure and oxygen from depleating. Furthermore, if some astronout would fall against the 'wall', how would and should the wall react?
And in case of an emergency, wouldnt be harder to make a small part air-tight because it will bend?


Bigelow is planning to have inflatable structures in space which, I think, rely on the internal pressure to keep them rigid or possibly a central core which acts as a support, in the case of a moon base the central core would be the lander. If this were not feaible then internal tubes could be inflated to a higher pressure or filled with an expanding foam that solidifys to give support.

Bigelow's inflatables are made up of many layers and perhaps the outer layer could be used as an airbag and the inner layers only inflated once the craft has come to a rest.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 5:35 pm
As nanocarbontubes may be used in practice in ten to fifteen years in the future they may be used then as walls of inflatables too.

Nanaocarbontubes can withstand tenses much higher than the tense cause by an astronuat falling to that wall. Because of this the tubes will withstand sharp edges of rocks too I suppose. And nothing "crashes" on the moon's surface as fast as on the Earth's surface. So there shouldn't be any reason not to use inflatables that way.

May be that airbags will be made of nancarbontubes then or a few years later too. They will remain intact then and could be made parts of inflatables then I suppose. But at Mars they perhaps may be no longer available some years later perhaps - if Earth gets a space elevator in ten or fifteen years (which isn't impossible) Mars may get one too. The elevator would make possible very safe landing compared to now and no airbags wouldn't be required then any longer.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:00 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
- if Earth gets a space elevator in ten or fifteen years (which isn't impossible) Mars may get one too. The elevator would make possible very safe landing compared to now and no airbags wouldn't be required then any longer.


I think that even if space elevators are installed on the Moon or Mars (I agree that this would be a good idea should the technology prove possible), the amount of weight that they will be able to carry in a single load will not be equivalent to anything like that of a Moon/Mars base. Over time the amount might be equal to many tonnes but individual loads are likely to be limited to a few hundred kgs at a time, from what I've read at least. Also surface infrastructure is needed in place to take full advantage of the elevator's benefits and this is likely to be built first.

A ground base needs to be built first so that the elevator can carry refined fuel up to waiting spacecrafts in orbit. The easiest way to do this is in large pieces or all in one part. Another advantage with the airbag method is that you can place the base(s) where you want rather than having to transport them across the Lunar surface from the space elevator.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:04 pm
In 15 years we should allready have a large-scale base on the moon, so nanotubes won't be a realistic option. We're talking about now, not 10 to 15 years from now. Besides, we know what happens to predictions and estimates of developement of technology.

In my opinion, everybody, even nasa, is looking for exotic means etc. etc. while we dont need them right now. Sure, warp-engines would be nice, but hey, before they even can be tested in real life, it will take a decade to do pre-flight testing etc. etc. So developement is a long way. Even now, with thecnology being developend every day, how long does it take to even get them onto the market. 5 years? 10 years? Some can get faster onto the market but for these delicate technology we really need some huge-ass breakthrough to make it work economically in 10 years. No offense Ekkehard, but i don't think we're gonna use those nanocarbontubes fo a moonbase. A more realistic goal would be for mars. That will be, hopefully, in 20 to 25 years. I suppose by then nanotechnology should become increasingly more important since computers alone would require (e.g. need) it by then.

Moonbases should be build cheap and in diverse forms/structures. Small test could prove the (economic) efficiency of those testbases en then start large-scale production. If they are build in a modular design, you can let a bases grow whenever you need to. If you also design the module in such way that the content would bedesigned to its standard form, and not the structure to the content (it off course needs to have at least the height and width for some meaningfull human breathing room).

Still, the biggest and costliest step of a moonbase will be to get there i think. If SpaceX can make it happen for the prizes they state on their website, moonbase projects can become cheaper to.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:28 pm
Although I have seen articles saying that elevators could be built on the Moon now without the need for nanotechnology using existing materials because of its lower gravity, I think it would be much better to start building the bases now in readiness for future explorers and testing the technology.

Stefan:- I agree a lot of people are concentrating on exotic technology rather than current engineering that would get them there now. We should be looking for incremental steps, not breakthroughs that are rare and less likely to happen in an environment where nobody is actually going into space but just looking at concepts that might get them there.

My original post was trying to use a resource (airbags) that up to now have been left unused once their primary function has been achieved.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 02, 2005 5:05 pm
Some fractional answers only:

I didn't think of a space elevator at the moon - very slow rotation.

In the technology section I quoted an article in the last days of December 2004 saying that NAS people are considering the nanocarbontube-technology to be close to be ready for first practicle use in space. The article includes an interesting list of purposes - radiation shielding for example. And consider the amount of carbon required for a 100,000 km long cable of 1 nanometer diameter: 1 * 10^8 m * 1 + 10^-9 m * 1* 10^-9 = 1* 10^-10 m^3 - which means that o one cube meter 10^10 100,000 km long nanocarbontube-cables could be made - no problem to satisfy all needs from the elevator down to the computer. The article shows a piece of nanocarbontubes - we don't have to wait for a decade and it's a prediction no longer. The elevator is a prediction but we are closer to it now too. Let's observer how the developments and the evolution of the technology is going on.

A warp drive would be an Alcubierre drive seen from now - and the Alcubierre drive has been proved to include an error which not has been removed since it has been detected. One scientist should work on it but perhaps there is no sufficient interest in doing so.

Sorry, Andy Hll,

I didn't recognize earlier that you are mentioning airbags that have been used up to now - like those of the Mars Rovers.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:14 pm
well we will be using carbon nanotubes for sime things like you're TV's and some sport items, home equipment will be using carbon nanotubes in the next 5 years. And the tech will be used by the Military too, within 2 years+

We already use carbon nanotubes on some sports gear already. Its just mass producing them is a problem we are actualy overcoming, shouldnt be too long I hope.

By the time we do get to the moon, nanotechnology will prob be a trillion dollar marke by 2011t. It will be a somewhat mature technology. They expect more radical things to come along within 15-20 years from nanotechnology. some What you might regard as " science fiction "

Id say that by 2015 Nanotech will definintly be all around us. including space

The possibilities are endless. Spacecraft that would wiegh something around 50 % lighter, could be upto 100 x stronger!

other applications might include, energy storage, life support systems, thermal materials, nanoelectronics, nanosensors, electrostatic discharge materials, and biomedical applications.

We are right at an industrial revoloution. Biotech, nanotech, information Technology. These are going to PUSH space travel more forward than most realize. Im so confident that the time we are living in now is much bigger than anything before now.

I mean these materials are not just, strong. for example, we could create armor for example and be as thin as a piece of paper and could stop a .45 caliber bullet.

This Exciting time, things will move along quite fast this century. I think.


Last edited by whoa182 on Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:09 am
just to ask a question here.
Nasa want the CEV to replace the shuttle and be around until they get to mars after the moon and to be fair quite a few years from now yeah!? so they are probably not going to use much more suffisticated materials than they have now as the designs are already being narrowed down right? how can this work with nonotech' etc growing rapidly the fleet will be out of date as soon as it's flying? surely the better solution would be to build ships faster for smaller missions and keep improving them like the VSS series propsed where they have tiers to improve the shiops with seperate goals? dangerous perhaps but surely the private ships will harness new technology over and over in the next few years while nasa willbe building new ships with average technology? it's like flying x-wings against 747s, god im sorry for that example!
Rob

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:08 pm
Look at these points listed by the article "Nanotechnology: Scientists Pin Big Hopes on a Small Scale" ( www.space.com/businesstechnology/techno ... 41222.html ):

Nanosensors and Instrumentation: Tiny, wireless, fast, super sensitive and non-invasive sensors and instruments could be fitted with chemical, electronic or optical detectors for science missions, particularly for use in on-the-spot analysis and robotic operations.

Nano-micro-macro Integration: Nanotechnologies could be incorporated into systems useful on a more human scale, such as life support equipment and environmental monitoring systems.

Astronaut health management: Space travelers on lengthy voyages could use nanotechnology to combat high-radiation environments, to fabricate medical monitors and healing devices, and to help reduce or overcome the stresses and strains stemming from long-term space treks.

They can be used even with vehicles constructed on the basis of the technologies available today.

And consider this quote: "A compact chemical sensor using carbon nanotubes has been fabricated. Such a device would be ideal for use in NASA’s cosmochemistry missions, Meyyappan said. Also, a carbon nanotube-based X-ray defraction spectrometer has been made, he said, a unit that offers higher performance than commercially available instruments while using less power and being far smaller and lighter. 'It actually fits within my palm, and I’m a small guy,' Meyyappan noted. 'It should be ready for missions in 2009-2010, and we’re shooting for Mars exploration … to study the rocks and soil.'"

In this case there is no problem.

But doesn't fir no way into Andy Hill's question - we shouldn't discus it in this thread.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:43 pm
Thank you Ekkehard, I had noticed we had wondered away from my original post a bit :)

If the airbags can take a 1 atmosphere pressure (and I would have thought that they are subjected to more than this during a landing) then they could be used as storage areas or maybe small greenhouses to grow food. The pressure does not need to be as high as 1 atmosphere though as astronauts routinely work in less, I believe spacesuits are pressurised to less than 1 atmosphere to allow the limbs to be moved more freely.

Although I've been thinking of the moon mainly in relation to this discussion, Mars is not that different in terms of surface pressure to that of the moon so once tested on the lunar surface everything should work OK there.

Atmospheric Pressure
Mars.......6.9 mb to 9 mb (Viking 1 Lander site)
Earth.......1014 mb
Moon.......3 x 10-15 bar

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:02 am
http://thespacereview.com/article/295/1

Image

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:18 pm
What about providing Titan layers? I have in mind to make the outer walls hydrogen farms Richard Speck proposed.

Would those layers of Titan also strengthen the habitats? As hydrogen farms they also might provide a bit of additional protection against the solar wind.



What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:29 pm
I've done some simple engineering calculations to what it takes for a shell of composite material to keep the pressure inside. It turns out, that for a 2.3m diameter and an internal pressure of 5 PSI / 34,4 kPa, and a composite material which has a tensile strength of 200 MPa (this is absolutely nothing for composites, most composites begin at 400 MPa) you'll get a wall thickness of just 0.4 mm.

On the moon, you want to have your habitat buried under a few meters of regolith for the radiation, but on Mars, it doesn't have to be that much or even any cover.

But as for using hydrogen rich material to protect against radiation, polyethylene is very lightweight and can be moulded into any shape. If Titan has those hydrocarbons, we can just make polymers out of them.


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