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Where to live on the Moon!!!

Posted by: lightningbob - Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:22 am
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Where to live on the Moon!!! 
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Post Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:22 am
I'm sure this has been thought of by others. Using lava tubes found on the Moon as colonies or bases. I was thinking of how to enclose them to get the most use. One opening I read about was thirteen miles wide. .....ok how do you cap that?!?! What I thought was a set of thirteen mile long cables. Due to the lesser gravity they could be pulled across the surface (maybe I'm sure someone can do the math). Cables running down from the suspension cables could hold a cap, dome, ceiling or what ever you want to call it. If it's strong enough maybe even lunar soil could be deposited on it for radiation and micro meteor protection. I don't know how spacious they are. Hundreds or thousands of cubic miles could be used. Lunar farms, factories, ship yards and cities could be housed in one of these.

Imagine an entire city on the Moon. Vacationers fresh from Biglows Hotel Galactica orbiting the Earth could spend a week swimming in low gravity or playing in the Lunar forrests. Executives could be checking first hand on the mining and ship building operations that are supporting the Mars colonization, asteroid exploration and other deep space ventures.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:30 am
That would be cool! Where can i buy tickets! :P

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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:07 pm
Yep, roofing over craters, canyons, and caverns has long been proposed for creating large pressurized spaces.

The devil is always in the details. Rock is usually porous and has cracks which will vent atmosphere. So you are unlikely to be able to just install an airlock on one end of a lunar lava tube, pump it full of air, and call it good. Also the rocks that have been airless for billions of years are likely to react vigorously if they suddenly found themselves exposed to an oxygen rich gas mix.

But its still the way to go, probably the only way, for a serious lunar colony.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:14 pm
How about inflating a big balloon inside a lava tube or cave? That way the rock could help support the thing, so that the pressure could be higher without requiring a stronger balloon. For sure that would be a big balloon though, and ideally we'd make it out of local materials. I've heard of lunar concrete, but has anyone done any work on lunar plastics?

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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:29 pm
Yeah that's one solution, probably best for smaller spaces. Also coatings of some sort. Problem with plastics is that they require carbon polymers, which... aren't common on the Moon in convenient concentrations (like puddles of dead dinosaurs) You'd have synthesize it literally from scratch by breaking it out of carbon bearing rocks and doing some chemical gymnastics with hydrogen and nitrogen. A lot of work but probably cheaper than hauling up a tanker full of pitch to the moon. :lol:


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:43 pm
Hmmm? Basalt fiber is just as good, if not better, than plastics - and it can be made easily on Luna (just melt and extrude the basalt).

The best place for a Lunar colony is near the poles, where there's volatiles and energy. Maybe make a basalt inflated dome, and pile regolith (sintered together?) for radiation protection. Several meters should do the trick.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:34 pm
Fantastic replies and alot of great ideas. I agree close to a pole is good but I wonder how close is "close"? 100 miles? Close enough to see them? Obviously were there for water and other resourses (water mainly) I never thought seriously about the lava tubes having a venting problem. I guess the sheer size of them and the thought of haveing that much building space made me overlook those kinds of situations. I also like the capping of a crater idea. If covering a thirteen mile wide hole is possible capping a crater and covering it with soil will be easier.
I'm wondering how many and what size meteors hit the surface of the Moon? All those meteors we see burning up in the night sky would impact on the surface of the Moon. So the material over the dome would have to protect against a significant strike. Sill very doable. Can't wait till we actually get this ball rolling for real.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:37 pm
Could we use sunlight concentrated using a parabolic mirror to vaporise rock and seal our cave by vacuum deposition? Or perhaps direct the beam to the walls to partially melt them and seal up any cracks?

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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:19 pm
You can use solar concentrators to melt rock, but I doubt it would be useable as a mobile beam to finish a large surface. Far to "rube goldburg".

Worse, the seal/layer would be brittle. Probably more so than the native rock.

I think the best implementation of both dome creation and bottom/side sealing would be an army of robots that can filter out insitu metallic materials to build it up via laser sintering. Think bees/wasps building a nest.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:37 pm
Where to live on the Moon? It seems like the best place is underground near the equator where the temperature is around 73F. One approach would be to bore a tunnel into the wall of a crater. The interior of the tunnel could be lined with plastic sheeting to make it air-tight. The tunnel would be protected from most meteor strikes by the soil/rock above it. Heating and/or cooling should not be much of a problem.

EDIT: Instead of plastic sheeting, it would probably be better to just spray the walls of the tunnel with a sealant.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:52 am
Why the equator? You get a fortnight of night there, and there are very few volatiles, even compared to the rest of Luna. Without the volatiles, there's not much point going to Luna; even if fuel isn't what you're exporting, you need it to launch whatever it is you are. The poles are where everything is...


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:56 pm
I picked the equator because of the mild subsurface temperature, and the variation in sunlight during the lunar day. There will be two weeks of daylight and two weeks of night almost anywhere on the moon, except for small regions at the poles. It seems like the polar regions would become a bit depressing visually after a while with the sun just above the horizon and everything casting long shadows.

It's unknown what minerals may be found far below the surface. The equatorial region may be as "rich" in mineral resources as the polar regions.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:44 pm
Two solid weeks of pitch black night, even with the Earth suspended over head would get pretty depressing as well.

The poles are supposed to have easily gathered free volatiles (water ice, H2&3, etc). Of course, while strip mining the regolith anywhere, which is a smorgasborg of churned over lunar and asteroid materials, and processing it enmass there are as many of the elemental components as at the poles. Its just harder and more complicated (ie; expensive) to liberate them.

BTW- The subsurface temps are probably the same everywhere.


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:11 pm
According to the webpage at http://www.lunarpedia.org/index.php?tit ... emperature , the subsurface temperature drops as you get closer to the poles. At a latitude of 60 degreee the subsurface temperature would be -24C, and close to the poles it would be -110C.

The earth would be straight up at 0 degrees longitude, but it would be at a lower angle either west or east of that.

Water may be more accessable at the poles, but I'm not sure it's the best place to live. Initially, we would have to bring along our own water and oxygen, and rely on supply ships to replenish them periodically. It works on the ISS. As time goes on we may be able to extract what we need from the moon.

As far as the lunar night, a few yardlights should help brighten up the area. :)


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Post Re: Where to live on the Moon!!!   Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:18 pm
Yes, when you are buried underground like a mole it doesn't matter what it looks like on the surface.


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