An important stage in human evolution consists in colonizing the cosmic space. The expansion on our planet’s surface is limited because the demographic explosion. A good alternative of this expansion, which draws after itself a lot of applications that will come handy to Earth, is the expansion in outter space.
The foundation of the first space colony;
Exploiting and refining resources from Moon, Mars and other cosmic bodies;
Exploration of the cosmic space.
A first defense system of Earth against cosmic bodies that are heading towards it
(detecting those bodies long before the impact);
The salvation of human race from perishing.
Transportation to the Moon will be done with a future rocket model based on the now discontinued
X-33 by NASA and Lockheed.
The settlement has to be able to face the harsh conditions present on the Moon, so special systems will be necessary to: create atmosphere, temperature, electricity, water and recycling prime elements. Low gravitational force also represents a problem; long exposure may create anatomical problems: respiratory disorders, problems in fluid circulations, bone deterioration, muscle degeneration etc. so a permanent stay on the moon is not recommended (these problems can be addressed in future stages, with the construction of a torus-shaped building which will impose artificial gravity through centrifugal force of 9,81N/kg).
Atmosphere: temperature: optimal 22oC – perfect conditions for humans and plants – which will be kept through ventilation shafts and radiators mounted in the inner walls of large constructions; humidity: for optimal 22oC, necessary relative humidity is 40%; greenhouses humidity 70%.
Energy storage: Flywheel Energy Storage, NASA
Lunar soil, also called regolith, has a special importance due to its composition and properties. Amongst the most important elements we can extract from it is oxygen, which can be used to produce water (in lack of) and atmosphere. Titanium can also be found in regolith. Other elements such as silicon, calcium, aluminium, magnesium etc. can be used as materials for various components: walls, pipes, solar panels etc. Lunar soil has also the quality of filtering or even stopping solar radiations very efficiently, thus being an important element regarding the design.
The soil will be collected by robots and compacted until it will have a high density, then it will be
3D printed on a special structure which will absorb the shock in case of minor collisions of every kind. This structure is designed parametrical for maximum rigidity.
Titanium: not used in this project, but esential for future space architecture.
Titanium’s composites are a good solution for a future exterior coating because of its asperity, great resistance to deformities, resistance to cracks, resistance to high temperatures and also very long life. This element can be found in large quantities on the surface of the moon. On Earth, its presence is an important factor to the research that will be conducted to build the plants necessary for extracting this material from lunar soil.
An important step in collecting the Moon’s resources is the construction of mines and factories that help in separating the elements we need. The most efficient mines would be the surface ones, but when they will not satisfy, other depth mines can be used although they will be harder to exploit. For this project, I chose for the mines to be built inside Malapert Mt. Another advantage of lunar industry is that resource materials are easier to use and store in this environment where gravitational force is very low. The separting plant will be the place where ilmenite will be adapted and divised into composite elements, including oxygen:
FeTiO3 + H2 -> Fe + TiO2 + H2O -> H2 + 1/2 O2
For the settlement to function properly we need to design systems to create heat and electricity.
The necessary heat can be offered by placing mirrors that wil concentrate solar light into one point, creating the heat necesary for life support and industry. The electricity will be obtained by placing solar panels on top of Malapert Mt. (>90% constant light). The panels used are made by Boeing Spectrolab and offer an efficiency of >40%, which makes them the most efficient solar panels available yet. Also, the existence of a fission reactor will be necessary. Hydrogen can be recycled, so a certain amount would be sufficient. Water could also be produced by combining with O2, besides the vast quantities found at Shackleton Crater. Quartz pipes can be used for UV filtration of the water.
Communications antaenna will be situated into Shackleton Crater. Circumlunar stations will also be built, in the same time revitalizing the past landing sites.
For ensuring the most efficient security system, the settlement will be divided into sectors. The security systems will be carefully designed for worst case scenarios. Airlocks will be used at the end of every connection tube.