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“Modern science says: the sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future.” – Nikola Tesla

Imagine a place where science and science fiction were one and the same. A place where gravity is an option and curiosity supersedes superstition. A place designed and built solely for the scientific advancement of our species.

Once upon a time–before my time–we soared into the Solar System. And for this brief three-year period, the Apollo missions captured the imagination of the world. However, the Apollo missions were not about science or the exploration of the moon, they were about building rockets for the Defense Department. This is evident by the fact the last man to walk on the lunar surface was also the only scientist, Jack Schmitt, a geologist. Our proposal, Moon of the Moon, is a giant lunar lab exploring Human Research, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Earth and Lunar Sciences, Astrophysics, Robotic exploration and more.

In 1933, German physicists Walther Meissner and Robert Ochsenfeld discovered that when certain materials, like ceramics, were cooled below their superconducting transition temperature (approx. -200 Celsius), the superconducting material cancelled nearly all the interior magnetic fields. This has been clearly demonstrated with magnets that appear to levitate above superconductors cooled by liquid nitrogen. With the extreme diurnal temperatures of the moon, from 110 Celsius in the sun to -220 Celsius on the dark side, our concept is designed to take advantage of the low lunar gravity and the physics behind superconductivity. With an elevated ceramic track that wraps the lunar equator and south-pole, the extreme cold of the moon replaces the need for liquid nitrogen. Constructing the sphere with a magnetically charged geodesic dome, along with the low gravitational pull of the moon, the sphere would theoretically levitate.

Designed with mobility in mind, the sphere rotates around the moon remaining at a stable temperature thus reducing the solar heat gain of expansion and contraction to the infrastructure. The movement also allows the sun to be kept on the horizon for lunar reconnaissance when approaching one of the twelve docking stations. Each station will contain tools and lunar rovers allowing scientists to explore the surface, gathering moon rocks to vaporize for supplementing oxygen and studying pyroclastic deposits which can provide relatively easy access to oxygen and water. The lunar mobility will also allow scientists to explore other regions of the moon throughout the year rather than being confined to a one site. Each docking station collects and stores energy from the sun, via solar panels, and recharges the sphere’s batteries at each interval. Traversing across the dark side of the moon also eliminates light pollution allowing deep cosmic gazing.

The sphere itself is composed of three parts: living and maintenance in the lower hemisphere, lunar labs located in the upper hemisphere–like a cloud, and a zero gravity wheel. Within the lower hemisphere everything is subjected to the 1/6 G, the gravity of the moon. This will help scientists maintain muscular density and aid in the root structure of plant life. With apparel like magnetic belts or suits, scientists can float to the lunar labs to conduct their cross-disciplinary research. When returning to the lower hemisphere, scientists simply take off their belt and gentle free fall at a safe speed back down. The zero gravity wheel rotates on axis above the ceramic track controlling the speed at which the sphere moves across the lunar belt. The rotation allows for zero gravity so scientists can duplicate experiments comparing the results against the lunar gravity. To stabilize the sphere from rotating, counterweights are suspended from the exterior that help balance the gyroscope.

Considering the efficiency of geodesic domes, the physics of superconducting particles, the advantage of lunar temperatures, and the docking stations as well as the mobility of the sphere, the Moon of the Moon humbly attempts to, once again, recapture the imagination of the world.