We inhabitants of Earth need to settle on moon to safeguard our civilization and to look towards a future beyond earth.
On Moon we would start settling close to a source of water – that would mean in proximity to the lunar poles. Craters are the most dominant feature of the landscape. The raised rim of craters would offer an elevation above the surrounding landscape, and access to the outside of the crater and to its inside. It would also inform the shape of the city, varying from crater to crater. Initially, for MOONBASE we would look for a crater of about one kilometer radius.
Eventually a double layered pneumatic dome made in basalt fabric and aluminized for reflectance would cover the entire crater. This dome could have water stored in between the two surfaces, perhaps in gel form, to offer some protection from micro meteorites and high energy cosmic rays. The gel could also be self healing in case of tears. This dome will eventually allow a warm atmosphere to be held over the crater and the presence of liquid water on the surface. As one settlement gets completed this model could be replicated at other craters.
There are a number of Conditions that MOONBASE must be meet. They are:
1. MOONBASE will have to replicate life supporting conditions that exist on Earth. The conditions that need to be created are:
-An Environment safe from cosmic high-energy radiation and micro-meteorites
-Atmosphere that is warm, humid and breathable
-Water present in liquid state
-Vegetation to support life, create oxygen and produce food
-Light filled sky dome, similar to one on earth.
-Bringing other Life-forms from earth, for humans cannot exist in isolation
2. MOONBASE must only use resources from Moon, bringing just the seed from Earth.
3. MOONBASE would use Construction Techniques relevant to Moon
b. Microwave sintering (to stabilize tunneled volumes and to produce sintered building blocks)
c. Basalt fabric
d. Extracting and using aluminum (for coating surfaces to make them air-tight as well as to use as construction material), glass etc.
Tunneling, extracting usable materials from tunneled material and doing so robotically would play a dominant role in the proposed plan. Customized (sintering and ore processing) Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) would become the most important construction equipment.
4. MOONBASE would be planned to recycle everything, producing zero waste. Energy could be produced using distributed sustainable sources of power like Radio-isotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG) – connected in networks and a Sky-dome that could be lit up using hybrid solar lighting (HSL) – using solar concentrator, fiber optic cable passive day lighting systems combined with conventional lighting systems.
5. MOONBASE would be planned such that it can grow incrementally, in response to the needs of the colony, retaining flexibility while having a plan to guide growth.
6. The MOONBASE Settlement would be designed such that it is always possible to retreat into the safety of the underground. Thus the main habitation would be underground, extending onto the surface when possible. As other craters get inhabited, they would all be linked to each other by tunnels.
MOONBASE would generate and sustain its requirements for atmosphere, water, food, energy and housing – all produced and sustained primarily underground.