Inverting Norman Foster’s design is the key! We have kept our design grounded to reality while injecting some science fiction into our design. We are proposing a modular system where it is flexible and expandable.
The flaw with Foster’s design is that it is not earthquake proof – given that the structures are embedded into the moon’s surface and covered with a layer of moon’s surface with 3D printers. Furthermore, it is not movable and thus avoiding any meteor impacts that may occur.
To tackle this problem, we are proposing to invert Foster’s design by creating a movable modular skin at the exterior, while 3D printing the spatial skeleton for functions within the modules.
The standard module size during transportation would be suitable for rockets currently available (e.g. Falcon 9). The modules would first be transported to moon by rockets. Once landed, the modules would inflate. The key to this mechanism is a flexible silicone skin. Silicone has a temperature range of -100 to 250 degrees Celsius, which is almost ideal for the moon’s condition. Silicone is also flexible and stretchable. There is currently silicone rubber which could stretch up to 8 times its original length. There is even stretchable silicone with circuit boards embedded but yet stretchable.
The benefits of such module are allowing it to stretch and enabling users to freely build within. You can start off small, and gradually build to its maximum size (say 8 times its original volume). Once the modules are inflated, 3D printers utilising moon surface minerals would be used to create a skeleton for enabling functions within.
Given that the structure within would be protected by inflated bubble, the air and rubber texture will provide certain degree of shock absorption during earthquakes. The connecting ring joints at both ends of the module will have jets installed. Given a lower gravity on the moon, the jets would be sufficient to allow movement in serious emergency scenario, such as meteor impact.
Eventually, when the ring reaches maximum volume and expansion compacity, it could be combined together with other modules, or even stacked on top of each other creating a network of spaces and functions. The possibility of functions within are endless. One could be residential, the other could be a mini potato growing plant, a couple of these modules could be joined together to create a circulation network. Even if it is joined together, it still has the flexibility for change by itself with its embedded jets.
Start small, and eventually grow big. Move when you need to, evade when inevitable – simple yet flexible!