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Thread: Moon Base

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    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Moon Base

    Moon Village: Humanity's first step toward a lunar colony?

    The science — and science fiction — of lunar construction tells us a lot about what a future Moon city might be like.
    By Jake Parks

    Moon Base-safe_image-1-jpg
    A mockup of ESA's aspirations for its future Moon Village.
    ESA/Foster + Partners

    We've all fantasized of visiting somewhere exotic. For most of us, that dream spot is somewhere on Earth. But for some, the ultimate must-see destination isn't on our planet at all.

    NASA is currently planning a series of 37 rocket launches, both robotic and crewed, that will culminate with the 2028 deployment of the first components for a long-term lunar base, according to recently leaked documents obtained by Ars Technica. An outpost on the Moon is surely an exciting prospect for both science geeks and prospective solar-system sightseers, but some believe NASA’s timeline is a too ambitious to be realistic.

    However, unlike NASA, who not long ago adjusted their sights from Mars mission to a return to the Moon, the European Space Agency (ESA) has already spent almost five years quietly planning a permanent lunar settlement. And while building it may take a few decades, if done right, it could serve the entire world — sightseers included — for many more decades to come.

    Moon Base-esamoonvillagecutaway-jpg
    This cutaway shows the interior of a 3D printed section of ESA's planned Moon Village.
    ESA/Foster + Partners

    It takes a village

    The project, dubbed Moon Village, first made headlines back in 2015, when the newly appointed Director General of the ESA, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, told the BBC about his vision. "A Moon Village shouldn't just mean some houses, a church, and a town hall," he said at the time. "This Moon Village should mean partners from all over the world contributing to this community with robotic and astronaut missions and support communication satellites."

    Though Woerner's comments gave the Moon Village concept its initial momentum, since then, much of the cooperation and planning for the lunar outpost has been spearheaded by the Moon Village Association (MVA), a non-governmental organization with about 150 members spread across nearly three dozen countries. Working closely with the ESA, the purpose of MVA is to foster collaboration between nations and organizations spread all over the world — especially in developing countries — to help bring visions of a permanent lunar base to fruition.
    Moon Village is not just going to be another International Space Station on the Moon, said Senior Space Policy Adviser and President of the Moon Village Association, Giuseppe Reibaldi, in a presentation.

    Instead, Moon Village aims to be a collaboratively designed and expandable permanent lunar settlement that can serve as: an innovative research hub for industry and academia alike; an otherworldly destination for commercial travelers; and a proving ground for future crewed bases on Mars and beyond.
    "The goal of the organization is to go beyond space, to go beyond the stars," said Reibaldi, "because this is a step for all humanity, and nobody needs to be left out."


    Working with the European Space Agency, artist Jorge Mañes Rubio imagined a lunar colony built on the rim of Shackleton Crater, barely noticeable here as just a bright dot.
    ESA/Jorge Mañes Rubio. Spatial design & visualization in collaboration with DITISHOE

    Location, location, location

    Currently, stakeholders plan to build Moon Village near the lunar south pole. In particular, they want to target somewhere close to the rim of Shackleton Crater, which boasts areas that are almost perpetually bathed in sunlight — ideal because it provides an ample source of energy via the tried-and-true technology of solar panels.

    In addition to copious amounts of available sunlight, at about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) deep, the floor of Shackleton Crater is constantly cloaked in shadow. This means it’s the perfect place to hide valuable, sunlight-sensitive volatile resources like water-ice. Such a find nearby could provide residents of Moon Village with drinking water, breathable air, and a potential source of rocket fuel, as long as we have the means to unlock it.

    Designing a Moon base

    According to the plan, Moon Village will be built in incremental steps. First, individual landers will descend to the lunar surface near Shackleton Crater, at which point they'll each deploy inflatable modules. These modules, which are expected to be up to four-stories tall, would eventually serve as workspaces, residential areas, scientific labs, industrial sites, and environmental habitats.

    The inflatable modules, however, cannot effectively shield humans from harmful radiation, temperature swings, or micrometeorite strikes. So, the ESA and MVA are currently working with private industries to design robots that can 3D print a protective shell around each structure using readily available regolith taken from the lunar surface.

    Researchers estimate it should take a pair of such robots about three Earth months to construct a solid dome around an inflatable module. And as more of these habitats are built, they will be networked together through a series of pressurized walkways connected to airlocks at each module.

    Making it happen

    Europe, NASA, and even China are all currently working toward the goal of establishing a long-term presence on the Moon. But the reality is that no matter who gets credit for building the first reliable lunar settlement, it will likely one day morph into a massive international collaboration unlike anything humans have ever seen.

    With the ESA and MVA spending time thoughtfully considering the best approaches for building an expandable, adaptable, and most of all permanent lunar base, Moon Village is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
    Last edited by tomcat; 09-05-2021 at 06:27 PM.
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    I hope to see it in my life time, thanks Tom!

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    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...*mwah*...

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    I myself would be prefer to see the resources directed at alleviating hunger in third worlld shitholes and implementing a massive program of birth control education.

    If we could get the world population down to around six billions it would solve a lot of long term issues.

    But then dreamers must dream, and good luck to them.


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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    I myself would be prefer to see the resources directed at alleviating hunger in third worlld shitholes and implementing a massive program of birth control education.
    Those 'resources' will not be blasted directly onto the Moon. The total loss to earth is a few hundred tons of hydrocarbons and common metals. The cash goes to pay engineers, scientists, miners, oil workers... many of which are from or work in Africa, for example. Then some of that is recycled through the tax system into social spending. Criticising and pushing for better spending of this is a better use for your time. It's ok to dream.
    Lang may yer lum reek...

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    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    Yes, of course.
    I understand the dynamics of the "trickle down" notion.

    And yes, dreamers must indeed dream.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    could get the world population down to around six billions it would solve a lot of long term issues.
    did you just make this number up or do you have a source? And which issues will it solve, exactly?

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    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    No KW, I did study demography extensively at uni.

    I could find you a number but the general idea was that the number would range between 3 and 5 billion.

    Cheers.

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    ^ Looks like they need to find something better than Covid to reduce the numbers then...

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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    No KW, I did study demography extensively at uni.

    I could find you a number but the general idea was that the number would range between 3 and 5 billion.

    Cheers.
    Not what it used to be | The Economist

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    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    Hello! I'm KW and you're not.


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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    I myself would be prefer to see the resources directed at alleviating hunger in third worlld shitholes and implementing a massive program of birth control education.

    If we could get the world population down to around six billions it would solve a lot of long term issues.

    But then dreamers must dream, and good luck to them.
    Which is why we need habitation on the moon and other planets.
    Send them all there, but start with the republicans.

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    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    I say start with Democrats.

    I say start with Uncle Joe!!!!

    He's already has a head start.

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    What kind of people would actually want to colonize the moon? There is so much that could go wrong. Perhaps it would be a much safer bet than setting up a permanent colony on Mars though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    I say start with Democrats.

    I say start with Uncle Joe!!!!

    He's already has a head start.
    Yea but most republicans are already space cadets and trump is high commander of the space force.

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    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTraveler View Post
    Perhaps it would be a much safer bet than setting up a permanent colony on Mars though.
    ...of course, Mars already has mushrooms ready for harvesting...

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