Monday, March 01, 2004

Beachhead Moonbase design constraints

On Friday I suggested methods for supplying power to a Moonbase. But what would a Moonbase look like? To do this, I must first define what the requirements are, and what restricts my options.

Firstly, I am considering a "beachhead" Moonbase; that is, a first landing base with no current infrastructure. I am considering the minimum requirement.

Secondly, recall that we are going to site the base inside a lava tube. Because an orbital drop is never going to be able to land inside a lava tube, there's a requirement already: the base must be portable without too much inconvenience.

Thirdly, astronauts will need to get into and out of the base to carry out activities on the Moon's surface. So an airlock will be required.

Although power generation will be farmed out to a separate fuel cell generator (probably a sensible idea for safety's sake) there is still a lot of heavy equipment needed. Atmosphere regeneration, of course, and water management: what happens to water from showering or going to the toilet?

Additionally, a lot of other hardware is required: communications equipment, cooking equipment, furniture, medical kit; the list goes on and on.

According to my scheme, all of the features above must be available in my beachhead Moonbase. Tomorrow I will discuss the problems with some current proposed Moonbase designs.

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