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NASA moon habitation

Moon Base Plans Slowly Evolving


By Joshua Hill —— Bio and Archives--October 4, 2007

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You know that you’re living in an interesting time when the idea of constructing a base of operations on the Moon is not met with amused giggles, but studied thoughtfulness. And that’s just where we are, with news of NASA’s Lunar Architecture Team hard at work in designing a human outpost on our closest solar neighbor.

We’ve already discussed here at DG the likelihood of man making it back to the moon by 2020, but it looks as if our return will be a little more permanent if NASA has anything to say about it. And they’re not just looking at habitats, but new space suits and rovers as well.

First step though is habitation, and NASA scientists have been looking at the best way for “home” to be set up upon our arrival. An original concept consisted of visitors to the moon bringing small bits of their habitat with them over time. However the Lunar Architecture Team believes that by sending up larger modules on cargo landers, they would be able to get up and running much quicker.

The current first place winner in the Moon’s “Location, Location, Location” competition is Shackleton Crater. Lying at the south pole of the Moon, and only about 19 kilometers in diameter (relatively small in comparison), Shackleton is some 12 kilometers deep, and could provide scientists with a clue as to the moons interior. However the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, which is due to launch a year from now, and set to map the moon in more detail, may provide a better location.

However, NASA is looking at portable homes as well, sort of the equivalent of taking a caravan or campervan to our little moon. Mobile Habitat Modules would provide occupants the ability to relocate their housing in the event that their work would require them to move.

So now that you’ve got some housing, next on your list is transportation and NASA has thoughts for those as well.
NASA is considering the idea of sending a pair of moon rovers, capable of carrying multiple passengers and travelling some 125 miles from home. Small and pressurized, they would provide scientists with valuable distance in their research, and safety in case of accident.

The bonus for astronauts is the lack of special clothing needed to drive these puppies. Fitted with a “shirt-sleeve environment”, these rovers would have spacesuits attached to the exterior of the rover, allowing an astronaut to simply crawl into their suit from the rover, and begin their moonwalk.

Final plans are hoped to be in NASA’s possession by 2012 so that they can get “boots on the moon” by 2020.

Joshua Hill, a Geek’s-Geek from Melbourne, Australia, Josh is an aspiring author with dreams of publishing his epic fantasy, currently in the works, sometime in the next 5 years. A techie, nerd, sci-fi nut and bookworm.



Guest Column Joshua Hill -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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