The Moon: Resources, Future Development and Settlement (2nd Edition)

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Instead, the concept is being organized, loosely, by a nonprofit organization established in November called the Moon Village Association. In , Jim Burke, of the International Space University in France, said people should plan to preserve humanity's culture in the event of a civilization-stopping asteroid impact with Earth. A Lunar Noah's Ark was proposed. Exploration of the lunar surface by spacecraft began in with the Soviet Union 's Luna program. This was mankind's first direct view of the far side. Additional missions to the Moon continued this exploration phase.

However, interest in further exploration of the Moon was beginning to wane among the American public. Instead, focus was turned to the Space Shuttle and crewed missions in near Earth orbit. In addition to its scientific returns, the Apollo program also provided valuable lessons about living and working in the lunar environment. The Soviet crewed lunar programs failed to send a crewed mission to the Moon. Besides the crewed landings, an abandoned Soviet Moon program included building the moonbase " Zvezda ", which was the first detailed project with developed mockups of expedition vehicles [34] and surface modules.

In the decades following, interest in exploring the Moon faded considerably, and only a few dedicated enthusiasts supported a return. However, evidence of lunar ice at the poles gathered by NASA's Clementine and Lunar Prospector missions rekindled some discussion, [36] [37] as did the potential growth of a Chinese space program that contemplated its own mission to the Moon.

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Bush called for a plan to return crewed missions to the Moon by since cancelled — see Constellation program. The LCROSS mission was designed to acquire research information to assist with future lunar exploratory missions and was scheduled to conclude with a controlled collision of the craft on the lunar surface. In , due to reduced congressional NASA appropriations, President Barack Obama halted the Bush administration's earlier lunar exploration initiative and directed a generic focus on crewed missions to asteroids and Mars, as well as extending support for the International Space Station.

As of , Russia is planning to begin building a human colony on the Moon by Initially, the Moon base would be crewed by no more than four people, with their number later rising to maximum of 12 people. Billionaire Jeff Bezos has outlined his plans for a lunar base in the s [48]. In March NASA unveiled the Artemis program 's mission to send a crewed mission to the Moon by , [49] along with plans to establish an outpost in In August , the Open Lunar Foundation came out of stealth with an explicit plan to develop a collaborative and global open group to allow denizens of all nations to participate in building a peaceful and cooperative lunar settlement.

On the Moon, the feature is seen as a widely distributed absorption that appears strongest at cooler high latitudes and at several fresh feldspathic craters. The general lack of correlation of this feature in sunlit M 3 data with neutron spectrometer H abundance data suggests that the formation and retention of OH and H 2 O is an ongoing surficial process. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper M 3 , an imaging spectrometer, was one of the 11 instruments on board Chandrayaan-1, whose mission came to a premature end on 29 August Lunar scientists had discussed the possibility of water repositories for decades.

They are now increasingly "confident that the decades-long debate is over" a report says. That represents a proportion of ten parts per million, which is a lower water concentration than that found in the soil of the driest deserts of the Earth. Zubrin's computations are not a sound basis for estimating the percentage of water in the regolith at that site. Researchers with expertise in that area estimated that the regolith at the impact site contained 5. Hydrocarbons , material containing sulfur , carbon dioxide , carbon monoxide , methane and ammonia were present.

In March , researchers who had previously published reports on possible abundance of water on the Moon, reported new findings that refined their predictions substantially lower. In , it was announced that M 3 infrared data from Chandrayaan-1 had been re-analyzed to confirm the existence of water across wide expanses of the Moon's polar regions.

Planet Moon: The Future of Astronaut Activity and Settlement

Placing a colony on a natural body would provide an ample source of material for construction and other uses in space, including shielding from cosmic radiation. The energy required to send objects from the Moon to space is much less than from Earth to space. This could allow the Moon to serve as a source of construction materials within cis-lunar space. Rockets launched from the Moon would require less locally produced propellant than rockets launched from Earth. Some proposals include using electric acceleration devices mass drivers to propel objects off the Moon without building rockets.

Others have proposed momentum exchange tethers see below. Furthermore, the Moon does have some gravity , which experience to date indicates may be vital for fetal development and long-term human health.

Colonization of the Moon - Wikipedia

In addition, the Moon is the closest large body in the Solar System to Earth. This proximity has several advantages:. Soviet astronomer Vladislav V. Shevchenko proposed in the following three criteria that a lunar outpost should meet: [ citation needed ]. While a colony might be located anywhere, potential locations for a lunar colony fall into three broad categories.

There are two reasons why the north pole and south pole of the Moon might be attractive locations for a human colony. First, there is evidence for the presence of water in some continuously shaded areas near the poles. Power collection stations could therefore be plausibly located so that at least one is exposed to sunlight at all times, thus making it possible to power polar colonies almost exclusively with solar energy. Solar power would be unavailable only during a lunar eclipse , but these events are relatively brief and absolutely predictable. Any such colony would therefore require a reserve energy supply that could temporarily sustain a colony during lunar eclipses or in the event of any incident or malfunction affecting solar power collection.

Hydrogen fuel cells would be ideal for this purpose, since the hydrogen needed could be sourced locally using the Moon's polar water and surplus solar power. Moreover, due to the Moon's uneven surface some sites have nearly continuous sunlight. For example, Malapert mountain , located near the Shackleton crater at the lunar south pole, offers several advantages as a site:. NASA chose to use a south-polar site for the lunar outpost reference design in the Exploration Systems Architecture Study chapter on lunar architecture.

At the north pole, the rim of Peary Crater has been proposed as a favorable location for a base. The interior of Peary Crater may also harbor hydrogen deposits. A [86] bistatic radar experiment performed during the Clementine mission suggested the presence of water ice around the south pole. A potential limitation of the polar regions is that the inflow of solar wind can create an electrical charge on the leeward side of crater rims. The resulting voltage difference can affect electrical equipment, change surface chemistry, erode surfaces and levitate lunar dust.

The lunar equatorial regions are likely to have higher concentrations of helium-3 rare on Earth but much sought after for use in nuclear fusion research because the solar wind has a higher angle of incidence. Several probes have landed in the Oceanus Procellarum area. There are many areas and features that could be subject to long-term study, such as the Reiner Gamma anomaly and the dark-floored Grimaldi crater.

The lunar far side lacks direct communication with Earth, though a communication satellite at the L 2 Lagrangian point , or a network of orbiting satellites, could enable communication between the far side of the Moon and Earth. Scientists have estimated that the highest concentrations of helium-3 can be found in the maria on the far side, as well as near side areas containing concentrations of the titanium -based mineral ilmenite.

On the near side the Earth and its magnetic field partially shields the surface from the solar wind during each orbit. But the far side is fully exposed, and thus should receive a somewhat greater proportion of the ion stream. Lunar lava tubes are a potential location for constructing a lunar base. Any intact lava tube on the Moon could serve as a shelter from the severe environment of the lunar surface, with its frequent meteorite impacts, high-energy ultra-violet radiation and energetic particles, and extreme diurnal temperature variations.

Lava tubes provide ideal positions for shelter because of their access to nearby resources. They also have proven themselves as a reliable structure, having withstood the test of time for billions of years. An underground colony would escape the extreme of temperature on the Moon's surface.


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One such lava tube was discovered in early There have been numerous proposals regarding habitat modules. The designs have evolved throughout the years as humankind's knowledge about the Moon has grown, and as the technological possibilities have changed. The proposed habitats range from the actual spacecraft landers or their used fuel tanks, to inflatable modules of various shapes. Some hazards of the lunar environment such as sharp temperature shifts, lack of atmosphere or magnetic field which means higher levels of radiation and micrometeoroids and long nights, were unknown early on.


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Proposals have shifted as these hazards were recognized and taken into consideration. Some suggest building the lunar colony underground, which would give protection from radiation and micrometeoroids. This would also greatly reduce the risk of air leakage, as the colony would be fully sealed from the outside except for a few exits to the surface. The construction of an underground base would probably be more complex; one of the first machines from Earth might be a remote-controlled excavating machine.

Once created, some sort of hardening would be necessary to avoid collapse, possibly a spray-on concrete -like substance made from available materials. Inflatable self-sealing fabric habitats might then be put in place to retain air. Eventually an underground city can be constructed. Farms set up underground would need artificial sunlight. As an alternative to excavating, a lava tube could be covered and insulated, thus solving the problem of radiation exposure.

An alternative solution is studied in Europe by students to excavate a habitat in the ice-filled craters of the Moon. A possibly easier solution would be to build the lunar base on the surface, and cover the modules with lunar soil. The lunar soil is composed of a unique blend of silica and iron-containing compounds that may be fused into a glass-like solid using microwave energy. A lunar base built on the surface would need to be protected by improved radiation and micrometeoroid shielding. Building the lunar base inside a deep crater would provide at least partial shielding against radiation and micrometeoroids.

Artificial magnetic fields have been proposed [] [] as a means to provide radiation shielding for long range deep space crewed missions, and it might be possible to use similar technology on a lunar colony. Some regions on the Moon possess strong local magnetic fields that might partially mitigate exposure to charged solar and galactic particles. Overall, these habitats would require only ten percent of the structure mass to be transported from Earth, while using local lunar materials for the other 90 percent of the structure mass. Inside, a lightweight pressurized inflatable with the same dome shape would be the living environment for the first human Moon settlers.

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In , The Moon Capital Competition offered a prize for a design of a lunar habitat intended to be an underground international commercial center capable of supporting a residential staff of 60 people and their families. The Moon Capital is intended to be self-sufficient with respect to food and other material required for life support. A nuclear fission reactor might fulfill most of a Moon base's power requirements. Radioisotope thermoelectric generators could be used as backup and emergency power sources for solar powered colonies.


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  • The FSP system concept uses conventional low-temperature stainless steel , liquid metal-cooled reactor technology coupled with Stirling power conversion. Helium-3 mining could be used to provide a substitute for tritium for potential production of fusion power in the future. Solar energy is a possible source of power for a lunar base. Many of the raw materials needed for solar panel production can be extracted on site. However, the long lunar night hours or This might be solved by building several power plants, so that at least one of them is always in daylight.

    Another possibility would be to build such a power plant where there is constant or near-constant sunlight, such as at the Malapert mountain near the lunar south pole, or on the rim of Peary crater near the north pole. Since lunar regolith contains structural metals like iron and aluminum, solar panels could be mounted high up on locally-built towers that might rotate to follow the Sun. A third possibility would be to leave the panels in orbit , and beam the power down as microwaves. The solar energy converters need not be silicon solar panels.

    It may be more advantageous to use the larger temperature difference between Sun and shade to run heat engine generators. Concentrated sunlight could also be relayed via mirrors and used in Stirling engines or solar trough generators, or it could be used directly for lighting, agriculture and process heat. The focused heat might also be employed in materials processing to extract various elements from lunar surface materials. Fuel cells on the Space Shuttle have operated reliably for up to 17 Earth days at a time. Fuel cells produce water directly as a waste product.

    Current fuel cell technology is more advanced than the Shuttle's cells — PEM Proton Exchange Membrane cells produce considerably less heat though their waste heat would likely be useful during the lunar night and are lighter, not to mention the reduced mass of the smaller heat-dissipating radiators.

    This makes PEMs more economical to launch from Earth than the shuttle's cells.

    The Moon: Resources, Future Development, and Settlement

    PEMs have not yet been proven in space. Even if lunar colonies could provide themselves access to a near-continuous source of solar energy, they would still need to maintain fuel cells or an alternate energy storage system to sustain themselves during lunar eclipses and emergency situations. Conventional rockets have been used for most lunar explorations to date. The construction workers, location finders, and other astronauts vital to building, would have been taken four at a time in NASA's Orion spacecraft.

    Proposed concepts of Earth-Moon transportation are Space elevators. Lunar colonists would need the ability to transport cargo and people to and from modules and spacecraft, and to carry out scientific study of a larger area of the lunar surface for long periods of time. Proposed concepts include a variety of vehicle designs, from small open rovers to large pressurized modules with lab equipment, and also a few flying or hopping vehicles.

    Rovers could be useful if the terrain is not too steep or hilly. The Soviet Union developed different rover concepts in the Lunokhod series and the L5 for possible use on future crewed missions to the Moon or Mars. These rover designs were all pressurized for longer sorties. If multiple bases were established on the lunar surface, they could be linked together by permanent railway systems. Both conventional and magnetic levitation Maglev systems have been proposed for the transport lines. Mag-Lev systems are particularly attractive as there is no atmosphere on the surface to slow down the train , so the vehicles could achieve velocities comparable to aircraft on the Earth.

    One significant difference with lunar trains, however, is that the cars would need to be individually sealed and possess their own life support systems. For difficult areas, a flying vehicle may be more suitable. Experience so far indicates that launching human beings into space is much more expensive than launching cargo.

    One way to get materials and products from the Moon to an interplanetary way station might be with a mass driver , a magnetically accelerated projectile launcher. Cargo would be picked up from orbit or an Earth-Moon Lagrangian point by a shuttle craft using ion propulsion , solar sails or other means and delivered to Earth orbit or other destinations such as near-Earth asteroids, Mars or other planets, perhaps using the Interplanetary Transport Network.

    A lunar space elevator could transport people, raw materials and products to and from an orbital station at Lagrangian points L 1 or L 2. Chemical rockets would take a payload from Earth to the L 1 lunar Lagrange location. From there a tether would slowly lower the payload to a soft landing on the lunar surface. Other possibilities include a momentum exchange tether system. A cislunar transport system has been proposed using tethers to achieve momentum exchange.

    For long-term sustainability, a space colony should be close to self-sufficient. Mining and refining the Moon's materials on-site — for use both on the Moon and elsewhere in the Solar System — could provide an advantage over deliveries from Earth, as they can be launched into space at a much lower energy cost than from Earth. It is possible that large amounts of cargo would need to be launched into space for interplanetary exploration in the 21st century, and the lower cost of providing goods from the Moon might be attractive. In the long term, the Moon will likely play an important role in supplying space-based construction facilities with raw materials.

    On Earth, the gas bubbles rise and burst, but in a zero gravity environment, that does not happen. The annealing process requires large amounts of energy, as a material is kept very hot for an extended period of time. This allows the molecular structure to realign. Exporting material to Earth in trade from the Moon is more problematic due to the cost of transportation, which would vary greatly if the Moon is industrially developed see "Launch costs" above.

    How Close Are We to Building a Moon Base?

    One suggested trade commodity is helium-3 3 He which is carried by the solar wind and accumulated on the Moon's surface over billions of years, but occurs only rarely on Earth. In the future 3 He harvested from the Moon may have a role as a fuel in thermonuclear fusion reactors. To reduce the cost of transport, the Moon could store propellants produced from lunar water at one or several depots between the Earth and the Moon, to resupply rockets or satellites in Earth orbit.

    Gerard K. O'Neill , noting the problem of high launch costs in the early s, came up with the idea of building Solar Power Satellites in orbit with materials from the Moon. This proposal was based on the contemporary estimates of future launch costs of the Space Shuttle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Moonbase disambiguation. Proposed establishment of a permanent human community or robotic industries on the Moon.

    This box: view talk edit. Main article: Project Horizon. Main article: Lunex Project. Main articles: Exploration of the Moon and List of missions to the Moon. Main article: Lunar water. Play media. Further information: Space colonization. Further information: Geology of the Moon. Further information: Peak of eternal light. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Small scale, tele-operated and autonomous robotic in-situ resource utilization ISRU projects are first, followed by electric power, communication, and transportation networks manufactured from lunar resources.

    These infrastructure networks are field tested an commissioned in the polar regions of the Moon, and permanent human settlements are then established. Through several phases of development, the utility networks grow, and the number of permanently inhabited bases increases to inculde all areas of interest on the Moon. The book stresses that the envisioned "Planet Moon Project" will link the technological and cultural expertise of humanity to the virtually limitless resources of space. From that beginning, the people of the Earth reap substatntial benefits from space, and the human species will evolve into a spacefaring civilization.

    From the reviews of the second edition:. This book Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. The book The book has well-described ideas and illustrations for lunar development concepts. The scope includes discussion of robotics technology and its near-term application to lunar operations. Country of Publication: US Dimensions cm : Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Cooper , Madhu Thangavelu. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 15 business days.

    Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!


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