Author Topic: Startup Moon Base Concepts  (Read 22066 times)

Offline Mr. Scott

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Startup Moon Base Concepts
« on: 04/13/2018 03:45 AM »
Describe your greatest conceptual ideas for building a startup moon base anywhere on the moon.

Minimum requirements:
After describing what happens at the moon base (i.e. tourism, science, etc), don't forget to name your moon base and describe where it is located on a moon map. 

The ultimate challenge is to describe what happens at the moon base during 14 days of perpetual darkness if not located somewhere near the poles.

Have fun, be creative, be kind.  Extra points for humor and zingers.

Google Moon
https://www.google.com/moon/
« Last Edit: 04/13/2018 04:10 AM by Mr. Scott »
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Offline sanman

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #1 on: 04/13/2018 10:23 PM »
Could it be possible to establish energy-storage capable of spanning the 2-week-long lunar night?

America's McMurdo station in Antarctica does have an atomic reactor, as I recall, but with the abundance of solar energy on the Moon, it might seem easier to store that energy to help last the night.

On the other hand, you might want multiple power supplies and backups in case something failed.

Would robotic hardware be able to function on the lunar surface during the nighttime period? Or would the heating requirements for their electronics mean rather limited duration excursions out on the surface?

Offline eric z

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #2 on: 04/13/2018 10:28 PM »
 I'm down for "Collins Gateway" and "John Young Base' or, in a different direction, "Selene City". 8)
  This is a thread that should be fun, Please!!!

Offline speedevil

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #3 on: 04/13/2018 11:19 PM »
Would robotic hardware be able to function on the lunar surface during the nighttime period? Or would the heating requirements for their electronics mean rather limited duration excursions out on the surface?
It's all about scale.
Take a space blanket-like single skin of metallised plastic, suspend this 5m above the surface in a 50m square, and you have reduced the day-night temperature swings to earth climate normal, for a mass of well under a ton.
They will rapidly trend under the plastic to the long-term average, with minimal variations. You can trim it up or down by playing with selective coatings and holes in the sheet.

The long-term average near the equator is around 0-25C.

However.
For sufficiently large robots, operating at night may actually be easier.

If you imagine:
http://www.mining.com/web/caterpillar-develops-proof-concept-battery-electric-lhd/

The base variant of this is 27 tons, and it has a 100kW motor, and the surface area is around 40m^2, totalling only the enclosing box.

If we assume 10kW of this is available as waste heat, with an electrical system, and circulate fluid or actively heat parts, this is 250W/m^2. 250W/m^2 will easily overheat, unless we actively pick an emissive paint. Shiny metal will overheat.

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #4 on: 04/14/2018 08:23 PM »
Allright, so here is my favorite lunar base.

The name: ILS - International Lunar Base. I would like to call it Armstrong-Colaprete base or Cabeus base (since ice would be dug from this crater for example), but since it is international this won't work.

It is to be set at south lunar pole, wherever there is an optimum between access to sunlight and ice.

Same international collaboration as ISS.

The crucial part is the reusable lander. The lander would be mostly dormant on a landing pad near the base. Two times a year it would lift off to transfer the crew of two. The fuel would be made from lunar ice.

The station would have 4 crew members, except when lander lifts of with old crew and lands new crew (all in single flight). Individual persons would stay one year.

The aim is similar to ISS: both scientific research and learning to live in space. There will be no zero gravity research, but in return there will be a lot of geology to study.

Solar panels that are smaller than ISS' would be enough to produce fuel for the lander.

Astronauts would be transported from Earth on e.g. Delta IV Heavy or Proton (good luck!) and their craft would have only enough capability to enter lunar orbit and return to boost back to Earth.

Note I am not mentioning SpaceX, because SpaceX would have already colonized the neighboring parallel universe with the IUR (Inter Universal Rocket) Full Thrust v1.2+ , by the time this lunar base is finished (say 2060).

One neat thing: cryo-propellants are stored in permanent shadow.

That's about it.
« Last Edit: 04/14/2018 08:31 PM by turbopumpfeedback2 »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #5 on: 04/15/2018 01:57 PM »
The Dave Scott lunar base is set at the Marius Hills underground lava tube - 57 degree North, 14 degree South, near Oceanus Procellarum.

It consists of (so far) of three Bigelow 2100 modules inflated in the huge cave, which is 2 miles wide - and the nexus of a seemingly never ending network of lava tubes running for miles and miles below the lunar surface. In the long term, more and more inflatables will be chained together into the tubes to create a colony.

The base is powered by a small Molten Salt Reactor deployed in an adjacent cave, far enough so that the lunar crust makes a big radiation shield.

Access is by a reusable lander going back and forth between the base and EML-2 gateway, itself serviced by crew and cargo vehicles of ISS legacy (Dragon / CST-100 / Cygnus / Orion) and later on, BFR / BFS.

The landing pad is near the edge of the 200 ft diameter skylight, where a giant elevator carries crew and cargo at the bottom of the pit.

The cave very stable temperature also help storing large amounts of propellants. By the way, oxygen is mined from the cave rocks, and turned into LOX. Of course liquid hydrogen is a little harder to find, so far away from the poles.

The base is mostly a research station, yet the experience will help setting a similar base on Mars, where similar caves have been found, although smaller, since gravity there is stronger. In both case, the cave solves - at least partially - the teething problem of a very abrasive surface dust.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 02:04 PM by Archibald »
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #6 on: 04/15/2018 04:30 PM »
Would robotic hardware be able to function on the lunar surface during the nighttime period? Or would the heating requirements for their electronics mean rather limited duration excursions out on the surface?
It's all about scale.
Take a space blanket-like single skin of metallised plastic, suspend this 5m above the surface in a 50m square, and you have reduced the day-night temperature swings to earth climate normal, for a mass of well under a ton.
They will rapidly trend under the plastic to the long-term average, with minimal variations. You can trim it up or down by playing with selective coatings and holes in the sheet.

The long-term average near the equator is around 0-25C.

However.
For sufficiently large robots, operating at night may actually be easier.

If you imagine:
http://www.mining.com/web/caterpillar-develops-proof-concept-battery-electric-lhd/

The base variant of this is 27 tons, and it has a 100kW motor, and the surface area is around 40m^2, totalling only the enclosing box.

If we assume 10kW of this is available as waste heat, with an electrical system, and circulate fluid or actively heat parts, this is 250W/m^2. 250W/m^2 will easily overheat, unless we actively pick an emissive paint. Shiny metal will overheat.

Looks good, excavation equipment seems very much needed.

Would the cis-lunar station concept be a useful intermediate waypoint to land an excavator - or any other equipment folks have identified on this thread?

Recent NSF Article:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/cislunar-station-new-name-presidents-budget/
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 04:31 PM by Mr. Scott »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #7 on: 04/15/2018 05:07 PM »
{snip}
The cave very stable temperature also help storing large amounts of propellants. By the way, oxygen is mined from the cave rocks, and turned into LOX. Of course liquid hydrogen is a little harder to find, so far away from the poles.

{snip}

Aluminium can be used a rocket and ground vehicle fuel. Providing it can be kept cold the water in ALICE can be replaced by liquid oxygen.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALICE_%28propellant%29

Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #8 on: 04/15/2018 05:09 PM »
Allright, so here is my favorite lunar base.

The name: ILS - International Lunar Base. I would like to call it Armstrong-Colaprete base or Cabeus base (since ice would be dug from this crater for example), but since it is international this won't work.

It is to be set at south lunar pole, wherever there is an optimum between access to sunlight and ice.

Same international collaboration as ISS.

The crucial part is the reusable lander. The lander would be mostly dormant on a landing pad near the base. Two times a year it would lift off to transfer the crew of two. The fuel would be made from lunar ice.

The station would have 4 crew members, except when lander lifts of with old crew and lands new crew (all in single flight). Individual persons would stay one year.

The aim is similar to ISS: both scientific research and learning to live in space. There will be no zero gravity research, but in return there will be a lot of geology to study.

Solar panels that are smaller than ISS' would be enough to produce fuel for the lander.

Astronauts would be transported from Earth on e.g. Delta IV Heavy or Proton (good luck!) and their craft would have only enough capability to enter lunar orbit and return to boost back to Earth.

Note I am not mentioning SpaceX, because SpaceX would have already colonized the neighboring parallel universe with the IUR (Inter Universal Rocket) Full Thrust v1.2+ , by the time this lunar base is finished (say 2060).

One neat thing: cryo-propellants are stored in permanent shadow.

That's about it.
Suppose the international collaborations are at risk.  Which countries would be good to partner with (from a technical perspective)?  Have to leave politics out of it.  But, what countries provide the best capabilities to build this international lunar station?
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Offline philw1776

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #9 on: 04/15/2018 10:32 PM »
China & Russia have technical expertise and have landed vehicles on solar system bodies.  ESA has done a comet lander.  Those folks are where I'd start.  JAXA who has participated in ISS would be next.  After that, Canader, etc.
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Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #10 on: 04/17/2018 07:10 AM »
America's McMurdo station in Antarctica does have an atomic reactor, as I recall, but with the abundance of solar energy on the Moon, it might seem easier to store that energy to help last the night.

McMurdo had a reactor from 1962 to 1972. It was decommissioned due to lack of reliability. My favourite method for power during the Lunar night is to place a solar power station at EML-1 to beam power down to the base. During eclipses, a battery can be used.

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph241/reid2/
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #11 on: 04/17/2018 09:14 AM »
America's McMurdo station in Antarctica does have an atomic reactor, as I recall, but with the abundance of solar energy on the Moon, it might seem easier to store that energy to help last the night.

McMurdo had a reactor from 1962 to 1972. It was decommissioned due to lack of reliability. My favourite method for power during the Lunar night is to place a solar power station at EML-1 to beam power down to the base. During eclipses, a battery can be used.

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph241/reid2/
I like power beaming concept, if power satellite is in high orbit then it can service multiple sites on each orbit. Add more satellites to give more continous power and redundancy. Sites can, bases, monitoring station or exploration rovers of various sizes.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2018 09:14 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #12 on: 04/17/2018 11:54 AM »
McMurdo had a reactor from 1962 to 1972. It was decommissioned due to lack of reliability. My favourite method for power during the Lunar night is to place a solar power station at EML-1 to beam power down to the base. During eclipses, a battery can be used.

As always, it depends on landing cost.
EML1 is quite a long way.
As one example, assuming for no particularly good reason a 10kWe reactor, miniaturised to an all-up weight of a couple of tons landed weight, for $10M, which seems optimistic.

Or, $1000/W.
Making many of the same assumptions of the powering martian civilisation from ebay thread.
Assuming a somewhat mid-latitude landing site, with solar panels tilted south at latitude, power input on untilting panels is close to 300W/m^2 average, with average of 60W(av)/m^2 out for 20% efficient cells.

To get 12kWe(av) (assuming some losses in batteries), that's a total of 200m^2 of solar cells needed.
Assuming cells of a comparable weight to the ones in the above thread, 800kg.
We need about 20 days * 10kWe worth of batteries, so 4800kWh.
About 60 85kWh tesla S batteries, or 32 tons.

So, the total mass is of the order of 40 tons, not 2 tons, but the cost is $2M, not $10M.

If we spend 8M landing 40 tons, that means that if we can land stuff on the moon for under $200/kg, solar is cheaper than the reactor.

Of course, if the reactor is $50M, ...

(the above solar cells would not quite work, something like making a V,with the solar panel pointed north, and 3m mirror film 330 to reflect only the 'cold' portion of the spectrum would be needed to stop them melting, and possibly a covering system at night - however I did not closely investigate this as it would not add particular cost, and the mass and $ of the batteries was wholly dominant)

Offline DougSpace

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #13 on: 04/17/2018 06:40 PM »
NAME: New Plymouth

LOCATION: Between a Peak of Persistent Illumination and a 1-2 km, permanently-shadowed crater at the 8:30 position on Shackleton Crater.

ACTIVITY:
  Phase 0 - Prospecting of craters near the base.
  Phase 1 - Telerobotic Phase - One-way FH-XEUS mission to deliver 10 tonnes of solar power, Ice Harvester(s), Dexterous Telerobot, & spare parts.  Continued teleops to increase ISRU prop production and telerobotically setting up a large-flat-roofed, regolith-covered UniHab in prep for Phase 2.
  Phase 2 - Initial Crew - Four couples + dog staying indefinitely.  Main purpose to maintain and expand telerobotic workforce, demonstrate increasing levels of Earth independence (by mass), and set up inflatable habs for Phase 3.
  Phase 3 - International Lunar Exploration - Nearly weekly arrival of astronauts from around the world to conduct suborbital lunar exploration on behalf of their citizens.  They purchase transportation from the participating companies so it’s countries purchasing transport from commercial providers.  Base beginning to expand as some of the international astronauts remain behind.  ISRU and increased flight rate reduces the cost per seat leading up to Phase 4.
  Phase 4 - Private Settlement - People who can afford (e.g. mostly retirees) move to the expanding base / settlement.  Revenue = their savings.  Motivation = Legacy — playing their part in helping to establish New Plymouth as humanity’s first permanent foothold off Earth.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2018 07:27 PM by DougSpace »

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #14 on: 04/17/2018 07:40 PM »
Among the best currently sites for a long-term scientific base on the Moon must be the Marius Hills.

The area was considered as an exploration site in pre-Apollo planning, and eventually became an alternate landing site for Apollo 15 and was also considered for Apollo 17, so there was significant scientific interest in the site in the 60s and 70s (and presumably still is today). It's one of the areas on the Moon with a very high concentration of volcanic features: it's littered with volcanic cones, lava domes, rilles, and there's a possible lava tube skylight in the area.

So it's a location that can be visited by multiple teams, with many different features that can be studied by each successive team.

Also, Tycho Crater would be a spectacular location for the scenery, with the crater rim in the distance and the central peak dominating the landscape. It would be similar to what the Curiosity rover sees on Mars. Surveyor 7 could be visited there, and samples of it taken to see what very long term exposure to the lunar environment does - at least one visit to a Surveyor, or Apollo, or Luna, or Lunokhod site should be done as a precursor to the establishment of a permanent lunar base for this reason.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2018 07:41 PM by whitelancer64 »
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #15 on: 04/18/2018 02:03 AM »
Aerospace Corp report hit the news today for Cis-lunar/lunar stations:  what to do and why...
http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=51337

I'm enjoying our posts much more. 
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #16 on: 04/19/2018 02:39 AM »
Among the best currently sites for a long-term scientific base on the Moon must be the Marius Hills.

The area was considered as an exploration site in pre-Apollo planning, and eventually became an alternate landing site for Apollo 15 and was also considered for Apollo 17, so there was significant scientific interest in the site in the 60s and 70s (and presumably still is today). It's one of the areas on the Moon with a very high concentration of volcanic features: it's littered with volcanic cones, lava domes, rilles, and there's a possible lava tube skylight in the area.

So it's a location that can be visited by multiple teams, with many different features that can be studied by each successive team.

Also, Tycho Crater would be a spectacular location for the scenery, with the crater rim in the distance and the central peak dominating the landscape. It would be similar to what the Curiosity rover sees on Mars. Surveyor 7 could be visited there, and samples of it taken to see what very long term exposure to the lunar environment does - at least one visit to a Surveyor, or Apollo, or Luna, or Lunokhod site should be done as a precursor to the establishment of a permanent lunar base for this reason.

So if there was a visitor center at the edge of Tycho, that would be a pretty awesome sightseeing trip.  4.8 km deep.  Aitken basin at the South Pole.... 13 km deep.  That would be a stunning sight to see.

A little jet pack to tour up & down the crater would be crazy fun.  Perhaps zip lines from the edge of tycho to the center.  Long distance, but totally awesome for vacationing.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2018 02:40 AM by Mr. Scott »
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Offline Archibald

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #17 on: 04/19/2018 04:54 PM »
And imagine what it would be to visit one of these giant lunar caves. Very serious scientists did the maths and found the moon low gravity may result in caves 2 to 3 miles wide. Kind of subterranean cathedral.

I'm not saying the trip would be easy - it would be quite dangerous, for many reasons - but it would be one hell of an exploration. As for the Marius Hills, the lava tubes may very well form a kind of extensive underground network.

(quick search on the world longest caves just blew my mind. 400 miles ?  :o )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_caves
« Last Edit: 04/19/2018 04:59 PM by Archibald »
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #18 on: 04/24/2018 05:17 PM »
Do you think a subterranean/sublunar cave would be a useful way to make a moon base?  In other words, pressurize it with breathable air and then have the cave act as the primary facility infrastructure?
« Last Edit: 04/24/2018 08:49 PM by Mr. Scott »
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Offline Steve G

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Re: Startup Moon Base Concepts
« Reply #19 on: 04/24/2018 07:46 PM »
Before we can even discuss a lunar base, we need to understand the architecture to get us there. I honestly don't think BFR/BFS will fly as currently envisioned. (Way too big, mission profiles too complex) But should I be proven wrong, having that insanely huge lunar lander with many tons of supplies, would be a complete game-changer. Altair-type disposable landers are a complete waste of money and non-sustainable. We need to look at some kind of lunar landing shuttle (gets refurbished, gassed up and reloaded in cis-lunar space). Also, dust-free landing pads would have to be set up in short order since even dust has no resistance to the blast from landing engines. Recall the Apollo 15 16mm DAC footage during liftoff of the Mylar being blasted clear over the ALSEP package. If not, every landing outside a landing pad would sandblast the facilities on the ground.

Assuming we have a sustainable architecture, this is what I see. (I'll leave the location of the base to more qualified individuals but the northern rim of Peary crater, close to the north pole, and the South Pole-Aitken basin, seem to be the current favourites.)

1) You would still require a few, preliminary exploration missions to scout the final location. Both unmanned, and manned to verify the selection.
2) Unmanned cargo flights setting down initial habitats and equipment.
3) Power would be solar panels and batteries. Batteries have come a long way even in the last ten years. (Keep it simple to start, more exotic power supplies will follow.) Fuel cells would also be good for lunar nights, since the byproduct of water can be reconverted into Oxygen and Hydrogen during the power abundant lunar day. Having a pole-located site with those few permanently sunlit areas would reduce the long lunar night power shortages.
4) Initial activities would focus on habitat and radiation protection. (Covering the structures in regolith, etc.)
5) First research would be resource exploitation. Learn how to live off the land, grow food, harvest alloys, O2, water, and eventually 3D printing from available resources.
6) First phase will be conservative, based on habitats brought from earth, resupply missions would be required, and cargo flights with new equipment. As soon as possible, transition to living off the land, reducing (but not eliminating) consumables from earth.
7) Extended range research would commence using shuttle buses, long range rovers, etc. Setting up adjacent camps at resource rich locations.
8) Expanding the base constructed with lunar materials.

Any one-way spacecraft, cargo landers, etc, would have to have salvageable components for further re-use. Even the ability to drain leftover propellants for other uses. LOX-Hydrogen would be the most salvageable leftover fuel, versus methane based propulsion)

Initial crews would be four, with three month tours (to limit radiation exposure until more in known about it, and radiation mitigation matures).

From a USA perspective from these Canadian eyes, I wouldn't count on any international partners. I would have the core facilities without international assistance, yet, welcome those who will enhance the base. I would steer away from Russian and Chinese cooperation, only permitting them as an add-on benefit, not key facilities-if at all.


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