But the bigger challenge IMO is that Starship would need to serve as the core of said inflatable. Bigelow’s designs featured a core which comprised the machinery, work surfaces, and other “hard goods” of the module, with the inflatable surface surrounding it. That is, the core was always contained inside the inflatable skin itself. How would the same be made to work with Starship? The inhabitable ring proposed would need be completely separate from the outer surface of the Starship, at which point you have probably tripled the amount of skin surface required.
That’s a fun idea. NASA and Bigelow’s inflatable designs have all targeted micro-gravity environments, which the Moon and Mars are not of course. So any ring(s) expanding beyond the Starship would need to provide floors, and ISTM that works against the ‘open volume’ we’ve seen in other inflatable designs.
Microgravity simplifies an inflatable structure but is not mandatory. When I was a kid (1950's) the USAF had some very large inflatable hemispherical domes intended for rapidly-deployed command centers after a nuclear war. I think they were at least 150 feet in diameter. They brought them out and inflated them for visitors' day at Andrews AFB and set up displays and exhibits inside.
Oh exactly! The structures would be built from the inside out. A huge problem with many habitat ideas would be building something in the space environment, either with robots or astronauts in bulky suits; easier to build when you have at least an atmosphere and no dust.
You would not need to use Starship as the central core. Such a structure on the Moon would have a higher differential pressure and less downward force due to gravity, so keeping the bottom flat is a larger problem, but not insurmountable.
Agreed. At this point I think we’re past your opening concept, @redliox, and are just talking about pressurized domes in general. But Starship could be a great delivery vehicle for said domes, and might play a key role in powering/pressurizing one. I could imagine a dome habitat raised next to a landed Starship that didn’t plan on a return trip: dome + skyscraper.