Author Topic: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?  (Read 10847 times)


Offline mong'

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #1 on: 07/31/2006 08:02 PM »
well, if those lava tubes are stable then it might be a good way to produce huge pressurized living space, just seal up the entry, fill with oxygen at a reasonable pressure and here you go, hundreds of square meters of radiation/meteorite-proof living space.
even more if they can really be 1 km wide. this is a live-off-the-land approach that should be seriously considered

Offline TyMoore

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #2 on: 08/01/2006 12:15 AM »
I'd wonder about the porosity of the walls. You might end up losing a lot of air simply by it diffusing through the rock.

Also, there are the possible soil chemistry questions: some of the Apollo astronauts reported that loose lunar dust had somewhat of a 'gunpowder' like smell. That makes me think that there are probably some free radicals or active oxides, possibly even superoxides in the soil.  All exposed rock on Earth has to some extent been 'weathered' by exposure to air, water, etc. No such thing on the moon--so we may have to contend with different chemistry?

In any case, I think that somekind of barrier might still be needed--a spray on liner perhaps.

Offline astrobrian

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #3 on: 08/01/2006 12:30 AM »
Nevermind porisity or liners, just keeping a 1km wide tube preasurizedwould be one massive task in itself.

Offline zinfab

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #4 on: 08/01/2006 01:27 AM »
if it's a km wide (unlikely choice if you want a tight fit 'base'), then it would be an inflatable tent structure.

More likely we'd choose a narrower tube.

Compelling idea. I like it.

Offline imfan

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #5 on: 08/01/2006 08:08 AM »
why dont  paint it by sime kind of latex or something from inside?

Offline stargazer777

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #6 on: 08/01/2006 10:01 AM »
I think such subsurface locations will be utilized by long term lunar colonists -- either natural or excavated.  In addition to the hazards on the Moon such as micrometeorites and radiation that would never reach the Earth's surface, underground facilities will be less subject to the radical changes in temperature on the Moon's surface -- a major advantage.  Large pressurized spaces will be necessary for a wide range of activities that will eventually occur on the Moon including manufacturing and food production, so large natural caves or lava tubes would be very valuable.  Most caves on Earth are the product of water erosion over many thousands of years.  Natural subsurface structures on the Moon can be produced by lava flows -- or other processes we have not seen yet.  However, just like natural caves on Earth, they likely won't be where you want them to be and they will have to be "substantially improved"  (sealed, secured, reinforced, etc.) before any human habitation.  Although the Moon is not geologically active to the same degree as the Earth, it is not completely dead either.  Moonquakes could still pose a serious threat in such natural caves.  I would imagine any habitat in a lava tube or other natural subsurface structure would have a pressurized structure isolated from the structure of the cave or lava tube.  Regarding the suggestion that robots be dispatched to search for lava tubes, I would think that orbital surveys utilzing deep penetrating radar should be able to identify likely sites for such a search if not the specific structure.

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #7 on: 08/01/2006 12:45 PM »
I think any such use will be long-term. You can get most of the benefits of this (insulation and radiation screening) simply by building/landing/moving a metal-skin, or even possibly an inflatable, base in a small crater or other suitable depression and then shovelling regolith on top of it (the air pressure will withstand quite a thickness of regolith on the Moon).

A handy cave may be a useful shelter from a solar flare or other dangerous, though short-lived radiation event, especially if you have a pressurised rover you could just drive into it. Otherwise I think the difficulties of furbishing a cave will make it inefficient compared with 'traditional' structures for small bases (which is all we'll have for quite a while). There is presumably some cross-over point as the base gets larger though.

Offline tycho

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #8 on: 08/01/2006 07:36 PM »
How ironic, we started in cave too on the earth very long ago.

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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #9 on: 08/01/2006 08:26 PM »
I would argue a lava tube would be a great place for a base. Why?

1. Those tubes are extremely stable, they formed when lava last flowed on the moon. How many million years ago was that? They have survived moon quakes, impacts, and old age...
2. Very thick layers of solid rock formed arround them, great radiation shield, great fallout shelter if a LEM comes down in a bad way.
3. Lava fields typically form large numbers of tubes. You can pick and match which tubes provide the best characteristics for your needs and build your base around it. Some of earth lava tubes are several miles in length.
4. They are temperature stable. Almost no lunar day to night extreme temperature swings. 50 feet of rock is the best insulation money can buy.

Lava is very porous and sharp. It probally be best to inflate a liner inside of the tube after it has been groomed (rubble, sharp edges removed). Isn't some guy who owns a hotel or two testing one of those in orbit right now?

I might have a little bias though, I usually lend my spare time (One to Two weekends a month) to cave mapping projects in NY and WV. Last weekend I spent 16 hrs. underground on a mapping trip (Hint it was 17 on the US long caves list, was). In all my years underground I have never seen a rock fall without an outside (human) influence. You are safer in a cave than almost anywhere... I wonder what the temp is inside lunar tubes. On earth they are usually the average yearly temperature of the area. Mid to upper 40' in NY, Low to mid 50's in WV, and very warm in the southwest.

Yes I do belong to several underground organizations,
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Offline mong'

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #10 on: 08/01/2006 09:31 PM »
you make some good points kevin.  those caves have great potential, there definately needs to be more studies on them.
although I agree it wouldn't be practical anytime soon, they might give a little push to the long term settlement of the moon, and if by any chance some of those tubes happen to be close to a PGM (or other rare materials) site, then it could open the way to large scale mining operations on the moon

Quote
tycho - 1/8/2006  9:23 PM

How ironic, we started in cave too on the earth very long ago.


I agree, it is fascinating how things evolve and, in a way, stay the same. the most sophisticated vehicles ever built bringing people to the most primitive form of habitation.


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #11 on: 08/02/2006 12:46 AM »
Quote
I agree, it is fascinating how things evolve and, in a way, stay the same. the most sophisticated vehicles ever built bringing people to the most primitive form of habitation.


The stone age did not end because we ran out of rocks
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Offline mlorrey

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #12 on: 08/03/2006 09:03 PM »
It ended because we ran out of caves,  and the best ones were always infested with 20 foot tall bears or sabre toothed lions. Fortunately, we don't have that problem anymore, though why people don't live underground today is another question. Certainly saves on the HVAC needs, they are secure, pretty fireproof.
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Offline tycho

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #13 on: 08/06/2006 11:26 AM »
Quote
mlorrey - 3/8/2006  3:50 PM

It ended because we ran out of caves,  and the best ones were always infested with 20 foot tall bears or sabre toothed lions. Fortunately, we don't have that problem anymore, though why people don't live underground today is another question. Certainly saves on the HVAC needs, they are secure, pretty fireproof.

Don't agree, I think they left caves because, indeed they are same as us, feeling for exploration to the unknown and being more advanced.



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Offline braddock

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RE: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #14 on: 08/06/2006 01:07 PM »
Just for a point of Earthly reference, here is a picture of a lava cave in Saudi Arabia.  

As you can see, a lava cave tends to be large and regular; much more ideal than more common eroded caves.  

They also have regular, fairly smooth walls (unless it collapses).

I don't know about the porous properties of moon lava to gas, but if that is a problem I could imagine using a coating of moon dust glass as a sealant?


Offline TyMoore

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RE: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #15 on: 08/06/2006 04:00 PM »

Nice pictures there.

I suppose one could spray something like moon dust onto the walls (not sure about dry adhesion though--it'll probably just fall off the wall,) and then use a high powered laser to sinter it to the walls. A follow of scan to fuse it into an airtight skin would probably be needed.

I would imagine that the main difficulty will be ataching some kind of 'bulk head' with an airlock system will be the most technically challanging part. The stresses at the transition of pressurized to vacuum will result in siginificant tension of the rock. This could result in fracturing. A rough idea of the amount of force acting on a bulkhead holding 10psi for a 30ft by 20ft lavatube (mathematically rectangular for simplicity):

<>30 ft*20 ft *144in2 /ft2*10psi = 864,000 lb

The force concentrated around the perimeter of the bulkhead is approximately: 864,000 lb/(2*30ft +2*20ft) = 8640 lb/ft of perimeter.

If the bulkhead sill is 2 inches thick this suggests a shear force per unit area of about:

(8640 lb/ft * 1ft/12*in)/2 in =  360 psi.

If the bulkhead were curved and set well into the bedrock, then perhaps a safe pressure tight bulkhead could wall off the open end of the lavatube on the moon. Interesting...

 


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #16 on: 08/07/2006 01:34 AM »
A real liner would be nicer then spray on coating.

1. If the wall cracks or shifts a little a spray on coating will crack resulting in a leak. The liner may rub, but hopefully should not leak.
2. The end caps are easier if built into a liner. The lava tubes are going to be longer than anything you need (at first). Bigelow's inflatable outpost would be great. It would just suck to be the guy who has to drag it in ... Can I volunteer?
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Offline publiusr

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #17 on: 10/17/2006 10:44 PM »
"Rockets are, in some ways, simpler than internal combustion engines--no pistons, no drive shaft...

Rockets! So easy even a caveman could do it."



UH! Gor offended! We make rocket good in Alabama. uf uf uf....

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Uf--this get better. "F" in history. He flunk something not even happen yet!



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Offline marciano77

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #18 on: 01/23/2010 10:29 AM »
the confirmed existence of these lava tunnels underneath the moon surface absolutely offers the best option for sheltering on the moon, for architecture and living purpose.  After reviewing everyone's comments, it is evident that something needs to be adjusted in order to make them safe, but what I personally see as an advantage here is the space offered by these tunnels, we should take advantage of it to set up pressurized tends like the one being tested in Antarctica, they are easy to carry and set up  and will be ideal to fit a large group of astronauts. you can read more about here is the link
http://thefutureofthings.com/pod/1060/nasa-to-test-lunar-habitat.html

I'm currently working on a proposal for NASA to develop an outpost on an specific sector of the moon and i'm looking for ideas on what could be the best architecture to house  a crew of 4 people for a 60 days mission.

Please reply back to me if you would like to share some good ideas,

Thank you,

Alex


Offline khallow

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #19 on: 01/23/2010 03:09 PM »
the confirmed existence of these lava tunnels underneath the moon surface absolutely offers the best option for sheltering on the moon, for architecture and living purpose.  After reviewing everyone's comments, it is evident that something needs to be adjusted in order to make them safe, but what I personally see as an advantage here is the space offered by these tunnels, we should take advantage of it to set up pressurized tends like the one being tested in Antarctica, they are easy to carry and set up  and will be ideal to fit a large group of astronauts. you can read more about here is the link
http://thefutureofthings.com/pod/1060/nasa-to-test-lunar-habitat.html

I'm currently working on a proposal for NASA to develop an outpost on an specific sector of the moon and i'm looking for ideas on what could be the best architecture to house  a crew of 4 people for a 60 days mission.

Interesting idea. I see a number of stages (in a far from complete list) in this.

1) Find suitable locations. That is, build up a database on lunar lava tubes and image the interior of a number of these tubes. If you really like a location and you really need to know exactly how it's shaped (say for a custom-made tent), then you can always send a special probe to make exact measurements of the shape of the tube walls and floor.

2) Determine power generation and any power storage, if required. This more than anything else determines (in my humble opinion) the layout of the base. As I see it there are three choices to mix and match: solar, fission, and geothermal. You might have some battery storage too, but it's going to be hard to use that to survive a lunar winter unless your nighttime power needs are very low.

Also, if you plan to have a greenhouse, it needs to be worked in here (even if the greenhouse comes in much later). Plants either need sunlight or plant lights (LED plant lamps look good enough here and are very efficient). My impression is that you have effectively three choices: direct solar light (meaning the greenhouse is most likely outside), fiber optics solar lighting, or LED lighting via the above power source.

3) Where will any vehicles land? Should be some sort of hill or crater rim between the landing area and the base entrance. You'll need transportation from the landing site to the habitat and storage areas.

4)You might also want some sort of liner over the entire tube entrance to keep stuff out and heat in. A similar liner covering the rear of the habitat might be desired in order to keep debris from activities further along in the tube from getting in.

5) Inflatable habitat structures sound cool to me. That'll lead to a well-deserved phobia about sharp things (that is, aichmophobia) , anywhere near the structure. I think selection of appropriate structure can be put off till later in the selection process. You probably should figure out how make the design sufficiently flexible to fit the tube rather than find a tube to fit the structure.

6) Outside storage for the sharp stuff that you don't want near the habitat. That might be as simple as throwing a thermal blanket over stuff.

7) Communication. You need some sort of communication network that works from inside the lava tube. If it's wireless based, you'll need at least one repeater near the entrance to the tube. Wired is the other option.

8 ) Sanitary/food preparation. Not a clue. But astronauts need to eat and poop.

Some observations.

1) Inflatable structures want to be round like a sphere or cylinder with rounded ends. Any sharp corners or bends in the structure are likely places for leaks and tears due to the high stress on those regions. This makes half dome structures (round top, flat bottom) a bit tricky where the floor and ceiling meet.

You might be able to make do with a cylinder shape (assuming you can fit it in your lava tube) with a rigid, raised floor. You gain storage space underneath the floor. Problem is that this sort of floor is likely to transmit vibration (which can upset sleepers or delicate experiments).

You should be able to hang surprisingly heavy stuff off of the outer surfaces of the structure (inside or outside). Anything near atmospheric pressure (pressure drop across the membrane) is a lot of force per unit area. However, hanging 300 kg of stuff on one side, without balancing weight on the other side will slowly rotate an unanchored (presumably heavy) structure. Conversely, if your tent gets twisted (say while you're setting it up), hanging weights on the wall is a quick way to untwist and shape it how you like.

Whatever you do, you'll need a heavy duty liner on the bottom to protect the base of the structure. Expect dirt, bolts, and other things to get caught in there.

2) Finding and patching air leaks will be a real pain. Bank on your astronauts doing a bit of this either from inside or outside the habitat throughout the life of the inflatable structure.

3) You can drill holes in the roof and sides of the lava tube. This could be a way to slip in electricity, communication cable, or solar lighting fiber. More elaborate ideas down the road could include elevators, dumbwaiters, and pneumatic tubes. For example, suppose your geologist has been sample collecting. They might just drive up to a sample drop off station, put the samples in an airtight canister, and send it straight to the lab (via tube or dumbwaiter) without having to get anywhere near the habitat.

4) You have a huge pile of risks to retire. This could be used to help justify other missions while supporting your own. Here's a few things specific to this project: finding suitable lava tubes for human habitation, deploying inflatable structures on the Moon, power supply for a lunar base, patching inflatable habitats (and disaster recovery), and communication in a situation where something is out of line of sight of Earth for a long time.
« Last Edit: 01/23/2010 03:22 PM by khallow »
Karl Hallowell

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #20 on: 01/23/2010 04:21 PM »
I don't think air leakage will be much of a problem. Some lavas may be porous, but porosity isn't what counts: permeability is what you have to worry about, and lava isn't permeable at all--unless of course there are extensive joints (cracks) and faults. Also the direction of the joints are important: horizontal joints won't leak nearly as bad as vertical joints.

But even extensive vertical jointing will not be a problem because the bedrock within which the lava tube is embedded will be overlain by a significant layer of lunar regolith (soil). The thing about regolith is that it is completely unweathered. That is, the grains are all sharp edged and unrounded. This speaks to permeability again: in the oil industry, the best reservoir rock formations are well rounded sandstones because they are not only highly porous, but also highly permeable. Lunar regolith, on the other hand, packs so tightly and has had literally billions of years to get settled in, the permeability is next to zero, and since it's a soil, it can't crack.

In fact I remember a Moon Miner's Manifesto article that once suggested using a "Chunnel"-type digging machine to dig tunnels through the regolith. They suggested that mere air pressure would keep the tunnel from collapsing, and that air leakage through the regolith would be negligible. Ah, here is the the link: Lunar Base Construction by Regolith Tunneling (SEI; Stafford) by David D. Graham

Therefore, if a regolith tunnel is impervious to air leakage, then it will work just as well as overburden for even a badly jointed lava tube cave.

And in any case, a small amount of leakage isn't a big deal anyway. You're always going to be leaking air. If nothing else, every time you open an air lock, some air will be lost to space. And if you're making ISRU rocket fuel, you'll be losing "air" to space by the ton every time you light off a rocket. So the problem is not leakage per se, it's the question of whether the leakage would be more than negligible compared to your oxygen manufacturing capability.

So there will be no need to worry about spray-on sealants or expensive inflatable tents (if you're going with an inflatable tent, then why even stick it inside of a lava tube: just put it on the surface; if you want radiation protection as well, then just pile on some regolith). The biggest technical hurdle as I see it, will be constructing the bulkheads.

But of course this entire scenario depends on actually returning to the Moon with boots on the ground....
« Last Edit: 01/23/2010 04:22 PM by Warren Platts »
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Offline khallow

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #21 on: 01/24/2010 02:12 AM »

So there will be no need to worry about spray-on sealants or expensive inflatable tents (if you're going with an inflatable tent, then why even stick it inside of a lava tube: just put it on the surface; if you want radiation protection as well, then just pile on some regolith). The biggest technical hurdle as I see it, will be constructing the bulkheads.

My view is that it is possible to get a lot better protection and thermal isolation in a lava tube than you can get by piling regolith on your tent and since you're not piling up regolith, it's less work as well. The problem is that lava tubes aren't everywhere. You need certain geological conditions (basalt flows and a certain downhill gradient) in order to get lava tubes. A lot of the interesting places (which often are interesting because they have geology far different from that which generates lava tubes) won't have lava tubes anywhere near them for this reason.

As an aside, a lava tube also has a good geometry for focused manufacture facilities. If you find a long lava tube, you can create one or more sections (by tunneling into the tube or exploiting any other openings) of protected machinery that take raw materials on one side and spit out finished products on the other side. I know of no manufacturing instance like this in modern times, but there were examples of this during the Second World War, particularly the abominable Mittelwerk factory where V-2 rockets were produced.

The reasoning is that simply, some sorts of manufacturing infrastructure will be sensitive to radiation or thermal heating and cooling. The environment inside a lava tube is relatively friendly to such equipment and it doesn't take a lot of work to excavate (aside from possibly making additional entrances to the tubes).
Karl Hallowell

Offline marciano77

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #22 on: 01/25/2010 03:54 AM »
I would like to thank "khallow" for his interesting, sensitive, and coherent replies as well as the rest of the forum;Furthermore, I want to express my appreciation to all of those out there who tirelessly continue everyday thinking of different ways of exploring the outer space for the benefit of man kind. the following is one of NASA's interest and in which I'm involved with CSULB. Again I greatly appreciate everyone's comments.

RASC-AL
Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage, is a
student design competition that is sponsored by NASA and managed
by the National Institute of Aerospace.
RASC-AL is open to undergraduate and graduate university-level
engineering students. RASC-AL projects allow students to incorporate their
coursework into real aerospace design concepts and work together in a team
environment. Project themes are announced in September, abstracts are due
February 5, 2010, and selected Teams and a faculty advisor are invited to provide a written
report and oral presentation at a competition, June 7-9, in Cocoa Beach, FL. Each Team
receives a generous stipend to cover travel expenses to the competition, and the winning
undergraduate and graduate Teams will be flown to a major aerospace conference to present their results.
For more information, visit www.NIAnet.org/rascal.

COMMON LUNAR SORTIE / NEAR-EARTH OBJECT (NEO) MISSION DESIGN
NASA is interested in architecture approaches that provide cost-effective Earth neighborhood exploration with minimal
infrastructure. One approach would be to perform sortie-class human missions to the lunar surface for 60 days at a
time to study particular sites of interest rather than being limited to a particular lunar outpost location. The lunar mission
of interest would be to transport a crew of 2 to 4 to the far side of the Aiken Basin region on the lunar surface for a 60
day mission. The Mission would require a minimum of 1,000 kg of usable cargo to be transported with the crew and at
least 10 mT of cargo to be transported without crew to pre-implace infrastructure to support the 60 day mission. This
same set (or subset) of hardware would also be used to support a 60~120 crewed mission to a Near Earth Object (NEO).
Assuming that commonality with currently planned Constellation architecture elements is not required, what low-cost
options are available to accomplish such a mission?

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #23 on: 01/25/2010 03:23 PM »
Quote
As an aside, a lava tube also has a good geometry for focused manufacture facilities. If you find a long lava tube, you can create one or more sections (by tunneling into the tube or exploiting any other openings) of protected machinery that take raw materials on one side and spit out finished products on the other side. I know of no manufacturing instance like this in modern times, but there were examples of this during the Second World War, particularly the abominable Mittelwerk factory where V-2 rockets were produced.

The reasoning is that simply, some sorts of manufacturing infrastructure will be sensitive to radiation or thermal heating and cooling. The environment inside a lava tube is relatively friendly to such equipment and it doesn't take a lot of work to excavate (aside from possibly making additional entrances to the tubes).
The Iridium satellite constellation was built by a crew of about 50 people using a similar assembly line process. It took 14 days to make one satellite, and they were pumping them out at the rate of about 4 per day. Also they were doing much of the fabrication of subsystems themselves, like printing their own circuit boards. A nice, large shirt sleeve environment provided by a lava tube would be ideal for such a satellite factory. Once it got going, it could capture the entire LEO to GEO satellite market because they could all be launched using reusable SSTO LVs from the Moon. There is no way an Earth-based launch system could compete.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #24 on: 01/30/2010 11:28 PM »
Once it got going, it could capture the entire LEO to GEO satellite market because they could all be launched using reusable SSTO LVs from the Moon. There is no way an Earth-based launch system could compete.

And beyond. The industrial possibility of space is limitless from a human standpoint. Starting with Luna and NEO mining and fabrication shops. Fabrication, assembly, micro-g manufacturing at Terra-Luna Lpoints. Larger research facilities(yes the research done by NASA and other agencies at the various LEO locations was cool, but ultimately they have only scratched the surface for what marvelous applications out there).


As for the original post. Many people, myself included, live most their day inside a building. Whether that is a home or workplace. The thought that I would live in a "high-tech" cave is not unsettling. Ben Bova's book Welcome to Moonbase was a nice vision of the future colonization of Luna.

Using microwave emitters to heat and seal the Lunar rock is a possible plan for both lava tubes and excavated caverns.

Pat Rawlings vision here is one I hope to experience before I die.

We need to get 250 million to 1 billion sci-fi fanatics, space enthusiasts, dreamers to each donate $40-$100 USD each and we might have a go at bringing the future. SpaceX will hopefully succeed with their F9H launch vehicle. And with that we could land our tele-operated miners on the Lunar surface to start the infrastructure rolling.

But I am getting off topic. I just get excited by the possibility of space.
I am not a professional. Just a rational amateur dreaming of mankind exploiting the universe.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #25 on: 02/01/2010 12:39 AM »
41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2010):

IDENTIFICATION OF LUNAR VOLCANIC TUBES, A POTENTIAL SITE FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENT
USING 3D CHANDRYAAN 1 – TMC DATA . A.S. Arya1, R.P.Rajasekhar1, Ajai1 , A.S Kiran Kumar1, R.R. Navalgund1 , Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organization, Ahmedabad–380 015 (India), [email protected]

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2010/pdf/1484.pdf

Here is a real world example of a lava tube with a probable inside square footage of about 0.7 km^2. That's about 1/4 of a square mile or 160 acres.
« Last Edit: 02/01/2010 12:41 AM by Warren Platts »
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline khallow

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #26 on: 02/01/2010 02:50 PM »

Here is a real world example of a lava tube with a probable inside square footage of about 0.7 km^2. That's about 1/4 of a square mile or 160 acres.

Looks promising. It also looks like the floor of the rilles (collapsed lava tubes) are somewhere around 60 meters lower than the top of the roof.  That indicates some serious volume inside there. The usability of the tube will depend in part on how thick the roof is. A 360 meter wide roof that is 3 cm thick, isn't going to be even remotely safe, much less useful for human habitation.

On the plus side, the Moon seems to undergo a number of significant quakes (especially over the billions of years that this lava tube existed) so it's quite likely that the roof is very stable.

The other issue is whether either side of the lava tube grants easy access to the tube. Having to excavate tens of meters deep piles of rubble in order to enter the tube will be a lot more work than throwing some regolith over a modest sized habitat.

But this illustrates the potential of lava tubes. If we were to attempt to bury or tunnel 50 meter tall structures (especially 0.7 square kilometers of them!) deep underground, that would be a lot more work than using a lava tube of this size (with a solid roof). This may well be the site of a future lunar city.
Karl Hallowell

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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Re: Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?
« Reply #27 on: 02/02/2010 07:16 AM »
Go with easy first. Till infrastructure is built up. Then you can go for eccentricity  ;D

The blessing here is the light lunar gravity. Making any sort of structural proportionately less massive. I should not be a difficult matter to shore up the lava tube walls and ceiling. 

Edit: On further inspection of the .pdf 

Shore up and inhabit the uncollapsed section first. Then use the collapsed material to create an artificial roof over the smaller section then the larger section.

/Rhy drools
« Last Edit: 02/02/2010 07:27 AM by Rhyshaelkan »
I am not a professional. Just a rational amateur dreaming of mankind exploiting the universe.

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