Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moonbase


Johnson Space Center Building 220 was once home to the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle, which unfortunately was cancelled in 2002. Let us wish better luck for this project. Every human being has contemplated the Moon, and humans have dreamed about living there for decades. In the 1950's Arthur Clarke proposed a lunar base composed of inflatable modules. Today, there are serious planes to finally go to the Moon and stay. For the first time, NASA is building full-scale mockups of a lunar base!

Here for the first time we see the mockups under construction. To the left is a cylindrical habitat, and in the background is a toroidal module. Between the modules, the Lunar Electric Rover is poised for docking with its wheels pointed sideways.

This cylindrical habitat module would be carried in one piece atop a lander like Altair. How it would be lowered from a 3-story tall lander is still being explored. Living space may get cramped in here, for the diameter is even smaller than ISS modules.

The interior of the toroidal module offers much more space. In this concept, a central core would be placed on the Moon and the outer volume would be inflatable. This concept offers much more living Space, and is close to Arthur Clarke's proposal. The wait has taken decades, but this time a lunar outpost may finally happen.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Todd said...

Are they leaving enough interior height to compensate for lunar gravity?

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Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Good point Todd, the interior diameter is smaller than that of ISS modules. The crew will have to be careful not to hit the ceiling with joy.

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