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ESA's plans for constructing a lunar base.

Lunar Base Robot 3-D Printing ESA

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#1 G-man

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 12:52 PM

I thought this item to be very interesting.

Essentially, through the use of pre-fabrication, inflatable structures, and remote controlled robots with 3-D printing capabilities, the ESA is proposing to build a "base camp" by remote control, at the Lunar South Pole.  All the components would be contained in one lunar lander, necessitating only one launch to establish a protected two-story habitation for later astronauts.

ESA-Lunar-Base-Camp.png

How does the 3-D printing fit into all of this?  Well the robots will pile up the local regolith(sp?) over the inflatable dome, and at each layer, using local materials, they'll "print" a supporting structure modeled on the internal structure of a bird's bones to bind the regolith cover together and provide protection against micro-meteor strikes and radiation.  A process which I think is kinda neat, and certainly seems plausible.  Oh, and the hatches at the top of the dome?  They are skylights which can probably be closed, permitting natural sunlight to be funneled inside the buried structure.

Of course, one would expect that later robot flights would provide the material for additional structures, and perhaps it'll be powered by solar arrays.  My question is, just how efficiently can they extract and recycle oxygen and water?  And then there's also the question of waste disposal.

Presumably, they'll try to also establish somekind of green house to provide food, oxygen, and a place to usefully dispose of waste, whether this is established prior to the pioneer's arriving, or the first pioneer's are expected to help set it up is also open to question as well.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 06 November 2014 - 12:56 PM.

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#2 offworlder

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    pls don't kick offworlders, we can find a place too

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 01:17 PM

moonbase space 99? ;) local materials? that mean it's kinda sorta underground? as far as 'pioneers' it would have to be researchers instead right?
"(Do you read what they say online?) I check out all these scandalous rumours about me and Elijah Wood having beautiful sex with each other ... (are they true?) About Elijah and me being boyfriend and boyfriend? Absolutely true. We've been together for about nine years. I wooed him. No I just like a lot of stuff - I like that someone says one thing and it becomes fact. It's kind of fun." --Dominic Monaghan in a phone interview with Newsweek while buying DVDs at the store. :D

#3 G-man

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 02:20 PM

I don't think so.

I'm using the term "pioneer" in the literal sense, as "a person who goes before, preparing the way for others."  So, not so much settlers, but more like engineers, explorers, and surveyors, whose focus is to make the base ready for prolonged habitation and sustainability.

I mean, the robots have built the shelter, complete with airlock, air, and probably some water.  Who knows, perhaps the plumbing and electricals are built into the  inflatable portion, but I'd think that the dome's interior would still require finishing, what with the installation of equipment and furniture, etc.  Then also, they could also address any faults they find as they test the facility for habitation -- you know, general housekeeping.  Once that is done, then I'd expect them to do the final survey of the site for future structure placements, and identifying and locating local exploitable resources that could be used to sustain the base.

After all of that, then I'd imagine you'd have the more traditional scientist/explorer/researcher who would be more focused on research and proving theories, rather than making someplace habitable.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#4 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 07:06 PM

Pretty cool.  The idea of using regolith as shielding is old, but I like the way they're enhancing it with 3D printing.  As 3D printing technology matures, it's going to change the world as much as PCs did.

The design actually seems a little small to me, though.  It doesn't look as big as the ISS.  Kind of cramped for long-term assignments, which trips to the Moon would have to be to be worthwhile.  They really need to send up a handful of these domes.  We need a McMurdo up there.
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#5 G-man

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 09:55 AM

Well, the design represents one structure of a proposed group of structures, and that structure is solely meant for an occupancy of four -- you could probably cram more people in during an emergency, but it certainly wouldn't work for more than four for an extended period.  Think of it as being the equivalent of a couple of modules on the ISS as opposed to the ISS as a whole.

I just like the idea that in a single launch + 3 months of robot construction -- voila -- there is a pressurized shelter in place, simply waiting to be finished and occupied.  This as opposed to requiring astronauts having to work out of the lander and/or rover to construct a shelter by hand.

To my mind, THIS is the stuff of science fiction.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#6 RJDiogenes

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 06:39 PM

Oh, yeah, it's a Sci Fi world.  Whenever I see a launch by SpaceX or Virgin Galactic or whatever, I think of Heinlein.  :lol:

Okay, a group of structures makes more sense.  They could mass produce a dozen or so and send them in sequence.  That way even if there are failures there would still be enough for a modest but workable base.
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#7 offworlder

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 04:26 PM

i wonder if they'll ever get hit by something like this?

http://www.foxnews.c...et-dust-shower/

if we ever have a spa-base on Mars we'l have to plan for this eventuality?
and maybe on the moon too, i mean it gets hit by meteors, so mebbe some comet
dust too?
:harper:


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#8 RJDiogenes

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 07:19 PM

Well, that near-miss by the comet was an unusual event, but, yeah, any bases on an airless or thinly atmosphered body should be prepared for at least micrometeorites.
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#9 G-man

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 02:19 PM

That is another reason why they are burying the shelter under a regolith "shell", as specified at 3:36 in the video below.



/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#10 RJDiogenes

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 07:45 PM

Nice presentation.  I'd love to see this happen in the near future.  It seems like it could be done relatively cheaply.  They should do a Kickstarter, like ARKYD did.  :D
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#11 JudasRimmer

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:40 PM

That looks pretty neat - it's both high-tech and lo-fi! Wonder if they'll 3D-print an Eagle too? ;)

Dave.



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