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Lunar Architecture and Transportation

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posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 09:21 AM
Hi! There's been a lot of talk on ATS lately about Lunar colonization. My question is this: Considering the Low-Gravity and virtual Vacuum on the moon, what would our buildings and transportation be like. For example, Wouldn't the low gravity make it possible to build taller, thinner, more sinuous buildings than we can on earth? And what about the Vacuum? What kind of speed could a mag-lev train reach on the open surface? Any ideas? I think I read an Arthur C. Clarke novel once that Hinted at some of this.

[edit on 24-1-2005 by spike]

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 03:42 PM
Probably domes, covered over with Lunar soil. As for taller buildings, why would you want to do that? There won't be offices, and those tall buildings could be destroyed by debris and cosmic/solar radiation. I think the best way would be to dig down a couple stories if anything to help protect from all that.

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 04:56 PM

Lunar colony to run on moon dust and robots
10:19 24 January 2005
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
Celeste Biever

Simulated moon dust has been used to make a key component of a working solar cell, giving an unexpected boost to President George W. Bush's project of setting up a colony on the moon.

Bush's plan, announced a year ago, envisages a permanent lunar base from which people can go out and explore the moon, and then go on to Mars. "We will need a power source," says David Williams, a planetary and lunar scientist at NASA's National Space Science Data Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US. "Bringing stuff up from Earth is really expensive."

Four years ago, Alex Freundlich and his colleagues at the University of Houston in Texas came up with the idea of getting robotic rovers to build solar cells entirely out of lunar dust or "regolith" (New Scientist print edition, 24 June 2000). This fine, grey powder is half silicon dioxide, with the remainder made up of a blend of oxides of 12 metals, including aluminium, magnesium and iron.

The team reasoned that this mix contains all the elements necessary to build a solar panel, and suggested that robots trundling over the lunar surface could melt regolith, refine it and then lay down a glassy substrate on which solar cells could be deposited. The rover - solar-powered, of course - would leave a trail of solar panels in its wake (see graphic).

use the link above for the rest of the story.

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 05:09 PM
You may be thinking of Arthur C. Clarke's "A Fall of Moondust" which was so mainstream it actually became a Reader's Digest Condensed Book!

But Keen is right about architecture. A maglev train, given the vacuum, would be a rapid runner, all right; but that same vacuum also means that the meteorites don't burn up, and a hole in the roof -- even one no larger than your fist --could ruin your whole day.

Since spheres have the greatest ratio of volume (usable space) to surface area (building material) I'd think either a sphere or a half-sphere (dome) makes the most engineering sense, and an underground dome would be even better, both from meteorite safety and thermal mass consideration.

BTW, the greatest moon novel ever written -- "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein -- has some great descriptions of a lunar colony. Check it out.

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 05:19 PM

Originally posted by Off_The_Street
BTW, the greatest moon novel ever written -- "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein -- has some great descriptions of a lunar colony. Check it out.

Not only that, it's the first book to introduce the idea of a self-aware artificial intelligence.

I think having an underground sphere, divided into levels would be best. The only downside of having stuff underground is that you have to take digging tools with you to the Moon. Piling Lunar soil on top of a structure on the surface would protect you from smaller meteorites, and anything larger you'd just have to take the chance on. It would just be a bit easier to do for now, though hopefully after awhile the base (or bases) would be converted to an underground sphere shape.

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 09:59 PM
Boreing equpment has almost become automated. Be fairly simple to dig underground tunnels and seal the walls with expanding foam and plastics. Or even making Concrete out of the surface.

Transportation could be achive by a Zip line system for humans, and obvisouly a solar/battery powered vehicle with ballon tires for other travel. Monorails would be the best for site to site.

But generally Solar power, and batteries would be the best way to power the base... along with a small reliable back up nuclear reactor.

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 10:33 PM
Lava tube liners for rapid colonization, subsurface vertical tube shaft 'subscrapers' and Cheyenne Mountain-style tunnelopolises for larger workspaces; 'subway trains'; anybody remember the Lockheed Twister lunar surface rover concept (it was like the driller-crawlers in Armageddon); mass-drivers for orbital insertion, LEM-style landers.

posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 08:12 AM
Thank's for the responses! I suppose until materials technology becomes more advanced, we will be relegated to underground life on the moon. It does seem safer and more practical. Thanks also for the resource links and the book reccomendation; I'll check it out!

posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 11:39 AM
Making the tunnels isn't a problem at all, the problem is getting the equipment to the Moon. Once it's there, no problem what-so-ever.

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