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Thread: Moon stations

  1. #1 Moon stations 
    New Member FuturisticLiving's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if stations on the moon would be possible as portrayed in films.First, the moon has no atmosphere so it is subject to any collision, how would a glass structure (dome) withstand such collision over and over again? I'm talking about a colony of say maybe 3,000 people living on the moon providing their own necessities through greenhouse production, water purification, and other things necessary to survive. What kind of structures would need to be built? Would underground civilizations be a possibility or is colonizing on the moon pointless or impossible?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    With current or medium range technology I suspect any colony, as opposed to research base, would need to be underground. Some researchers have considered hollow lava tubes might provide an ideal, pre-excavated opportunity. Alternatively I believe one only needs a few metres of lunar regolith to shield the colonists from cosmic rays, solar radiation and most meteor impact.


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    Energy is going to be an issue - plenty of solar but it's a case of 14 days on and 14 days off. One positive is that it's reliable as clockwork but it's a very long diurnal cycle and a lot of storage would be needed to carry through the night. I thought maybe solar at the poles to get continuous power but it turns out the moon's rotation is not perfect and polar solar would still spend time in the dark. Energy storage at large scale is a technology we could really use down here too, but the challenge there is significant. Nuclear I suspect is going to be essential. I know there are valuable elements there in abundance but also elements that are not and uranium or other fissionable ores aren't going to be there; geo-hydro-thermal processes have concentrated them here on Earth and, being concentrated, they have undergone natural enrichment as well as decay. On the moon, without being concentrated and enriched they've only undergone decay.

    As a thought exercise, moon habitats are interesting but I remain doubtful of their viability except as outposts of a thriving, Earth based, technologically advanced economy.
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    There is a place on the north pole of the Moon that always get sunlight 24/7, so if you want solar power it would be the perfect spot.
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  6. #5  
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    There is a place on the north pole of the Moon that always get sunlight 24/7, so if you want solar power it would be the perfect spot.
    But only for the panels. Might have to be specially designed to deal with the higher UV with no ozone layer to cut it down as on earth.
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  7. #6  
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    z2458 - I had this argument elsewhere and was (I thought reliably) informed that it was not so due to lunar libration. I wouldn't mind being shown to be wrong here - and consequently correct in that previous discussion when I suggested polar solar as a solution to continuous solar power on the moon. The latitudinal libration does appear to be enough to throw the poles into shadow. Can you point me to a credible source that shows otherwise?
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  8. #7  
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    I suspect it will be easier to design 14 day energy storage.
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  9. #8  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    z2458 - I had this argument elsewhere and was (I thought reliably) informed that it was not so due to lunar libration. I wouldn't mind being shown to be wrong here - and consequently correct in that previous discussion when I suggested polar solar as a solution to continuous solar power on the moon. The latitudinal libration does appear to be enough to throw the poles into shadow. Can you point me to a credible source that shows otherwise?
    The lunar libration referenced in the link refers to the apparent oscillation of the Moon as seen by from the Earth, it is not a physical rocking of the Moon itself. It is due to the Moon's orientation to its orbit around the Earth. That being said, the Moon does have an axial tilt with respect to the ecliptic of ~1.5 degrees. So, like the Earth, its poles spend half a year in the Sun and half a year in shadow.

    This, however, does not pose as much a problem to a polar colony as it first appears. Because the axial tilt is so slight and the Moon's small size, the distance between the pole and the Lunar equivalent of the Arctic circle is only ~50 km. This is not an unreasonable distance to run power transmission lines. So if we were to place a ring of solar stations lined up just below this line we could always have at least one in sunlight even during the local "winter"
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  10. #9  
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    Thanks Janus - the full complexities of apparent and real lunar motions have eluded me and I hadn't fully understood the nature of lunar librations. I think we probably will get the energy storage problem sorted out - it's beginning to get some of the attention it deserves and needs. Not nearly enough given the scale and urgency of energy dilemmas here on Earth IMO, but it is getting a lot more notice.


    So a lunar colony near to that 'arctic' circle with solar at a couple of locations linked by transmission lines would probably be a reasonable solution to continuous energy supply.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; December 4th, 2012 at 04:53 PM. Reason: a bit of revision
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  11. #10  
    Forum Ph.D. merumario's Avatar
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    but what about the new way of living....most especially the gravitational effect....you can't walk as on earth....and surely the atmosphere problem is hughe....you light a sigratte on earth it burns slowly due to nitrogen,you do that in moon,the result is likewise....there are many things that are more of natural we can't adapt to.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    "but what about the new way of living....most especially the gravitational effect....you can't walk as on earth....and surely the atmosphere problem is hughe....you light a sigratte on earth it burns slowly due to nitrogen,you do that in moon,the result is likewise....there are many things that are more of natural we can't adapt to."
    Few people would want to go live on the Moon (once they learn about the lifestyle limitations), and probably fewer still would be able to, so its rational to imagine that lifestyle implications would be clearly established, such as not smoking (which would be an utter waste of hydroponics, life support filtration, of medical and emergency preparedness) and having a frugal lifestyle.

    Of course you would be living in a colony so most typically outdoor activities such as camping, parachute, etc are not available, so only informed people that would be a good fit for the lifestyle would be selected. The food would be limited compared to earth also (probably less meat and more of a vegetarian-like diet).

    Lower gravity can be a potential medical problem, a space station can be designed to rotate to mimic the effects of gravity, but on the moon its more complicated (thought you could build a rotating underground base, it would require energy to keep it rotating). In theory you could build an underground biodome to recreate the look and feel of a forest in a small section of the colony(with seeded trees, plants, soil), but it would have lower moon gravity.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Ph.D. merumario's Avatar
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    nice over look man. what will tie me to that colony is the view of the great night sky.
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