I. Analog location: The Davis Mountains in
Reasons for: Our location in Houston
is too tropical to be considered as an analog location. Even on our
school grounds, we have too many buildings, plants, trees and people
for it to be like the Moon. We wanted something more similar to the
Moon’s environment. In the Davis Mountains there are remote areas
that make you feel like you are on the Moon. This mountain range was
formed by very heavy volcanic activity during the Cenozoic Era. Volcanoes
here erupted for 10 million years! There is igneous rock here that
reminds us of the basalt you can find on the Moon. But this area would
be a good, isolated environment with little traffic if you travel far
into the mountains.
The weather can be very cold or hot, similar to the Moon. Also, cell
phones may not work, so computers and ham radios may be the way to
communicate, just like when you are on the Moon trying to talk to someone
Reasons Against: Although the mountains are volcanic
and give some desolate places to build a good research station, it
is surrounded on the low lands by vegetation, which is not found on
Spin-off Activity: Our class will participate in
a remote communication exercise, using walkie-talkies. Two teams will
exchange information from different locations: one team will give directions
for building a machine using Legos, while the other team builds it
based on their instructions. The purpose will be to demonstrate what
it might be like to assemble a project in a remote research station
with only radio communication. (Thanks for the idea Mr. Allner!)
II. Research Station: Our research station is built
inside of the actual module that travels to the Moon. It will be able
to land at the site picked, and the astronauts and research team will
work right in the same place they traveled in. After the work is done,
they will be able to take off from the Moon. This will keep the cost
of building a separate research station on the Moon down. It will also
keep the research safe in case of emergency. Our idea is to have the
module land inside of a crater to help protect it from the radiation,
dust, and meteors. In the Davis Mts. the station could be built in
Our finished model is shown built inside of a meteor
crater on the Moon, with half of the terrain showing the backdrop of
the Davis Mts. As you can see, the rocket ship itself (center) houses
the research station. We have included a floor plan and outpost layout.
While we were building the model, many ideas came to us about how
to build so much into such a small space, and changes that needed to
- Building counters or work stations so that they slide into the
- Building sleeping cots that fold up and lock into place when not
- Building a ladder to get between floors (on Earth) that folds up
like a mini-blind.
- We changed the shape of the conference table from a rectangle to
a circle to make more room. It also collapses into the floor, and
is raised only when needed.
- All storage bins and compartments are built into the walls.
- We added an in-situ re-cycling center for water and oxygen inside
the research station, and also a bioregenerative system that would
create an ecosystem between humans, plants, and machines, and would
provide food for eating. Wheat and other plants that would grow well
and produce food sources would be best. Also, we would grow these
plants in recycled water instead of soil. Our light source would
be LED lighting made by solar energy caught by solar panels.
- An instrument panel for flying the spacecraft would be in the communications/computer
station. This area also has a large observation window and several
computer screens where cameras could monitor the surroundings.
- A communication satellite would orbit the Moon and observe conditions
on the surface.
- We added a fan/vacuum system and showers into the airlock area
where returning EVA astronauts could get rid of the Moon dust, etc.
- New spacesuits were designed to be thinner (not as bulky),
yet protective enough for the safety of the astronauts. One of
our pictures shows the different layers of the suit, another
show the “look” of
the future! A Geology EVA suit complete with lasers(for cutting
into rock), form-fiting gloves for easier hand control, and seismic
sensors to detect moonquakes.
- An emergency protective shield area was designed on the top floor
of the research station. It encloses the area with the kitchen, and
quiet space (with books, music, etc) so that astronauts can be protected
for long periods of time from radiation issues, like solar storms,
and still have some things to do while they wait. The window in that
area and the door will have radiation shields that will come down
with the touch of a panic button.
- For astronauts outside, an emergency tunnel located through the
crater wall can give protection from solar events, meteor showers,
etc. It will contain emergency supplies.
- Exercise equipment for cardio-workouts and maintaining muscle strength-bicycles,
treadmills, and resistance machines (can use Elastic bands). A first
aid station with defibrillators will be included.
- Machines were designed from Legos for drilling, and prospecting
for water and minerals. We also have a short range lunar vehicle
(moon buggy) and built a shed for storing them. It is our idea that
future machines on the Moon will have to be made of very lightweight
materials that can be easily assembled (like working with Legos),
yet durable and strong for the Moons terrain. Robotics will be very
- Our machines and robots include: A Walking construction machine.
It “walks” by lifting its “legs” alternately.
This will make it easier to walk over rocks, soil, and other
materials that might stick to wheels. Two ideas for robots include
using them with motorized or pneumatic claws for lifting and
carrying specimens, or attaching drills and other tools. One
can also be used for search and scouting.
- All of the buildings on our Lunar outpost would be permanent, except
for the research station/spaceship.
- The spaceship will have to be big enough to have the research station
in it, yet lightweight enough so that fuel costs can be kept down.
- Materials for this spaceship construction and for the outpost still
have not been decided on.
- Power for the outpost would be a combination of large solar arrays
and back-up batteries.
- For this reason, our crater location on the Moon needs to be in
an area where sunlight is available. Our suggestion is the Northern
part of Mare Imbrium. This location has flat areas suitable for landing
and building on, and also craters for protection It will also give
us sunlight, access to polar icecaps (for water), and some night
time to keep our biorhythms as regular as possible.
Thanks for reading about our plans!