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Lunar Research Station Design Challenge
Location - I would build my Lunar Research Station in a crater on the moon. The walls of the crater would provide an extra layer of protection against the environmental elements on the moon. I would also build it near ice caps at the north or south poles of the moon, so I would have a source of water. The North and South poles of the moon are the only place where there are ice caps.
I would locate the Lunar Research Station on the side of the moon that always faces Earth. This would allow for better and constant communication with Earth, as well as it would allow the researchers to see their home planet.
Architecture and Materials – The Lunar Research Station would consist of a central dome structure, which would be covered with strong titanium to help protect against space debris or asteroids. It would also include the research lab and the main working/living area. In the research lab, the researchers could conduct research on a variety of things such as experiments on lunar rocks, lunar soil and lunar weather, etc.
The living area would consist of bedrooms, a recreation and fitness room, several bathrooms, and a kitchen where the researchers would eat their freeze-dried food and fresh food they would grow in the greenhouse.
The main entrance to this living/working area contains an airlock and decontamination area.
A garage is also attached to this main entrance.
The garage contains lunar rovers for exploration of the moon.
Attached to the central dome is a waste disposal and purification system.
A greenhouse and solar panels are attached to this main dome. An area inside the main dome would be a power station converting the solar energy to other usable forms.
Energy and Life Support – Solar panels located outside the main dome will provide energy to heat and cool the research station to keep the temperature inside the station constant. The solar energy will also provide the electricity to run the life support systems.
The greenhouse will provide oxygen for the researchers, as well as food from the wide variety of plants that will be grown hydroponically.
All waste and waste water will be filtered through a purification system for use in the greenhouse. Ice caps would provide some of the water necessary for human consumption. The astronauts would also shuttle to the moon containers of hydrogen and oxygen to be combined later to produce water, just as they do now.
Human Factors – To keep the astronauts connected to Earth and their families, video conferencing would be set up via satellites. This would allow the astronauts to have constant communication with Earth. They could communicate with NASA on any research project that they are working on and it would also help to eliminate feelings of isolation. Researchers would also have a fitness area, which would provide an opportunity to maintain their fitness.
Communication – The researchers could communicate with the Lunar Research Station by using solar powered walkie-talkies when they are exploring the moon surface. Also, inside the Lunar Research Station, an intercom system could be set up for internal communication. Communication with Earth could also be provided using satellites.
Exploration and EVA – Before leaving and entering you would enter the airlock module, which has access to a decontamination chamber if necessary.
The entrance connects to a garage, which holds the lunar rovers. The lunar rovers would be used for exploration of the moon’s surface.
Contamination Protection of explorers and the Moon – To protect the explorers from contamination, they would wear specially designed space suits. The space suits would protect the researchers from radiation and protect the moon from the humans, because there would be no direct contact with the human body on the moon surface. If they entered the Research station, they may also have to go to the decontamination chamber, if contaminants were detected. The explorers would also make sure to return all items of exploration back to the station.
To get rid of contaminants such as waste water and carbon dioxide, a filtration system would be set up that would allow the water to be reusable.
NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: May 2005
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