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Lunar Research Station Design Challenge

Preliminary Designs
1. Ms. Knox's third grade class at the Fernbank Science Center
Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Good job with your detailed plans for the lunar research station! Excellent idea to include an observatory (and that is good that the observatory is on the top floor so you can see the sky). You have also included many of the essential parts of a lunar research station, including computer labs, office space, bunk rooms, restrooms, cafeteria, and space for the crew to relax, have fun, and exercise (in the basketball room, hockey room, volleyball room, tennis room, pool room, exercise room, soccer room, and trampoline room). When the astronauts are on the Moon they will have to build the entire building and then use power and other supplies to keep the station live-able (remember, there is no air on the Moon to breathe, and also it can get both very hot and very cold on the Moon so you have to keep the temperature just right on the Moon). Can you find any ways to consolidate space - maybe combining several rooms into one room that could be used for different things at different times? Think about this especially for the rooms that are going to be used for fun and exercise.
Also, good work with including multiple computers that are all connected by signals. This is important so that information can be shared among the different people and machines. For the rest of your design you may want to consider some of the other aspects needed so that the astronauts can work in the research station, such as energy and life support, human factors, and exploration & EVA activities, and contaminiation.
2. Mrs. Richards’ Class Lunar Challenge
Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Excellent work. Your design shows that you have really thought about some of the most important aspects of designing the lunar research station. It is a good idea to design a station for 4 astronauts since that is how many astronauts NASA is planning to send back to the Moon at first. Great idea to include a greenhouse so that you can provide food for the astronauts (and it also gives the astronauts the opportunity to do some gardening!). Hydroponics is a good idea as well. Also it is a good idea to use solar power, but what will you do when it is nighttime? Can you include a back-up power supply (such as batteries)? Remember that on the Moon, nighttime can last as long as 2 weeks if you are near the equator. It is also a good idea to cover the habitat with Moon dust to protect from radiation. Also good work with the design of the space suit for the astronauts. This is very important so that the astronauts can go outside and work outside the habitat. You have included many of the important parts of a space suit such as gloves that aren't too thick so the astronauts can still work with them on (but still providing the right amount of protection), radiation protection, oxygen, temperature control, communications, and battery pack. Good idea to have an emergency kit, too -- what is included in the emergency kit? Can you think of some things that the astronauts might need to use in an emergency? Also, it is a good idea to put your Moon base in a crater - can you think of any reasons why putting the base in a crater is a good idea?
3. Ms. Zarybnisky Kenneth Carberry Intermediate 5th Grade

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Excellent work. You have covered many very important aspects of the design of a lunar research station.

Topic: Entry and Exit, from Brandon, Victoria, and Kylie. This is a very detailed and comprehensive design - well done! Very good that you have given the astronauts enough space to put their spacesuits on. Great idea to include the blowing gas to clean off the spacesuits. Can the astronauts also use this gas that comes down from the ceiling when they are coming back in to the living quarters after they have been outside working on the Moon? One thing that happened to the Apollo astronauts is that a lot of Moon dust stuck to their spacesuits and so they tracked a lot of dust back into their spaceship.

Topic: Contamination, from Tyler and Levi. Good that you have pointed out that we need to protect the astronauts from radiation. Can you think of more ways to protect the astronauts from radiation? You could use a layer of slag and water to protect the astronauts. Have you also considered covering the research station with Moon dirt? This can also help protect against radiation. For removing the Moon dust from the astronauts spacesuits after they are done working outside on the Moon, a magnet will only work if the Moon dust is magnetic. If all the dust isn't magnetic, can you think of other ways that you could clean the spacesuits of the Moon dust?

Topic: Location, from Alexis, Amanda, and Connor. Good idea to put your lunar research station in a crater. Some craters are smooth and some craters are rocky, though, so you'll have to pick a good spot. When you are picking your location, can you think of any reasons why you might want to have ice nearby? Remember there is not much ice (if any at all!) on the Moon -- only maybe near the north and/or south pole of the Moon.

Topic: Human factors, from Joey, Teresita, Alison, and Kris. Great job in that you have listed many of the most important human factors involved in designing a lunar research station! You're right - building an outpost on the Moon is probably harder than it looks. Remember there is no atmosphere on the Moon, so probably there is not much activity in terms of Moon storms. You're right in that at the equator of the Moon you have two weeks of darkness and two weeks of sunlight. However, near the poles of the Moon there are some places that are almost always in sunlight (and also some places that are always in darkness)! Would it be better to put your research station near the equator or near the pole? You can decide from a human factors standpoint. For the generator room, will you have a back-up source of power in case the generator fails or you run out of fuel?

Topic: Life Support, from Logan, Kassandra, William, Brandi, and Adriana. Good ideas for supplying the Moon base with water and oxygen. Yes, you can get water from Moon rocks and urine. However, the only Moon rocks that might have water in them are rocks that are located near the north and/or south pole of the Moon, in places where the sun never shines so that it is always very dark and very cold. There might be ice in these places, so to get water from the Moon rocks you'd have to have your base near the pole. Moon rocks all over the Moon have oxygen, though. So based on this information, where will you plan to put your Moon base?

Topic: Architecture of Moon base. Great that you have including living space as well as space to conduct experiments. For the launch strip around the outside of the dome, should this launch strip be straight or curved? (Think about runways on Earth, like at the airport -- are they straight or curved?) It is also good that you have thought about the design of your research base. Good choice to put the circular base in a crater. Also, your design of the capsule and transporter for carrying people between the Earth and Moon is excellent. How many people can the capsule and transporter carry?

4. Lane Elementary School, Mrs. Dorer's Special Projects group

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Linda, Albert, Kevin, Brooke, Hayley, and Connor: Excellent work with your lunar research station design! You covered many of the most important aspects of designing the lunar base. Good idea to build you base inside of a crater and then cover the base with regolith to provide protection from radiation and meteorites. If you are building within a crater, do you need to set off the H bomb to excavate into the subsurface? If you are building within a crater you already have a natural hole in the ground (the crater!) where you can build. Also a very interesting idea to use mirrors to reflect sunlight down to the plants below. Depending on where you build your base you will have different amounts of daylight (near the equator it is 2 weeks of daytime and 2 weeks of nighttime, near the poles there are regions where there is almost always sunshine!) - so how will you make sure the plants get just the right amount of sunlight? Also a great idea to get oxygen from the Moon rocks and also to mine water ice which may exist near the lunar poles.
Great that you have also considered transportation systems for the astronauts when they are outside of the Moon base. The Moon buggy would certainly help the astronauts move around. For an airplane -- remember that the Moon does not have an atmosphere like the Earth does, so would an airplane work on the Moon? Communications is important as well, so good work including a walkie-talkie device for the astronauts. Will the astronauts only be able to talk to other astronauts that are outside with them, or will they also be able to talk to people that are back in the lunar base? Will the astronauts be able to talk with people back on Earth?

5. Phil Pack, WVW Middle School

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Good job! You have really thought about all the different types of people you would need to send to the Moon and the different skills they need to have, such as scientists, mechanics, electricians, doctors, janitors, and gardeners. What if I told you that NASA was only planning to send 4 people back to the Moon for the first missions? Your design says you need 20 people -- is there any way that you can still complete all the jobs with only 4 people?
Your research station is 7000 square feet. If you are now only sending 4 people to the Moon, do you need a research station that big? Is there any way to make it smaller? Think about ways that you could do multiple activities in the same space? Great job including a space suit in the design, too. The astronauts will definitely need a space suit to do any work outside on the Moon. Great to also include the little car that the astronauts can use on the Moon so they can drive to different places.
Good work with the research base design and including space for such necessary things such as storage, kitchen, labs, living area, sleeping, etc. There are solar panels, too, which is great so you can use solar power. There is a space for animal storage - what types of animals are you planning to bring to the Moon and why? Some additional items to consider in your design are how will you protect the astronauts from radiation?
You graphs of the number of people at the research station and the square footage are simply outstanding. Very nice work.

6. Ms. Henning's Class, Bolivar Elementary School

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Great start on the lunar research station design.  Regarding your concern for meteors hitting the base, fortunately the rate of meteor impacts and also the size of the impactors has greatly decreased since our solar system formed, so now the chances of getting hit are relatively low. However, there is still a small chance, so one idea might be to build your habitat underground and/or cover the habitat with lunar regolith (moon dirt) to provide extra protection. This would also protect you from radiation.
The overall design of the base is quite good with the modular "pods" for waste treatment, living quarters, labs, and a greenhouse. It is also a good idea to include a moon rover. This is quite an elaborate design! Remember is is difficult to bring materials to the Moon and also to build things on the Moon from materials that are already there, so do you think the moon rover would have a spoiler and stylized hood? It is good that the moon rover has a satellite for communications, though.  What will be the power source for the rover?  What are some of the other items that would be required to work outside of the habitat? Consider some designs for space suits.
The portable habitat idea is also excellent. That would be a good way for the astronauts to go do work further away from the main base. How many people can fit in the portable habitat? How is it powered and what are the communications?

7. Eagle Point Elementary 4th and 5th grade Science Club
Teacher / Club Sponsor: Dr. Lisa Milenkovic

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Nice design! Very thorough and you have thought of a lot of things that are important to the design of a lunar research station.
LOCATION: Good idea to place your station underneath a ledge - this will provide you with protection from radiation and also small meteors. There isn't really a place on the Moon that has less of a chance of a meteor strike than any other and also the radiation isn't much lower in any particular place than any other so it is good to protect yourself by being somewhat underground. Remember that if you are going to be near a place that might have ice then you have to be near the north or south pole. It is only near the poles where there are places that the sun never shines so it is very cold and ice might be there. Very good point to check out the daylight availability at your location. Near the equator you will get 2 weeks of daylight and 2 weeks of darkness but near the poles there are places where it is almost always daylight (and other places where it is always darkness)!

ENERGY and LIFE SUPPORT: Great idea to use solar power. Also good that you will be checking the availability of sunlight - this is important to your design. Will you have a back-up power source in case the solar panels break? Good idea to also have a greenhouse, and excellent point that we need to test out a greenhouse on the Moon first because we have never grown anything on the moon before! Also good idea to recycle as much as possible.

HUMAN FACTORS: You have included many of the essentials in the lunar research station design, such as recreation areas, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, exercise room, kitchen, and greenhouse. Will there be any laboratories for the astronauts to do their science research? Also good that you have included communications systems. For people out in the field - will they be able to communicate only with other people out in the field or can they also talk with people back in the habitat? And for communiations with Earth - can the astronauts only communicate with Earth by text message & email or can they also talk with people on Earth by radio signal?

EXPLORATION AND EVA ACTIVITIES:  Nice that you have included information regarding space suits and also exploration vehicles. Can you design what a rover might look like that the astronauts can drive on the lunar surface? How will the rover get power? How many people can it carry?

RESEARCH STATION ARCHITECTURE AND MATERIALS: Excellent research station design! Good idea to build the station partly below ground and also good that you have protection on the part of the station that is above ground. You have done a good job of designing the station so that people can move around to different parts of the station by including the ladders and such. What will be included in the ship bay? To minimize contamination for moon dust, should you cover the bottom of your habitat with some material instead of just using hollowed out moon rock?

CONTAMINATION: This is an excellent and very comprehensive assessment of contamination issues on the Moon. Great idea to provide radiation protection by placing your living quarters below ground. It is also a great idea to keep all the rovers and ships stored in the landing room and separate from the astronaut living quarters. Also good to have the astronauts go through decontamination procedures both as they enter and exit the research station. Can you give more specifics regarding the design of these decontamination procedures? For example, how will you get the moon dust off of the spacesuits when the astronauts come back inside the research station?
Your plan for recycling of carbon dioxide, water, and waste is also excellent. Recycling is very important for a lunar base since it may be difficult to get the raw materials needed to support humans on the Moon.

8. Sardar Patel High School, Bangalore, INDIA

Response from Ben Corbin:
Thank you for submitting a moon base plan to the NASA Quest Challenge! I wish you well just for trying, and I hope your passion for space exploration stay with your throughout your education.

First, I'd like to say that having a base underground would definitely protect the astronauts from dangerous radiation and micrometeorites. I've actually discussed this idea with some graduate students across the world and they say it's not that difficult, and I personally wrote a recommendation about radiation into the Youth Space Declaration. However, there are a few questions you will need to address. Will the digging equipment be too heavy to launch? Can it be automated so it can dig out areas while the astronauts aren't on the moon yet so when they get there, there will be plenty of room to build an underground base? Also, I don't think digging a giant 1-mile radius hole would be a good idea structurally. Try to think of ways to not just dig out a huge cave, because lunar regolith isn't as strong as steel.

Your idea for taking oxygen out of the soil is a great one. The surface of the moon is covered with light silicates from which oxygen can be extracted. However, this base must be self-sustaining for a month. Do you think having something that would speed up the process make it so you wouldn't need a backup plan of importing from Earth?

You made a claim that the lack of gravity is dangerous to human health. As you know, zero gravity does promote bone decay; however, no studies have been done on low but non-zero gravity, so you may not have to rotate crews so often.

As with any project, there is always some room for improvement, but I think you have a good idea of what the base needs and how to supply those needs. Now think about what can make it better. Good luck Nishant!

9. Vishal Bhalerao, K.K.Wagh.Institute of Engg. Education & Research, India

Response from Ben Corbin:
Great concept for a moving base! Not only can the crew live in the safety of a base, but it can also travel across the lunar surface and explore different regions.

First, I like your drawings. It's always a good design practice to draw what you intend to make, and detailed hand sketches can say far more than pages upon pages of words. The more detail you can put into a drawing, the better. Most of the time in the engineering field, one object will be drawn from several different angles just so the minor details can be see. You may be on track to start learning computer modeling!

Your method of extracting gases and metals from the soil is a great idea, and the chamber that you designed would probably work well, and of course, extracting oxygen from the soil will be essential to life on the moon base.

I think you have most of the scientific equipment covered (power systems, extraction techniques, cameras, and more), but I don't see any parts on the vehicle where the crew would work and stay. Think about what the astronauts would need to survive, such as food and waste disposal as well as living quarters and fun stuff to do.

You're off to a great start! I hope I see more from you later.

10. Mr. McKinsey, Pleasant Valley Intermediate Moon Maniacs

Response from Ben Corbin:
Nice name! First, I didn't even know about the Peaks of Eternal light. Your choice of location inside of a crater is a good one because you have access to both the inside of the crater on one side and the rest of the crater on the other. However, if you were at the North Pole, how much sunlight would you get? Would it be enough to power the solar panels and put enough energy into the greenhouses?

It's a great idea to build a base underground to block radiation and meteorites. How would you dig out an area big enough to put a moon base in?

Your drawings are very good and give me a great idea of what the base would look like. However, because I was unable to open File 2 for some reason, I don't have a sense of what's up and what's down. It's a good practice to label those sorts of things since after all, astronauts are already dizzy from the trip!

How did you come up with a wall diameter of 5 meters (aside from the fact that it is the thickness of the Ares Rocket, which is a great observation for designing a station around)? Don't forget, the parts have to fit inside the rocket as well though. You should measure how big five meters is and compare that to how wide the hallways in your house are. Also, is 0.5 meters too thick? Even light metals are heavy when they are too big. Is the 5 meter diameter the inside thickness or the outside thickness of the aluminum tubing?

It's good that you considered waste disposal options. How would you launch the waste back into Earth? Would it be easier to do something else with it so it's out of the base?

The idea of having 7 crew members because of the capacity of the Orion capsule is a good direction to head in. You are right in assuming that mostly scientists should be on this base, but who else would you need in a lunar mission besides scientists and commanders?

You guys have done a good deal of research. Keep up the great work!

11. Mr. McKinsey, Pleasant Valley Intermediate Cogan’s Courageous Crew

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
This is an excellent, well thought-out design. Your team has certainly thought of many of the most important parameters for designing a lunar station. Great job.

Good choice of location. Excellent justification for why you chose Peary Crater. Also a good idea to put part of your station underground. (Also good to include an emergency tunnel)! Your station will be built of titanium. Is there titanium on the Moon? Will you use this lunar titanium or will you bring it from Earth? Also great idea to include a greenhouse. Your energy and life support systems are also good since you include backups. Dust is also a big deal on the Moon so it is good that you've designed a way to clean the spacesuits. The Human Factors and Communication section is also excellent - good to provide the astronauts with a bit of privacy. Are there any other types of space the astronauts might need? What about laboratory space to analyze their samples collected from the Moon? Could this be included in the plans for the research station?

EXCELLENT work including a map of the location of Peary Crater on the Moon. Also good that you have considered the size of the Ares rocket and therefore the size of your lunar station. Will people assemble the lunar station on the Moon or will you send robots first to build the station?

Excellent work. Well done.

12. Mrs. Boyd's 5th Grade students

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Flintstones: Nice floorplan for the research station! It is good that you have included the necessary elements such as living quarters, gym, communication, green house, lab, power plant, and vehicle area. What are the sizes of each of the rooms?

Your research station will be above ground in order to use sunlight for power. Near the equator on the Moon there are 2 weeks of daylight and 2 weeks of darkness. How will you power the station during the 2 week lunar night?
Also, considering the dome-shaped modules of your station, how will you get the lunar regolith to stay on them without sliding off? How much regolith do you need to protect the rubber domes from being popped? Are there any other advantages of covering your station with lunar regolith?

Tella Tubbies: Good to note that the south pole of the Moon *may* have places where there is water ice. Is the Sea of Moistures one of those places? To have water on the Moon you need to be in a place that is in permanent shadow - where the sun never shines.
Also, it is true that there is a risk of being hit by a meteor if your station is above ground but these risks are fairly small. Radiation, however, could be a problem. Are there any advantages to building your station underground in terms of limiting the astronaut's exposure to harmful radiation?
For your power system, that is an excellent idea to have a back-up battery system. If you have a generator, where does the fuel come from to run the generator?

Homecoming: Good work. For you communications if the system is run on solar power, what happens when it is night and there is no sun in the sky? For recreation you've added some exercise equipment which is a great idea. Are there any other things you might add to the recreation room for the astronauts?
Very nice floor plan of the living quarters. How big are each of the rooms?

Side Kicks: Good designs for entry/exit from the research station. Make sure you have air locks at each entry and exit. Very interesting idea for protection against radiation. This is an important issue and it is good that you've thought about this. Dust will be a problem on the Moon - how will you make sure that the astronauts don't track dust inside the research station on their spacesuits after they've finished working outside on the Moon? Great idea to use the greenhouse to recycle grey water, too.

13. Jim Jensen, Savage Middle School 6th graders

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
This is a good start - you are on the right track! Interesting idea to use the monorail for quick transportation. This could certainly save the astronauts time if they can move around quickly. I note there is a dune buggy collecting moon dust.  This is a good idea - and can the moon buggy be used for other things, too, such as for astronauts to study rocks on the surface of the Moon that are far away from the research station? There are also sensors outside the station - what are these sensors measuring?
Extracting oxygen from the moon rocks is a good idea - NASA is studying this right now to see if we can get enough oxygen to be useful for people. For water, there are no ice caps on the Moon but there might be water ice in a few special places near the north and/or south pole of the Moon, in places that are in permanent shadow where it is very cold because the sun never shines there.
It is also an excellent idea to include a recreation center as part of the lunar station. This will be very important when people spend a long time working on the Moon!
You're off to a good start on your designs. Well done - and keep up the good work. We look forward to seeing your final designs!

14. Deane Buuck's Eight Graders from Winthrop Middle School
Response from Robert Citron:
I like the very detailed floor plan of the research module and how it is drawn to scale. You seem to have thought of mostly everything needed to smoothly run a lunar research station. You should also consider safety, which is a top mission priority. Is there a medical room or a place for first aid? Could an extra entrance be beneficial in an emergency? Would a radiation safe room help in case of solar storms? Also is there a space for waste storage/recycling?
15. Ms Jamison's Students, Warrington Middle School
Response from Robert Citron:
Human Factors by Caleb (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
Caleb you have some great ideas for including privacy and recreation in the lunar base design. These are very important to human factors and you have addressed them well. I like your ideas for lunar ball and weightless races. Is it really possible to have a no gravity room on the moon? Can having bedrooms that lock also provide privacy? Is a high security room necessary/space efficient?

Hazard Protection by Erik Caleb (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
Your idea is very creative, and the detailed diagrams were useful for visualization. Are meteorites the greatest threat to the research station? What hazards besides a meteorite would a research station face? How would your force field stop radiation? It is good that you think about using inexpensive materials to make your force field. Would giving the machine a brain be hazardous (HAL 2000)? What exactly would the force field be composed of? I would like to know some more about the dynamics of the system. How exactly does the energy from a car batter stop a meteorite?

Life Support by Shandera (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
I especially like how your life support system is conservation minded. You also provide excellent dimensions to support your well-drawn diagram. Using a green house for oxygen/food production is a great idea. Solar power is also a good idea, would you have a battery system to store the power? I like the idea of breaking up moon rocks for supplies. How exactly would one obtain oxygen from a moon rock, and is this very efficient? The dome is also an excellent idea. Are there any backup systems if there is a break in the dome? Also does the dome protect against radiation?

EVA by Ralf & Khoa (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
Your design for the Gazelle Mk.1 is very thorough, with many excellent and detailed diagrams. What will the defenses be used against? It is great that you started with a basic rover and then added attachments; modular systems are very practical. Would it also be useful to have some first aid/suit repair kits on the rover in case an EVA takes a bad turn? Lastly, where can I get one?

Solar Powered Generator by Jeremy (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
It was very practical of you to think of storing energy for when it is dark outside. What activities might this solar power provide energy for, and how would the energy be transported? Where would you get the oxygen from, and is it necessary? Thank you for including the diagram, it looks like there are many panels to capture lots of energy. Is there a way for the panels to move, following the path of the sun and maximizing light captured?

Human Factors by Cameron (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
This is a very creative idea. Not only would it provide entertainment, it might also help build up the astronauts’ dexterity and sense of balance working in their suits. It was good to provide tethers in order to avoid loss of materials. First, on the moon would this be non-gravity or low-gravity skateboarding? I’m concerned about transporting so much wood to the moon. Would it be possible to use materials already there? What other activities would you suggest?

Life Support by Miranda (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
It was good to think about providing lots of variety for the astronauts’ diets. How would you provide all of that water/oxygen and build such a large tank? Bringing just two of each animal would make them much easier to transport. Would this cause any inbreeding? If you had to narrow down the list of animals, which ones would you choose? Think about what animals would be the easiest to bring and take care of and could provide the most benefit to the habitat.

Clothing by Ebony (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
You have clearly given lots of thought to your clothing designs. I appreciate you including the materials from which each component of the space suit would be made, as well as the accompanying pictures. Taking into consideration heating/cooling and radiation protection was also a good idea. Could these suits also include some form of protection from small meteorites etc? The boots are very well designed for protection! Where does the oxygen in the helmet come from? Is there an oxygen tank? It was clever to use a similar setup for the space toilet as those already existing in airplanes. Would it be possible to use the waste as fertilizer, or to simply burn it, instead of dumping it into space?

Habitat ˆ Research Station by Brieanna (Ms.Jamison’s Students Warrington Middle School)
Your design is well thought out and includes a good detailed diagram. What other gasses besides oxygen would you need to store. This is a good idea for a rocket. What changes would you make to transform it into a permanent station? In this rocket you seem to bring all the supplies you need. Could you also produce extra supplies while on the moon? Would a laboratory for doing research also be useful?
16. Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School
Response from Robert Citron:
Location (Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School)
I like how you have picked a very specific location for your base. How would being below ground level help protect the station? Also how would you determine if there is titanium in or near Tycho crater? Also are there any scientific reasons that make Tycho a better choice for a station? What type of research would be best accomplished at this location?

Energy and Life Support (Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School)
Your approach is very conservative minded, bravo! Building a station underground is an excellent idea. I like your circulation ideas. What other gases are in the Earth’s atmosphere that you will have to control/circulate? Where in the research station will you store excess waste? Is it sanitary/enjoyable to live close to your own excess waste?

Human Factors (Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School)
Keeping up communication is very important and you have addressed this well. Privacy is also important for crew morale, good job. What type of activities could you invent to keep the crew occupied (Quittich)? What happens to communication when the station is on the opposite side of the Moon as Earth? Can this problem be solved with satellites?

Exploration and EVA Activities (Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School)
Your capsule system is well thought out and efficient. What other scientific instruments could you use? How would you collect/store samples? And how would one navigate themselves during their EVA activities (GPS, maps, waypoints, etc…)?

Research Station Architecture and Materials (Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School)
Your idea of separating a station into distinct components is good. Building your station below ground is a great idea for radiation protection. How is it easier to build it below ground than above the surface? Why is titanium the optimal material for building your station and what other materials could you use? Is having four separate bathrooms using space efficiently?

Contamination (Ms. Gragert's Class Holman Middle School)
It is great that you think not only about protecting the station, but also the moon! Your ideas show a great sense of conservation, which is also good. Making a station underground indeed protects you from radiation. How far underground will you have to build the station? Also is it a good idea to store toxic waste in a research station where astronauts live?
17. Mrs. Woods’ 2nd Grade Class Avalon Elementary
Response from Genoveva Negrón:
Lunar Clothing
Beautiful picture! You did a great job. The lunar clothing is an important part in the exploration of the moon. Astronauts use these special clothes in space to protect their body, receive oxygen and communicate with the space shuttle. But remember, John Glenn was the first man to orbit on Earth and Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. They change history, and I hope you follow their steps.
18. Mrs. Woods’ 3nd Grade Class Avalon Elementary
Response from Genoveva Negrón:
This is a very good design. You really thought about travel and communications in space. Astronauts need those digging claws to collect lunar samples. The space shuttle needs tools that help the astronauts to observe the moon. They have to be prepared with oxygen to breathe and live. Your picture clearly shows how astronauts can adapt and live outside the Earth.
19. Mrs. Woods’ Class Avalon Elementary Blake -- 5th grade
Response from Genoveva Negrón:
I am really impressed with your design of the walkie-talkie. Astronauts need to communicate in space. They use solar panels to provide energy to the International Space Station. Solar energy is needed to power the instruments in space. Durability in tools is very important because they need to work for long period of time. Using solar energy in walkie-talkies is a very good idea to preserve energy, and to learn how to use the resources that we have on Earth. Good job.

20. Mrs. Woods’ GT Class Avalon Jr. High Dillon– 6th grade

Response from Genoveva Negrón:
You make an interesting design of the biosphere. It’s an excellent idea to develop a biosphere resistant to the conditions in space. The titanium is a metal that is resistant to corrosion and has low density. It is also one of the lightest metals on Earth. Astronauts need an environment that provides them basic needs to survive in space. On Earth scientists make analog environments to simulate life in space. Now that you understand how to make a model of the biosphere you can make a model of a green habitat that provide food and oxygen for the astronauts. Good job.
21. Courtney Howell's Science 9 class, National Sport School

Response from Jon Rask:
Looks like you've done a lot of good work in designing your habitat, and identifying many of the components necessary to keep astronauts alive. Is there any way you could move the words in the image so that they could be more easily read? It's good to see that you've remembered to consider contamination protection. Lunar dust is something that coats suits and has even been inhaled by astronauts. Good ideas!

22. Brendan Casey's Class Joan MacQueen Middle School

Response from Jon Rask:
Your discussion about your base is well thought out and supports the design you've included. Good idea on using science as a reason for doing the exploration of the Moon. It's crucial for real missions. It's good you've included places for recreation, privacy, and exercise--astronauts are normal people with extraordinary jobs, so they too want to have fun and need to exercise. Great idea on reusing water--we can't just throw things out up there. We've got to make use of every resource as efficiently as possible. And it's good that you have identified a location for the base. Where do you think we should put one on the Moon? (Think of places where resources may be that we would need to use, like water ice--somewhere near a crater that has ice?). Good idea of using in-situ resources for energy, like solar and radiation (are there tools out there that can gather radiation and convert it to usable energy?). Good ideas about contamination, and it's good to know you're thinking about being considerate of not contaminating the Moon with Earth chemicals! This is an area of active debate (planetary protection--pretty interesting stuff!). Good ideas on having a landing strip close to your base, but consider this: Would a plane be able to fly on the Moon? (Remember, there is no atmosphere.) What did the Moon landings in the 60s and 70s look like? Are there risks of having the landing area too close to the hab? Nice work, students!

23. Celia Space Station Prototype Alice -- S. Peter's Collegiate School

Response from Jon Rask:
I like your cover. You've included a person for scale! (scientists always want a scale for reference :) ). Good thoughts on programming tools to use the smallest amount of energy. Many spaceflight hardware devices have what is usually referred to as a "keep alive mode" for emergencies that does just that! Excellent that you've considered psychological issues of human spaceflight by using paint colors to make the hab livable, and even included a Contact Room - very clever! What else could be done to make it more like home and enjoyable? Good that you've thought about limiting water use. Do you think we should reuse any of it? Great suggestions on how to grow plants in the greenhouse. How big is the greenhouse? Will mature trees be able to fit inside it? Nice selection of plants for food too. Where do you think the astronauts should get their source of protein? It is good that you've suggested several power sources. Its quite possible that a real Moon hab could have problems with power generation and a back up is needed. Do you think it will be easy and cheap to bring hydrogen and oxygen from Earth? How about getting it from water ice that's already on the Moon? Neat ideas on the Dome - Kevlar is strong, but does it protect you from radiation? Chances are that the Hab would not get struck by an asteroid. It's good you've thought about protecting from lunar dust. It is incredibly fine and potentially damaging to equipment that's not properly designed (and perhaps even astronaut health). One question - is there wind on the Moon like there is on the Earth? Great work, well done!
24. Ms. Willoughby's 5th Graders, Hebrew Day School
Response from Jon Rask:
Right now there is a hab called Aquarius that serves as an underwater hab module. So you've got a good idea! For your design, it is good you have considered using lightweight metals for construction. Will they be good for protection from cosmic radiation when you're on the Moon? Neat idea on putting the hab inside a crater with ice already in it. When we return to the Moon, we're most likely going to need to use resources on the Moon, rather than bringing everything with us. Good that you've included a greenhouse and info about communication - it will be handy when testing your hab on the Earth. But will GPS work on the Moon? Are there GPS satellites orbiting the Moon? Great idea on having an emergency shelter. This is very important for radiation storms while you're on the Moon. Nice work.
25. Ms. Frankel West Valley Elementary School
Response from Jon Rask:
Wow! Your team has put a lot of thought into the energy flow and the diagrams that can be used to help design the actual base, and its great you have included references in the description that link to the drawings. Well done! You have considered reusing water and nutrients - a real hab will have to do that...great! I like that you've put water storage at the top. Would it be useful to put water storage all around the entire hab, like an insulating layer? Would it also help shield you from radiation? Your energy system is also very creative. Would the dam be inside or outside the hab? If its outside: can water exist in liquid form on the Moon's surface? Its good you have two different energy production systems - if one of your energy systems breaks down, you've got a back up! Regarding the plants - remember, plants also need oxygen (they respire too by breaking down glucose), but they also need CO2 to make their glucose.  A green plant respires all the time, day and night, and a green plant photosynthesizes in the presence of light. WhatGood idea on using a microbial bioreactor, and its good you've considered the need for forced air convection systems. Where ever the oxygen is produced, you'd need to make sure it was uniformly distributed throughout the hab. Why might it be important to have a physical chemical system for oxygen generation in addition to a greenhouse? Regarding food sources, where will the astronauts get their source of protein? Can we get it from plants alone? If so, what plants would we need to take? It is good you want to use ice from the Moon. But does the Moon have polar caps? And how far will the rovers need to travel to get the ice? Will you be able to produce enough energy to fuel the rovers? Excellent that you've addressed space pollution. Space junk that is orbiting the Earth is becoming a big problem, and poses risks for spacecraft. If possible, we also need to limit the amount of junk/waste on the Moon too.

Great work on identifying strengths and weakness in your design!! You've come up with many great ideas. Excellent.
26. Brendan Casey, Joan MacQueen Middle School Mason Luke and Danny
Response from Jon Rask:
Using a crater as a base is a good idea, since as you mentioned, you can use the walls of the crater as part of the hab. Why do you think you need to protect yourself from aliens? Solar power is an excellent way to generate electricity. But what happens if your solar power system breaks down? What could you use to get power? It is possible to launch waste products into space. However, what might happen if you need the materials or nutrients that are in that waste? Its good you've mentioned recycling, and identified lunar dust as a potential hazard. You will need to protect yourself and your equipment from it. I like your drawing, it has a scale (scientists and engineers like that!). What do you plan to use on the run way? Can a plane fly on the Moon? Its great you've identified the need to monitor weather on the Moon. Although there isn't an atmosphere like on Earth and there is no weather like the rain and wind on Earth, there are Solar storms that are radiation hazards that we need to be able to be prepared for. Good job.
27. Kelleen Farrell, Ione Junior High
Response from Jon Rask:
It's great that you've included all those features in your base, and that there are two levels, one to be underground and another for surface access. Its good you've included places for recreation, privacy, and exercise - astronauts are normal people with extraordinary jobs, so they too want to have fun and need to exercise. Where will your hab get its water source? Great ideas for the composition of the space suits. Specially designed materials will definitely be needed to protect explorers on EVAs. Its good your thinking of this! I like your idea of using a buggy for exploration too. Do you plan on making ethanol on the Moon? Or would some kind of nuclear power or a fuel cell be easier to use? Regarding the straps to hold you in during a buggy ride, remember, the Moon does have gravity but not as much as Earth. So you might not float away, but if you hit a bump and were not strapped in you could fall out and land on the surface. Great idea on having a decontamination room!
28. Mr. Gleeson's Class, Everglade Primary School
Response from Jon Rask:
You're right - analogs need to be similar to the real thing, and if your room 11 is somewhat isolated it could serve as a good start for your hab. Its great you're thinking about the types of metals that will be needed in constructing the base, and its good you've included radiation shielding. What are some good radiation shielding materials? Good job on considering the possibility of emergencies - some of the most difficult situations that might arise are things we don't plan on, so having back up plans for hypothetical emergencies, as unlikely as they may be, is a good idea. Great that you've suggested having the changing room separate from the rest, to ensure that dust and other contaminants are not spread throughout the base. Regarding the gravity switch, what do you plan to use it for? If you're producing waste on the Moon, is there a way you could store it there? Remember, its very expensive to transport materials back and forth between the Moon and Earth. Are there resources on the Moon like water ice that you could use in your Hab? Good idea on using resistive exercise with rubber bands. This is a simple technology that is low mass and easy to use! And great idea to include a microscope in the lab. Some of the most interesting things are objects can only be seen with a microscope! Nice work.
29. Ms. Westmoreland Coconut Creek Elementary School
Response from Jon Rask:
It looks like you've put a lot of thought into your drawing. You've included things that people need to live and to perform scientific investigation. Where might this hab be located? Its good you've included meteor proof walls. Chances are that a meteor won't strike it but you're protected if so. How will you shield the crew from radiation? I see that you've included an oxygen provider - good idea. Do you think that the amount of space reserved for each item in your drawing is enough for each or should some be smaller or larger? What are you storing in your garage? What is the tube in the upper right of the drawing? Where does it go, I'm curious! Good job.

30. Ms. Dheming' Class, Cuernavaca, Mexico, Arie, Mariana y Tania

Response from Jon Rask:
It's good that you have started with an introduction slide telling me what you are about to present - this is something that is good to do for this project. Do you think that an asteroid can land in the same place where others have landed before? As unusual as it may seem, this can happen, and scientists take advantage of of such instances. For example, one way scientists are able to estimate the age of planetary surfaces is by looking for craters that are on top of other craters. They can compare such areas to regions where there are fewer (or more) and determine which surfaces are older, and which are younger. What do you mean by atmospheric territory? Good idea on using lunar regolith as a material you can build with. Its important that we consider using resources that the Moon has if we build a base there. Interesting idea that food needs to be canned. Remember, the Moon does have gravity, so things won't float away. "Floating-away" only happens in microgravity - this is when you're in freefall around the Earth, like in Earth-orbiting spacecraft like the Space Shuttle or the Internation Space Station. What happens when your canned food runs out? Do you think it is important to have a system that allows you to grow your food, like a greenhouse? Neat idea on using retrorockets - they sound fast. I'd like to have one of those! :) Good job - see you on the Moon!
31. Mrs. Phillips & Mrs. Franda 8th Grade Science, Brent and Nik
Response from Jon Rask:
Great idea on using Malapert Mountain as a site for an outpost. There are many resources that are in the area that you can use, and its great that you've considered the location to help minimize the energy needed to keep your outpost habitable. Neat idea on using regolith to shield you from UV radiation. Will this shield you from cosmic radiation? Great ideas on how you will get the energy to make bricks. Does this type of technology exist? How difficult would it be to transport it to the Moon? Its good you've considered a filtration system to remove impurities and lunar dust from the air. This is important for maintaining equipment and good astronaut health. Great ideas about the greenhouse, and its good to see that you're planning on a big one. And its great you've indicated that careful plant selection is needed. Its good you are thinking about cleanliness as well, such as by using an antibiotic lotion. Do you know how long the antibiotics are will be effective for? Would microbes develop resistance to the antibiotics used in the hab if they are continually exposed to them? Neat ideas on using collapsible sleeping devices like hammocks to conserve space during the day! Good idea to have backup power generation resources. What do you plan to make your train track out of? Would it be possible to build ice transporters that don't have to follow a track? Excellent work in identifying the necessary food groups and foods that satisfy the nutritional requirements! Having chickens on the Moon is a great idea! You've even considered bringing food that can be stored for a long time! You've put a lot of thought into this and done a lot of research, and have suggested many good ideas to conserve energy and space. Very, well done - I'd like to live in this hab!
32. Mrs. Garay, Redd School 6th grades' design and explanation
Response from Matt Allner:
Your design was very well thought out, especially the location you chose for your
Hab. Living in Houston certainly doesn’t give you the best options for finding a Moon-like environment but it looks as if you found a semi-remote area aware from human presence, and with many of the same limitations astronauts will encounter on the Moon and Mars. Limiting yourself to communication by way of HAM radio and computers is a clever way to give students a real idea of how to use other communication pieces in the event cell phone communication isn’t accessible.

1) Are you planning on trying this type of communication with your students (say with another school---radio to radio, or email to email? And if so, are you planning on creating a delay similar to the delay astronauts would experience while communicating from the Moon?

2) Have you considered looking at In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) for materials other than just water and oxygen? Remember you can also bring oxygen and recycle it onboard with the use of plants using an Ecologically Closed Life Support System (ECLSS).

3) What type of exercise equipment might best be used since space is limited and you need resistance devices in a lower-G environment?

4) How could you recycle-reuse things such as oxygen and water, since it may be hard to find at times on the Moon, contamination concerns, etc.?
33. Mr. Martin's Class, Tri-Valley School
Response from Matt Allner:
Your idea of designing a large main rocket with the ability to deploy other smaller
gliders and spacecraft is a very good one. The idea you have on staging your mission to the moon is a good one, as with each new stage you have less weight (and therefore fuel requirements) to keep moving ahead. Your rover vehicle sounds very interesting as well, and your EVA suit designs sound very protecting for the astronauts.

1) Are you planning on building your first “Main Rocket” in space, or on Earth? Since you are planning on building something large enough to deploy other ships from, you may want to consider the weight and fuel needed to launch such a rocket and get it into Earth orbit. Perhaps considering building this “Main Rocket” in space would be cheaper when you put it into motion?

2) What type of exercise equipment might best be used on the Moon, since space will be limited and you need resistance devices in a low-G environment like the Moon?

3) After you catch your water and oxygen, how could you recycle-reuse these resources, since it may be hard to find them at times on the Moon, contamination concerns may arise, etc.?
34. Ms. Vallieres, Sequoyah Middle School - Team name: cancer
Response from Matt Allner:
Josh, Micheal, Matt, Aron, and Jon: You have a well-rounded understanding of the
many requirements necessary for living and working in space and on the Moon. I like how you not only refer to the use of plants in your ideas, but also how they are so important to your survival. Great design proposal.
A couple of things to consider as you move forward with your plans:

1) Have you thought at all about the problem of filtering the air you breath since it will have to be re-used and recycled? How will filters play a role in keeping your air clean for breathing and preventing respiratory infections?

2) How will you protect your astronauts from exposure to radiation? What type of radiation shielding device will you use to live on the surface? Could living underground provide any advantage as far as radiation protection?

3) What type of recycling (open-closed loop system) could you create to make the best use of your water supply so you waste as little as possible?
35. Ms. Vallieres, Sequoyah Middle School Team name: Super Nova's
Response from Matt Allner:
Alex, Isaiah, Luke, Adam, and Albert: You did a great job evaluating the spot near your school that you chose for your living area. There are always some drawbacks to every location, so there is sometimes no perfect place to build. Your design was interesting and fun all the same. A couple of things to think about as you move forward:

1) How can your actions (either living or working habits) affect the Moon environment? And how might our habits living and working here on Earth (and the effects this has on the environment) have to change when we go to he Moon, in order to prevent contamination of the Moon environment?

2) How could fans and filters play a role in keeping the Hab environment safe and clean for astronauts living and working indoors?

3) How can you interchange water and oxygen in “Closed-loop”-type devices to recycle your air and water as much as possible, while providing these resources to all possible and necessary areas (plants, humans, cooling/heating systems, etc.)?

36. Ms. Vallieres' Class, Sequoyah Middle School Team name: ABC Astronomers

Response from Matt Allner:
Sierra, Elizabeth, Brianna, and Nicole: Your design ideas are very good and they are
very well thought up. Looking at your list of things you won’t be able to bring with you into space, you always get to bring a few personal items, so perhaps those might be make-up and purses? You could justify it by saying that you would like to use the make-up for theater purposes as well, as entertainment is a very important part of all crews living in space ?. Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider as you move forward with your plans:

1) If gravity is a requirement for dust to settle, and the Moon has less gravity than the Earth, how will this affect the air astronauts will be breathing? How might you ensure that this dust can get to the filters so that is collected and not allowed to stay in the air astronauts will be using to breath?

2) What types of resources might need to be recycled and re-used in space (other than just wastes)? What other types of systems might be designed to recycle these resources?

3) What other ways can you protect astronauts from radiation exposure (without having to bring something along with you from Earth)?
37. From Vivek Yadav
Response from Matt Allner:
Your response was very scientifically proposed and offers great ideas on how some
chemical processes that will be needed in space in the future. Obtaining O2 from water electrolysis is an excellent idea, as the hydrogen can then be routed and used for other processes in your Hab design. A couple of things to think about as you move forward:

1) If radioactive energy sources were to be used, and contamination occurred, how might this affect both the Moon environment and the humans living and working there? If things such as water and resources became contaminated, what back up plan would have to be in place to ensure that you had sufficient amounts of these materials (especially those involved in life support)?

2) What other types of recycling systems will be necessary in space to prevent one-time-use of materials?

3) What types of Life Support Systems could have their waste products interchanged/routed to other systems so that a “closed-loop” system is established? (“Closed-loop” meaning one where resources are never wasted but are continually used, recycled, and then re-used again).
38. Ms. Vallieres, Sequoyah Middle School Team name: Solar Searchers
Response from Matt Allner:
Tasha, Jacob, Tyler, Crystal, and Patti: Your ideas on Moon colonization and design
very realistic and have a good start to their scientific significance. Working on the issues surrounding power in space was a good one, as this will definitely pose a problem if sufficient energy is not available to crews. Some ideas to consider as you continue working on this:

1) What other types of materials are space suits made out of? How much of a factor is weight in the designing of a suit? And, why are there so many different layers to a spacesuit?

2) What other reasons might space crews want to have their Hab built under ground on the Moon (as compared to having it built at the surface)?

3) In order to keep costs as minimal as possible, how might the surface of the Moon be used for some of the materials you might need for survival, building, etc.?

39. Ms. Vallieres, Sequoyah Middle School Team name: Shooting Starz

Response from Matt Allner:
Cassie, Jackie, Elaine, Tori, Isabel, and Nimotalai: Looks like you have good reasons
for choosing the area you did for your design, as a flat surface and clear skies are very important for communication purposes. The idea to have separate toilets for liquid and solid wastes was an interesting idea as well. Here are a few ideas to think about as you move forward with your project design:

1) Can liquid wastes be used/re-used at all in space? And if so, how might a system like this work?

2) What other types of gear/equipment might astronauts need in space for conducting EVAs? What types of protective EVA suit equipment, what types of scientific equipment, and what types of transportation equipment might they need?

3) What could you do to accommodate the weaknesses of the location you have for your Moon Hab? How could you compensate for the lacking presence of human, animal, and weather interactions?
40. Ms. Sharlow's Class: Clyde Riggs Elementary
Response from Matt Allner:
This design was very nice and neatly spaced out---it was also neat to see that you
were the only group that included a school in their design. You have thought about a lot of the things that crews will need to have in order to live and work in space. A few thoughts to consider as you continue to look into a few of the areas you mentioned in your design are:

1) What other uses might telescopes have for astronauts living and working in space?

2) Other than solar energy, what other ways can you provide energy for your crewmembers?

3) Would a school on the Moon teach students the same thing that schools here on Earth do? What would be the same, and what would be different? And also, what language would you study in school on the Moon, since crewmembers will probably be from a variety of different countries and cultural backgrounds?
41. Froghollow School: Michael: 8 yrs. old from Australia

Response from Jennifer Heldmann:
Great design! Good idea to put the habitat underground to protect the habitat and the people from incoming meteors. There were a lot of meteor impacts very early in the history of the solar system (over 4 billion years ago!) but now the number and size of impacts has gone down -- so lucky for us there aren't a lot of really big meteors hitting the Moon (or Earth!) today. Can you think of any other benefits of putting the habitat underground? Think about the radiation environment and how the astronauts need to be shielded from this harmful radiation.

Also, you will be using solar power. If your base is located near the equator of the Moon then you will have 2 weeks of daytime and 2 weeks of night. How will you provide power to the habitat during the 2 weeks of darkness? Also, do you need to bring ALL of the oxygen with you from Earth or are there ways to get oxygen from the Moon? Good idea to eventually include a greenhouse as well for the conversion of CO2 and also you could grow food there. Working in a greenhouse might also keep the astronauts happy by working with living plants on the Moon where nothing is currently growing. Your habitat design is good, too, since you've included many of the necessary types of space such as the air lock, kitchen & dining room, toilets, exercise room, experiment room, bedroom, etc. Good work - we look forward to seeing your final design!

Past deadline:
41. Ms. Russo's Class: Putnam County Team 1
42. Ms. Russo's Class: Putnam County Team 2
43. Ms. Audry Rains' 4th grade gifted class
44. Miss. Dheming's 7th grade, Olinca Cuernavaca School
Roberto, Guillermo, & Mercedes
45. Vicente, Emilio, José & Juan
46. Ms. Walter's 7th grade Johnson Jr. High School Crystal and Hailey


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NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: May 2005
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