Building Moon Bases

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 1, Pg. 40-43

Document Type: Feature article


It is widely accepted that the U.S. will begin to build a base on the moon at the turn of the century, and much of the design work has already been done. Based on papers presented at Space 88, an ASCE conference held in Albuquerque in August, this article outlines the structural design of several proposed habitats. All designers agree on several principles: the habitats must be pressure vessels to maintain a breathable atmosphere; covered with regolith (the moon's surface soil) as protection against radiation and impact by micrometeorites; all materials imported from Earth must be very light weight because freight will cost upwards of $3,000 per pound. As we gain industrial competence, a moon base for the Mars expeditions will be built with concrete and other materials fabricated from elements such as oxygen and iron that occur in moon rocks. Eventually, only hydrogen need be imported for manufacture of water.

Subject Headings: Structural design | Moon | Space colonies | Pressure vessels | Soil pressure | Lunar materials | Design/Build | Space structures

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