Preliminary Design of an Underground Lunar Mine

by Scott B. Berk, Colorado Sch of Mines, Golden, United States,
Brad R. Blair, Colorado Sch of Mines, Golden, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


This paper presents a mining engineering viewpoint on the design and construction of an underground lunar mine. Upon completion, the facility will serve as a lunar habitat. Ore removed from the mine will be processed into oxygen and construction materials. Estimates of equipment mass, power consumption, and processing requirements will aid in advanced lunar base planning. Mine layout and equipment is derived from proven terrestrial designs. Current information on the lunar environment has been used to the fullest extent possible. Many important gaps in geotechnical site information remain. The purpose of this paper is not to give a definitive solution for an underground Lunar mine, but rather to present a possible scenario. It is a simplified approach similar to how a mining engineer would design a mine on Earth.

Subject Headings: Underground construction | Space construction | Moon | Space colonies | Materials processing | Construction materials | Energy consumption | Geotechnical engineering

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