Expanding the Lunar Base
Section 2.1.
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Lunar Junkyards

Bruce Soluski

The moon has a limited, albeit plentiful, set of resources, and many materials will need to be imported from extralunar sources for a long time. Because of that, anything not returning to Earth becomes a valuable source of raw materials for the lunar base.

Cargo landers would be totally recycled but manned landers would exchange passengers, maybe drop off empty fuel tanks, and take off again. Very soon, it will be possible to refuel it, or at least the oxygen component of the fuel.

It will be important to clear the landing area, so anything left there will be towed away for immediate use or to a junk yard. Tanks, pumps, and electronics will find ready uses. This will possibly be a design consideration for these components.

The junk yard is not essential to base operation, so it will be run by remote control by people sitting at workstations on Earth. After all, why waste good base personnel on junk? These telerobots will be easier to handle than the Russian rovers as these can be tethered to power and communications.

Cargo landers will possibly have a mix of solid and liquid fuel rockets. The solid fuel remains will be put aside until lunar industry evolves to being able to extract the valuable elemental constituants, or possibly pyrolized immediately to extract hydrogen, carbon, and any other moon-scarce elements. Aluminum and many other pieces will be fed into the existing processing scheme, but more exotic materials will be saved for appropriate uses, possibly in the safety of a below ground shelter. Any material not plentiful on the Moon will be as valuable there as gold ore is on Earth.

Content by Bruce Soluski <>

Expanding the Lunar Base

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