Expanding the Lunar Base
Section 2.1.
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Wheelchair Vehicle Access in the Lunar Settlement

One of the infrequently asked questions about the Artemis Project is whether facilities on the moon will be accessible to the handicapped. We will encounter some problems when we start designing passenger rockets because, like aircraft, these rockets will need a way to get the passengers to safety very quickly. And, like aircraft, the risk might be significantly higher to someone who relies on a wheelchair. Now that we've recognized that problem, we can safely say that it's very likely that once we ignite the engines for the initial launch from Earth, a wheelchair-bound passenger should encounter considerably fewer problems in space than on Earth.

All our facilities should be a Total Access Site, at least for anyone with two working arms and hands. Wheelchairs are unnecessary in zero g, so the major issue is on the moon. The low gravity of the moon, coupled with our extensive dependence on robots, make it difficult to design the lunar habitat any other way.

We probably will do fine with ladders and a bipedal crew for the first two or three flights. Even then, in 1/6 it's mostly arms and hands, so a person with good motor control of the upper body still might be able to get around and function happily on the moon.

Once we start maintaining robots on the moon and depending on them for intravehicular work, maintaining the lunar base and tending the farm, we'll have to accommodate wheels. A wheelchair can go anywhere a wheeled robot can go, which in practice will turn out to be practically anywhere inside a lunar settlement. With just a bit of accommodation in the design of the facilities, such as making sure a wheelchair can get through pressure doors, even the lunar surface will be accessible to wheels.

So, based on this scenario, we can conclude that there is no reason that someone should abandon plans for a trip to the moon just because he needs a wheelchair on Earth.

Expanding the Lunar Base

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