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Apollo Visitors Center

Apollo Visitors Center While you're on the moon, you'll want to visit the Apollo landing sites. How you'll get out to the landing sites depends how far development has proceeded when you get there. You can read more about the transportation systems in the essay about Transportation on the Lunar Surface.

Once you get there, you'll want to take a close look at the footprints and equipment left behind by the Apollo missions. That poses a conundrum. Every footprint you leave on the lunar surface will remain for 10,000 years, or at least until someone else comes along and kicks dust in your tracks. Thousands of visitors would very quickly obliterate all traces left by the Apollo astronauts.

We can solve this problem by building visitors centers at each of the landing sites, as shown in the sketch above. Elevated walkways with generous viewing windows allow you to get up close to the Apollo artifacts without worrying about damaging the historical record. The poles that support the walkways and the nodes between them are the only contact with the lunar soil; we'll keep those well clear of the old spacecraft and tracks left by Apollo astronauts.

It's a long trip out to those landing sites, so you'll need a place stay once you get there. To accommodate visitors, we construct a small hotel at each site. In the sketch above, the hotel is a sphere modeled after the spherical farm concept developed by Artemis Society International's Lunar Agriculture Technical Committee.

The basic structure might be an inflatable or a rigid shell. In either case, the hotel and the walkways can be built entirely from material mined from the surface of the moon. Each visitors center hotel will be a little biosphere of its own, with copious plant life to support recycling the air just as Nature does here on Earth. Your room at these remote sites might not be as well-appointed as your operating base at the Luna City Hotel, but the adventure of being out on the moon surrounded by evidence of the first lunar explorations should more than make up for it.

Pressurized walkways also provide you with a comfortable, air-conditioned shirtsleeve environment, so you can study the Apollo artifacts and surrounding terrain without having to don a space suit. Some of the Apollo traverses were miles long -- you'll get to see the cars they used on the last four missions -- but at least in one-sixth gravity, your feet won't get tired as you walk from one spot to another.

The grand tour of all the Apollo sites, with side trips to take in crash sites and soft-landing sites of robotic spacecraft from the US and Soviet moon programs, will take several weeks. You might have to be selective in your travel plans, depending on whether you are on the moon for a short vacation or a long sabbatical of research and study. Eventually the lunar community will build visitors centers at each of these sites.

Further lunar explorations might take in crash sites of the Saturn rockets' S-IVB upper stages and the Apollo lunar module ascent stages. The facilities will push onward, crossing miles of pristine lunar landscape forever preserved in its natural state, and on around the limb of the moon so that you can visit places where the Earth never appears in the dark lunar sky.

Further reading on this subject in the Artemis Data Book

Section 2.1. Transportation on the Lunar Surface.
Section 2.6. Inflatable Lunar Habitats
Section Luna City Hotel
Section Agriculture on the Moon
Section Lunar Agriculture Technical Committee
Appendix M, Section 2. Historical Lunar Exploration
Appendix M, Section 2.1 Apollo Program

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