Shelter for Living on the Moon
Section 2.12.3.
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Building In-Situ Lunar Cities

William J. Mook

Japan's NASDA has completed a design study to build cities on the moon. NASDA came up with a system of lightweight trusses and a glass making plant. The glass plant operates in a vacuum. It uses lunar soil to make glass. The plant is solar powered with a concentrating reflector and highly automated. It can be operated from earth by telecherics (VR).

Fused silica trusses are also formed by the plant are 30 m. The trusses are mounted into the lunar surface. The glass panels are hexagons about 20 m in diameter. The hexagons are pinned to the trusses.

Foamed ceramic is blown into the joints. The closed cell foam is air tight.


Dust is scooped off the lunar plain and fed into the glass making facility. Truss anchors are inserted into the underlayment. and a layer of foam is laid down on the evened surface. Then, waste soil is deposited on top of the foam. Next, trusses are inserted into their anchors, pinned there mechanically, and welded by laser (ceramic to ceramic). Finally glass is laid on the roof, mechanically fastened and welded. Then airtight ceramic foam is blown into the joints.

Walls are added last, but these are mobile and there are two layers. This allows continuous construction of the lunar city to occur, with the outermost walls being removed and placed a little further out once new roofing is added. Then the innermost walls are placed where the outer walls were, forming an airlock.

The entire process occurs on a roving factory continuously. The 'glass head' once it completes an initial 'dot' then circles the dot in an archimedes spiral... like a nautilus shell, building the city ever larger.

An entire species of microbes, plants, and animals are custom bred and used to seed the enclosed space. Air and water are extracted from the layer of 'waste' soil left after silica is extracted. First, microbes break down the soil chemically. Then fungi and simple unicellular organisims specially bred for low pressure existence create a low density high carbon dioxide atmosphere.

Once this is achieved, higher order plants then germinate and suck in the CO2, creating free oxygen and water vapor. Just as there are weather patterns in the superdome, there are weather patterns here.

Eventually, after about 8 to 10 years, the place is ready for people.

The roof is very heavy duty silica. It absorbs most radiation. There are two panes and each pane is about 10 cm thick. Occasionally the glass factory installs a prebuilt airlock, brought from earth along with the rest of the factory. So spacecraft arriving from earth actually land on the roof of the 'moonbase' and descend through these airlocks.

The glass factory would also, as it continued its outward spiral, have attachments to produce glass fiber and finished roadways. Spread throughout the 'moonbase' would be raw materials and infrastructure that could sustain arriving settlers.

Shelter for Living on the Moon

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