Lunar Habitat
Section 4.2.3.
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Periscope Windows

Back in the mid-eighties, there was an ad in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal Home Section inviting all to come see a new model home called Terra Lux in the Kettle Moraine (debris ridge from the terminal edge of the Wisconsin Ice Sheet) some 30 miles northwest of the city. I had nothing better to do that day, so I got in my car and went for a look.

I was fascinated by the concept of Earth-sheltered homes but this one was quite different. Designed and built by architect George Keller, it did not have the usual exposed south elevation window wall for passive solar. The entire home, except the north facing garage door, was covered by a full 8 feet of soil. Here and there over the mound were protruding turrets of three different designs. I walked inside and WOW!!! Everywhere I turned, I was greeted with a picture window look out onto the beautiful rolling Kettle Moraine countryside, and I was litterly bathing in sunlight. Keller had put a 4x8 picture window in every exterior wall, and behind it, tilted upward at 45 degrees, a large mirror leading to a vertical shaft at the top of which there was another tilted mirror leading out a horizontal shaft to a final protective set of panes looking out onto the landscape. A periscope! I recognized at once that the basic idea was transferrable, with alterations, to a lunar setting, for it incorporated a broken path that would maintain radiation-proofing integrity. As to the sunshine, every few yards in every ceiling there was a yard-wide mirror-faceted shaft leading to a sun-following heliostat, all controlled by a computer named George. I have never been in any house in my life so "open to the outdoors" and so flooded with sunlight - all 8 feet below grade!

We would want round or oval window panes and mirrors, and to step the pressure up or down along the route of the shaft. An easily changed sacrificial pane of optical grade glass, glass composite would guard the visual entryway, and it could itself be shielded by a generous eave so that exposure was only to the surface and a very few degrees above the horizon. If it were punctured, there would be several intermediate panes to preserve pressurization. As to solar entry, that pathway too could be broken, or the shaft could be packed solid with fiber optic strands leading to a fresnel lens distributer at ceiling level. Either way would preserve integrity against radiation.

The Upshot is that moon miners, while living underground, need not live like moles, but can bring the Sun and the view down with them.

Periscope Window Diagram

Lunar Habitat

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