Mission Equipment
Section 4.3.10.
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Modularity at the Lunar Base

Nelson Thompson

For convenience, most appliances on Earth contain many discrete components in one housing. We package things at the meta-function level. That is, we want to hear music, so we buy a single-case stereo blasterbox. For the Artemis Project, we need to start thinking in terms of the functions or even sub-functions we want to perform -- concepts that must be combined to yield the final meta-function.

For example, we assume that lunar rovers will have integral motors, power supplies and cargo bins. Why? Why not a motor unit with wheels (or treads) that can pull anything, or supply mechanical power to any other mechanical appliance? Why not power supply modules in several forms: photovoltaic, battery, fuel cell. All with common mounts and electrical interfaces? Why not a people mover module? Or several -- press, unpress, seats for 2, seats for 6? Why not wheeled cargo modules?

Then, when you want an expedition to, say, Arhenius Crater, you assemble a 'motor,' a fuel-cell 'power,' a 'press-6-seat-car,' and a 4-cubic-meter 'cargo.' Looks like a toy train.

When you get to Arhenius, you need to take some core samples. The 'motor' supplies mechanical power to the drill. You want to put rego-shielding over your inflatable tent. The 'motor' supplies MP to the rego-tosser. You want to set up an experiment station remotely. You attach it to the 'motor,' drive it by remote control from inside your inflatable, drop off the experiment package, drive the 'motor' back.

All luna-surface appliances could be driven by modular 'motors' or 'powers.' This provides increased flexibility and safety margins. It also reduces the amount of mass needed. It also reduces the amount of R&D you do on Earth. You don't have to reinvent every electrical motor, power supply, and transmission required by all the the different tools you want to send to the moon.

Mission Equipment

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