ASI W9600316r1.2

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#91 December 1995

Section the Artemis Data Book

Expanding the Outpost

Peter Kokh

The provident architect, in designing a building - be it a residence, a factory, a school, an office, or a corporate headquarters - will take into consideration the possible downrange need to expand. For if the tenant of the premises prospers, the structured interior space of the original construction may soon be outgrown. If no provision has been made for easy and orderly expansion, the original site may have to be abandoned, and a new facility built on adjoining or distant property.

Much like the would-be architect using Lincoln Logs or Lego blocks, and even more like the think-ahead Scrabble player, the architect of the original lunar outpost will want to leave a number of opportunities for expansion. His grounded options must provide for changing needs in a flexible way. "Expand EZ" features will mean minimum disruption and disturbance of, and other inconvenience to, ongoing operations.

This is the philosophy behind using multi-port nodes as air-lock modules, for example. We don't have to give up a point of access to expand. Spacing of such expansion/access nodes must also be considered. The module or other pressurized space to be added may or may not be of comparable size to the starter module or modules. If connecting ports are arranged at angles to one another, as for example in a cross-T, hex, octagonal or other radial pattern, this provides more sizing flexibility than does an initial configuration with expansion ports arrayed side by side.

Expansion ports should be indifferent to the nature of the added space: hard-hulled payload bay sized modules brought up from Earth; "telescoping" or otherwise unfolding hard-hull modules which allow more usable volume; or inflatable structures. Of these, the cylinder can offer the same or greater volume than the sphere for the same or lower height. And the torus offers a more stable footprint as well as room for built-in features in its "donut-hole" [cf. MMM #50, NOV '91, pp.6-8, "HOSTELS: Lowering the Threshold to Lunar Occupancy: Part IV, Hostel-Appropriate Architectures"]

We have recently touched on another topic which will greatly affect the ease or difficulty of outpost expansion: the manner in which we apply shielding mass made of regolith. If we apply it directly, a certain amount of tedious, gingerly delicate, and messy excavation may be necessary to expose the expansion point decided upon. If we apply our shielding indirectly, as in a hangar shed arch roof over the outpost site, then this shielding will not be in our way when we need to expand, and, as a bonus, the workers effecting the expansion can work in a safer, radiation- and micrometeorite-free "lee" vacuum under the hangar shed.

The layout of the site must also be considered, and we won't want to pick a site that unduly constricts opportunities for expansion with too close scenic but in-the-way features like crater walls, rille shoulders, scarps, etc.

Expansion for what?

We will want to expand our outpost in a timely fashion to provide together both more living space and more operations space. In expanded living space will be additional private quarters for more crew, more and better furnished common space, more recreational and leisure space, more space for added life support and food production, even garden space.

Expanded operations will include: exploration and in-the-field prospecting, mining, material production, manufacturing, expanded sample and product testing laboratory, product fabrication facilities, inside storage, etc. Obviously, reason exists for considerable expansion, stage by stage.

Planning for expansion must be flexible. Some of the things we think we can do and do well enough on the moon may not work out or present engineering and prerequisite difficulties may mandate putting them off until later. Other unsuspected opportunities for useful and profitable activity that can be supported early on will emerge. The exact sequence of diversification into iron and steel, glass and glass composites, ceramics and cast basalt, and lunar concrete, should be kept provisional and open to unfolding realities of need and ability. Expansion must then be both flexibly preplanned and opportunistic. This is in fact how things unfold on Earth. It will be no different on the moon.

Addition of "Out-Facilities"

Initially, the outpost will be quite compact and integral with the only peripheral installations being solar arrays and radiators, antennae, tank storage farms, the space pad, power generation and storage, etc. But the time will soon come when we will want to move industrial operations that have passed their field trials out of the 'incubator' space within the original outpost complex into new, more spacious, and more rationally designed industrial quarters more or less nearby. Such industrial space may be connected to the outpost by a pressurized corridor tube or "cunnicula" of some sort, or it may be accessed, also in shirt sleeves, by a docking personnel transport coach. However, if the facility uses a lot of raw materials "mined" at some distance, the whole industrial operation might better be placed at a suitable site handier to the source.

Another unconnected complex likely to arise early on is a "Port Operations" facility at the moon base spacepad site, as the pace of expansion increases and with it the amount and frequency of traffic between base and Earth and/or Earth orbit. Additional "exclaves" may be at an astronomical observatory installation within logistical support range of the outpost, and even a sort of getaway recreational retreat, say on the scenic rim of a large not-too-hard-to-reach crater or rille. 'Androgynous' dock-locks will make such actually separate installations functionally contiguous allowing easy, safe, and comfortable passage from one to the other. Keeping pace with all this will be an expanding road network, reworked as need be to handle more frequent and heavier traffic loads.

Room for Visitors

At first, there will be no room or provision for "non-working" visitors. As the outpost expands, spare quarters for guests may be set aside (possibly the original, now outmoded crew quarters). Only as the outpost expands to the point where potential income from visitors outweighs the "bother" that looking out for them will cause, will a real ticket-purchasing visitor influx begin. The outpost will then have a dedicated hotel, a tourist excursion coach, and an itinerary of visitable sites. And outpost population will have grown quite a bit.

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