After the Apollo landings of the past century the Moon has been “abandoned” as Mars became much more attractive, at least for human landings and long permanence. The idea of establishing a permanent base on the red planet is yes ambitious but incredibly hard and dangerous at the same time.
As recent discoveries proved Moon may have resources necessary for the full development of a permanent base. But the main objective could consist in the construction of base models including orbit assistance. The technology would then be used for other missions by just adding little changes depending on the particular environment we need to deal with.
Let’s see some of the main problems we need to deal with in the case of a permanent Moon base:
- lack of atmosphere
There is a need of structures easy to build to satisfy the need of expanding in short time and recreate life conditions for humans and plants. Lack of atmosphere or weak external pressure need structures capable of containing the internal pressure. In this particular case the technology of inflatable elements is the one that better meets the requirement of the project.
Some radiation is harmful to life. We therefore need to create a shield able to filtrate harmful radiation from the one essential for terrestrial life development. In some cases water could be used as a filter. Technology capable of extracting water from local resources is fundamental.
Underground structures may be considered, if ground radiation itself is absent. The thickness of the layer made by rocks and dust may prove an excellent shield against harmful radiation. External inflatable structures need to be integrated with the underground solution.
- raw materials exploitation
A permanent base needs to rely on local resources for most of it’s needs. External radiation or fission from nuclear material could be used to power the station. Local soil has to be exploited in order to get water and other necessary minerals.
Short range transportation could be guaranteed efficiently by land, possible by autonomous driving cars. In the case of multiple far apart bases long range transportation may prove cheaper by small rockets, since there is no drag due to atmosphere like in the case of Earth.