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sk3erkrou
02-22-2012, 04:03 PM
In one of my current WIPs the main character goes to help build a livable habitat on the moon. I'm just wondering what kinds of things would need to be taken into consideration for making a space you could live in on the moon other than the obvious heat, food, water, and oxygen.
Also, the habitat would have started construction about 10 years before he gets there. Would this make a difference in what the builders are currently working on when he arrives?

WriteKnight
02-22-2012, 09:08 PM
Much would depend on the purpose of the habitat. Last time I read up on it, since there is some water to be found deep in one of the craters at the 'southern' pole - there was talk about building the habitat there. Equipment to 'mine' or harvest the water frozen into the surface dirt is a big step. Once you have water, you can separate out the hydrogen and oxygen. Water is the most expensive thing to transport to the moon.

Lots of talk about using craters or caves for 'shelter' construction. This provides shelter from radiation and meteorite damage. SO that might be something to look into. Ten years on, they could be expanding the underground facility.

Mining the moon for Helium 3 is one of the topics being researched at the moment. You can google some info on that, plenty to be found.

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/19296/

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-11-13/tech/water.moon.nasa_1_lunar-crater-observation-anthony-colaprete-solar-system?_s=PM:TECH

Also, check out the indy film - "MOON" - great flick about a miner living on the moon, harvesting the helium 3.

Edward M. Grant
02-22-2012, 10:51 PM
Dust.

It gets everywhere, if it's thrown up off the ground it covers your radiators so you can't lose heat, it's abrasive, and it's potentially a killer if you breathe too much into your lungs.

One common suggestion is to have space suits that 'dock' with the habitat so you climb in and out of the suit through an airlock rather than walking into an airlock and removing the suit. That would dramatically reduce the amount of dust getting in, but you'd still have to be careful with dust being thrown up by rovers' wheels getting into the bearings or covering radiators (the Apollo astronauts had to keep cleaning it off their rover, for example).

rachelmachelsmachel
02-23-2012, 07:14 AM
ooh don't forget radiation problems! It's not like Io where you drop dead instantly but long term exposure wouldn't be a good thing :(

Night_Writer
02-23-2012, 07:40 AM
The Moon has a lot less gravity than Earth. This makes for some potential health issues. When living in conditions where gravity is lacking, human bones begin to lose their density. They become brittle. Some kind of artificial gravity would have to be supplied on the Moon for vertebrates to be able to survive on it.

sk3erkrou
02-23-2012, 05:21 PM
The Moon has a lot less gravity than Earth. This makes for some potential health issues. When living in conditions where gravity is lacking, human bones begin to lose their density. They become brittle. Some kind of artificial gravity would have to be supplied on the Moon for vertebrates to be able to survive on it.

Since this is Science Fiction, couldn't I just put in that there was a new vitamin supplement added to the food that makes the bones more dense? This would also make it so the people on the moon can't simply go back to Earth whenever they want as well.

Night_Writer
02-24-2012, 01:24 AM
Since this is Science Fiction, couldn't I just put in that there was a new vitamin supplement added to the food that makes the bones more dense? This would also make it so the people on the moon can't simply go back to Earth whenever they want as well.

Actually, yeah, the same idea hit me later, that a vitamin, or some sort of drug, could be used to help strengthen bones. As far as going back to earth, I don't think that would be a problem. Having dense bones wouldn't be an issue on Earth, I don't think.

blacbird
02-24-2012, 05:20 AM
Protection from solar radiation. The moon has no appreciable magnetic field, and therefore its surface is unprotected from the high-energy charged particles released in solar storms.

caw

Fins Left
02-24-2012, 07:25 AM
Actually, yeah, the same idea hit me later, that a vitamin, or some sort of drug, could be used to help strengthen bones. As far as going back to earth, I don't think that would be a problem. Having dense bones wouldn't be an issue on Earth, I don't think.

Actually, (from prior experience with race horses where bone mass is an issue), supplements would not be enough to save bone mass and would not build it.

Bones go through a continual building and break down process. These processes are different for younger animals (humans). In formative years, bones are actually shaped and the shape adds to or takes away from their strength for life. Then as animals age, nutrition AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE affect how dense and how brittle they are. Sorry, but I forget the term for this process, but bones need to be stressed to stay strong. When they are stressed, they lay down more bone cells that strengthen them. When they aren't stressed, as the cells die and are not replaced.

So, if you don't want to have full gravity, you need to provide a way to stress the bones on a very routine basis.

As for nutrition calcium is probably among the most important. Low body calcium (needed for heart function, etc) will cause the body to rob it from the bones. This balance of bone/blood levels makes me think that a medication that could overcome the lack of gravity (vs, just aid the process here on earth) would risk killing a person by causing calcium to be 'sucked' out of the blood.

If you google around, you might find these new body armor type things that have been invented in Japan. It looks like a full body exoskeleton that has been invented to give additional strength to workers here on earth. BUT, it wouldn't take much to tweak that to provide appropriate strength 'training' on an 8 hour work shift.

thothguard51
02-24-2012, 08:19 AM
As too earth colonies on the moon, NASA has a slide show about possible moon bases.

Link...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/gingrich-moon-colony-plan_n_1250118.html

Read the description of each slide to get some ideas on how we might build moon bases and live on the moon. Much of it is geared toward commercial enterprises...

Edward M. Grant
02-24-2012, 10:04 PM
As too earth colonies on the moon, NASA has a slide show about possible moon bases.

Thinking about it, they also have a free computer game on Steam; I only spent a few minutes in there but that might have some useful info about how they plan to build and operate their base. I vaguely remember running around in a space suit trying to fix robots or something.

The Grift
02-25-2012, 12:01 AM
Dust.

It gets everywhere, if it's thrown up off the ground it covers your radiators so you can't lose heat, it's abrasive, and it's potentially a killer if you breathe too much into your lungs.

One common suggestion is to have space suits that 'dock' with the habitat so you climb in and out of the suit through an airlock rather than walking into an airlock and removing the suit. That would dramatically reduce the amount of dust getting in, but you'd still have to be careful with dust being thrown up by rovers' wheels getting into the bearings or covering radiators (the Apollo astronauts had to keep cleaning it off their rover, for example).

To emphasize this point... lunar dust is really REALLY bad...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080924191552.htm

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/22apr_dontinhale/

It can and will wear through kevlar boots, gum up joints, and can give you something called lunar hay fever. It's not like earth dust.

blacbird
02-25-2012, 08:21 AM
Protection from meteors. The moon has no atmosphere. A meteor that would burn to vapor in Earth's atmosphere will come straight to the surface on the moon, unimpeded. This is actually a major reason for the very existence of surficial moon dust.

A small asteroid hit northern Arizona about 50,000 years ago and blasted a crater 100 times wider than its diameter and 50 times as deep. That should give an approximation of the energy release from any object striking at cosmic speed. A meteor the size of a pea could blast a hole a foot or more wide in anything it hit.

The Mars orbiter has seen several new craters formed during its time in orbit, the Mars atmosphere being too diaphanous to protect the planet's surface from them.

caw

caw

benbradley
02-25-2012, 09:34 AM
The Moon has a lot less gravity than Earth. This makes for some potential health issues. When living in conditions where gravity is lacking, human bones begin to lose their density. They become brittle. Some kind of artificial gravity would have to be supplied on the Moon for vertebrates to be able to survive on it.
Artificial gravity would be good for bones and maintaining physical health in general, but it wouldn't be practical for the first several decades of a Moon base. They have the same problem on the International Space Station, and the astronauts do a LOT of exercise during six-month stays to maintain muscle strength and good heart and lung capacity as well as bone mass. The Moon's gravity being 1/6th of Earth's is not quite as bad as in the ISS's zero gee, and physically building the Moonbase may count as some of the exercise, but they will surely still need more exercise. Research what long-term residents of the ISS do for exercise, and have your character do most of that.

Here's an interesting online book that has probably more than you want to know. It looks to be from the 1990's, before the ISS was started, but there had already been astronauts and cosmonauts who had been in orbit for months at a time, and the health effects were well documented:
http://www.nsbri.org/humanphysspace/index.html

I understand even the Shuttle's two-week missions (the longest the Shuttle was designed for) caused substantial difficulty in walking when the astronauts first landed, though I don't see anything on that offhand.

rachelmachelsmachel
02-26-2012, 09:27 AM
Protection from solar radiation. The moon has no appreciable magnetic field, and therefore its surface is unprotected from the high-energy charged particles released in solar storms.

caw

I said that already...

Plus there are more types of radiation than what's caused by solar storms.

jaksen
02-26-2012, 08:14 PM
Ever had the flu? Every had an illness where you laid in bed a few days? Even just two days? And the only time you move is to the bathroom and back? (And your Mum or other nice person brings you drinks of water and lukewarm soup?)

Then you're finally feeling better and you walk down or up the stairs? Your leg muscles are wobbling around, aren't they? They're already weakened and losing muscle mass from being in bed two days.

That's sort of how some of the astronauts felt, even after exercising, while being on the space station or in orbit. Weak. Clumsy. Just occasional movement around a house or neighborhood or at a job puts continuous strain on your bones and keeps your muscles (somewhat) in tone. (Of course regular exercise or a lifestyle that promotes physical activity is better.)

I'm just adding this so you will get an idea of what weeks or months in space or on the moon would do to the average human's muscles. They'd get weak. And floppy.

Fins Left
02-28-2012, 12:24 PM
Just another quick thought about the trip there and back. Apparently there is getting to be quite a bit of space debris in the earth's atmosphere. I guess we've treated it a bit like a junkyard up there and now they actually need to guide around it.