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Lunar Base Construction OverviewPrevious lunar missions and campaigns have been restricted to using robotic landers and lunar orbiting satellites as well as sortie type of operations using astronaut crews (NASA Apollo program). The next phase of lunar exploration has begun under NASA’s Artemis program and there has been an international response where other nations such as China, Russia, India, Canada, Japan and the European Union of nations, have all expressed interest in either collaborating or competing with NASA on the Moon. This next phase has an over arching goal of achieving a permanent human presence on the Moon via sustainable methods. A lunar base with human occupancy will require infrastructure to provide shelter, utilities, landing/launch pads, roads, communications, power and all the other necessities to sustain human life and protect equipment. Since human biology is not well suited for surviving in the lunar environment, there will be many forms of automated equipment, autonomy and robotic helpers that will minimize the amount of Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) required by the crew. This will mean that the radiation dosage received by the crew will stay within acceptable and safe career doses. The required infrastructure must be constructed, but the mass and logistics of bringing all the construction materials from Earth are prohibitive, which makes the necessary construction difficult to achieve. In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) aims to solve this challenge by sourcing construction materials locally or “in-situ”. This means that their transportation can be completely eliminated, resulting in large cost savings by avoiding the launch out of Earth’s deep gravity well and subsequent trans lunar injection, lunar orbit capture and landing. This paper will give an overview of the required construction tasks and related equipment that will be required to robotically build a lunar base using in-situ resources. It will also organize these tasks into logical groupings so that technology development and implementation can be pursued within a framework that can be referenced by all involved.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Robert P Mueller
(Kennedy Space Center Merritt Island, Florida, United States)
Date Acquired
September 12, 2021
Subject Category
Engineering (General)
Meeting Information
Meeting: 18th Biennial International Conference: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Earth & Space 2022 Conference
Location: Denver, CO
Country: US
Start Date: April 25, 2022
End Date: April 28, 2022
Sponsors: American Society of Civil Engineers
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
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