We’re going to the Moon for pleasure, to appreciate its difference and charm. But the reality is that the Moon is a harsh world: a lethal environment that could strike us down if we’re flippant, too arrogant or bold.

So to enable you to appreciate it, Accommodation.com is going to have to work hard: our role is to make it our Moon Hotel safe; you’re role is to enjoy it.

The complex sciences of biology, physiology, chemistry, physics, structural engineering, electronics, computers, astronomy, geography, geology and more will all need to be digested and fully applied. We’re effectively taking an Earth environment to an almost completely different world.

But we won’t be doing it alone. With time we’ll be employing some of the best scientific minds. For the time being though, we’re learning the ropes, and we’d love you to get involved.

To reiterate: if you think what we’re saying stinks, please let us know. For now we’re but a babe – by 2030 will be 18-years old. So teach us if we’re being young and foolish, we’re more than willing to learn.

On the other hand, if science bores you, you probably won’t want to read on. Get involved with the Moon Hotel Interior Design [LINK], suggest a good Moon Hotel Location, hit us with your craziest Moon Holiday [LINK] pastime or add to our Moon Culture [LINK] database.

But for all you scientists and all of you with boundless interests read on, learn and help us understand all that the Moon will require.

Apollo Mission Technology

Space Suits

For Apollo mission astronauts, stepping into an Apollo mission space suit was like stepping into a mobile environment: what NASA describes a as a “mobile form-fitting pressurised cabin… capable of surrounding the enclosed subject with an envelope of pressurised oxygen… a liveable atmosphere in an otherwise lethal environment”.

The human body requires oxygen supplied at an atmospheric pressure of 14.7 psi (pounds per square inch). Without the appropriate pressure, as previously mentioned, our bodies just simply expire.

The Apollo mission space suits had twenty-two layers of various materials provided shelter from micrometeoroids and extreme temperatures while a backpack generated suit pressure, regulated internal temperature and humidity, supplied oxygen and provided power for its communications and data displays – a life-support suit system the likes of which had never before been known.

And each suit was custom built to ensure an adequate balance between function and strength, and their fundamental purpose: enabling astronauts to move around.

Lunar Modules

The bug-like lunar modules used by the Apollo missions combined functionality and enough out-of-this-world appeal to satisfy any 60’s sci-fi dreamer.

Jettisoned from the lunar craft, four legs outstretched while variable thrusters enabled a slow, graceful descent to the Moon. The crew cabin was a tight 6.7m3 with a thermal control system, using a water-ice sublimator, to protect them from extreme heat and cold.

Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV)

The funky Lunar Rovers, or Moon Buggies, on which astronauts cruised the surface on Apollo missions 15, 16 and 17 were four-wheeled battery powered machines that folded up like a suitcase for their journey to the Moon.

Due to slick design, they easily unpacked and unfolded revealing sturdy little moon rollers ready to bust a move. Built to withstand the Moon’s extreme surface temperatures and low gravity, they had a rough and ready appeal that made them a pop culture hit back at home.

With a length of 310cm, a width of 183cm and height of 114cm, the Rovers’ wheels were individually powered by a miserly electric motor that enabled them to… snail-it at 13km/h.

Moon Technology Development

Modern Space Suits

There have been many advances and variations on the original soft space suit design. On the whole, however, there are now three types of suits: soft suits, hard-shell suits (made of metal or composite materials and using ball bearings and segments to allow a wide range of movement) and hybrid suits, a combination of both – the most commonly used today.

These modern suits have made a number of improvements on the original design, one of which is a liquid cooling garment attached to the astronaut’s skin, which gets rid of heat through an external radiator.

There hasn’t been much improvement in terms of price, however. The modern space suits, or Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU), as they are known, currently each cost a cool US$12 million.

Altair – New Lunar Lander

Before being scrapped, the US Constellation program, which had planned to put man on the Moon by 2020, designed a new lunar lander it called Altair. While very similar in design the original Apollo Lunar Module, it had five times the cabin volume, with a total of 32m3 in which the crew could move around.

NASA’s New Moon Rover

In 2008 the NASA Constellation program also unveiled its new moon rover, ‘The Chariot’, incorporating 35-years of technological innovation with the original rover design.

The new rover included an anti roll over mechanism (automatic stability control) commonly used in modern day sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and a pressurised cabin that sat upon a six-wheeled truck run on lithium-iron batteries.  And all wheels could turn in any direction, so when rolling over rugged terrain with its windowed white cabin on top it resembled a mechanised hybrid of a caterpillar and snail.

China’s Chang’e 3 Rover

The Chang’e 3 unmanned rover is a sophisticated modern lunar vehicle capable of autonomous navigation and easy avoidance of the obstacles it will encounter on its 3-month exploration of the Moon next year.

With radar for detecting structures beneath the surface, an optical telescope, a camera and a collector mechanism to gather lunar regolith samples from the surface, it will transmit images and data in real-time back to Earth.

Transferable Technologies

Airlocks

The interior of our Moon Hotel will be comfortable and luxurious and to achieve this the habitat will need to be pressurised. But it must also be kept free at all times of every serious Moon coloniser’s concern: Moon-dust

Highly abrasive and harmful to both lungs and eyes, Moon-dust will need to be kept out of the Hotel’s interior at all costs.

An airlock will enable the transition from the vacuum of the Moon’s surface to the pressurised habitat, but would also serve as a temporary quarantine while space suits are taken off and all remnants of Moon dust removed.

Solar Panels

The moons regolith is full of silicon, which is used in the construction of high performance solar panels. Space tourism we hope will be combined with the lunar mining efforts of private companies, and if Google Lunar X Prize [Link – Moon Facts/Moon Plans & Projects] is anything to go by, Google is planning to do just that – mining silicon for solar panels to supply the Earth’s energy needs.

The accommdation.com hotel, we envisage, will be partnered with the colonies of Moon industry and situated near the Moon’s poles. Together we will derive our power from mammoth solar panels constructed from the Moon’s silicon and strategically placed at points on one of the Moon’s poles that permanently receive sunlight.

 

Interested in discussing Moon technology? Wanting to share what you know? Visit the Moon Tech Talk Forums [LINK]. 

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