Evaluation of Lunar Pits and Lava Tubes for Use as Human Habitats

H. Kalita, A. Quintero, A. Wissing, B. Haugh, C. Angie, G. Nail, J. Wilson, J. Richards, J. Landin, K. Kukkala, M. Vazquez, N. Tan, Q. Lamey, R. Lu, R. Peralta, V. Vilvanathan, J. Thangavelautham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

There have been several hundred pits found on the lunar surface. These lunar pits are hypothesized to be remnant lava tubes. The latest studies indicate networks of these tubes crisscrossing large tracts of the lunar surface. These lunar pits are ideals as habitat/shelter for a future human base. These pits are nearly 80 m deep and 80-100 m in diameter. At these depths, the temperature is expected to be balmy, -25°C compared to surface temperatures reaching 200°C during the daytime and up to -150°C at night-time. In addition, these potential lava tubes serve as shelter from radiation and micro-meteorites. All of these factors make these natural structures ideal for setting up a human base, provided the internal structure is stable and does not contain toxic materials. In this paper, we analyze concepts of a lunar base inside lava tubes for layout and positioning of critical subsystems, including structure, thermal, food production, life support system, robotic systems for resource prospecting, communication, and power generation for humans living inside. Through these conceptual studies, we hope to identify a path forward towards development of some of these lunar lava tubes into critical habitable structures in support of permanent human presence on the Moon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarth and Space 2021
Subtitle of host publicationSpace Exploration, Utilization, Engineering, and Construction in Extreme Environments - Selected Papers from the 17th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments
EditorsPaul J. van Susante, Alaina Dickason Roberts
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Pages944-957
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780784483374
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Event17th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments: Space Exploration, Utilization, Engineering, and Construction in Extreme Environments, Earth and Space 2021 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Apr 19 2021Apr 23 2021

Publication series

NameEarth and Space 2021: Space Exploration, Utilization, Engineering, and Construction in Extreme Environments - Selected Papers from the 17th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments

Conference

Conference17th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments: Space Exploration, Utilization, Engineering, and Construction in Extreme Environments, Earth and Space 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle
Period4/19/214/23/21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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