Lunar living…how is this going to work? I hate to break this to you all but there is a decided lack of traditional building materials there. I mean we could always use the lunar soil to create moonrete as a replacement for concrete. But there is an easier way…and one that will almost certainly be safer than trying to build moon shelters. Lets see what Josh is up to in one of these newfangled lunar homes.
The Fun Part
Mare Serenitatis, Near Lunar North Pole
July 18, 2061
It had been a while since Josh first came to the moon to protest the environmental despoiling of the Apollo 11 landing site, but all things considered, that one way ticket wasn’t working out so bad. Oh sure, he was still on the moon.
And well…there weren’t a lot of options for getting back in the near future.
Turns out disturbing the peace up here was punished a tiny bit more harshly than back on Earth. In fact, Josh couldn’t remember the last time he had been in a jail this long. Maybe it was after that Greenpeace rally where they took over that oil tanker.
At least he had a nice little cell here with the other two protestors. It was a little surprising that there was even this much room for prisoners. Wasn’t space supposed to be at a premium up here? And weren’t the three of them taking up a lot of resources to keep alive? Why not just ship them back?
So many questions, and for now, it didn’t look like answers were going to be forthcoming. In fact, no one had been forthcoming. It was just the three of them in this cave.
Josh had never even heard about caves being on the moon…although now that he thought about it, there was a certain logic to it. The moon was still made of rock, and rock formations are where caves are…so…
Wait…was that someone coming in…
Oh…no…just the, was that an Amazon branded delivery bot?
Ok that is just insulting…having an Amazon delivery robot bring their food…not even a human. This colonization program had clearly gone too corporate and they needed to stop this.
Now if they could just figure out a way out…oh and suits…it looks like there are no pressurized suits for them to use if they do get out…ok one problem at a time….
First step…dismantle this robot and see what we can use….
The Real Deal
In 2017 the Japanese space agency, found a chasm less than 330 feet beneath the surface and around 300 feet wide—dimensions that could comfortably house inhabitants (assuming you don’t mind a bit of an elevator ride, or are good with stairs). Other lava tubes were hinted at by the presence of “skylights,” or areas where the roof of the tube has collapsed, exposing it to the surface above.
But I don’t want to live in a volcano
Excellent point – but remember the moon is not geologically active. These lava tubes formed billions of years ago when the moon was still geologically active and molten rock gushed from beneath the surface. Vast lava plains today still mark the moon’s surface, and tunneling through them are channels where lava once ran. In some cases, the lava subsided (technically in all cases the lave subsided…but in some cases where it subsided things were left behind), leaving a hollow chamber behind.
In fact, the moon’s lower gravity means that the tubes are potentially much larger than on Earth, as they won’t collapse under their own weight as easily. Research in 2015 reported that tubes up to three miles wide could theoretically be possible on the moon, large enough to hold a moderately-sized city. Or a massive city of tiny people.
Ok cool — But why not just chill on the surface to I can see the Earthrise?
Caverns tucked into bedrock offer a few key protections for squishing meat bags living in space. They provide crucial cover from harmful radiation given off by the sun and other cosmic sources. The surrounding rock also serves as an insulator against temperature swings that take the moon’s surface from hot enough to boil water to less than -200 degrees Fahrenheit in the course of a single day. As reference for those of you who may not be used to either extreme – or understand temperature, that is roughly equivalent to the difference in attractiveness between Cerci Lannister from the season opener to when she pushes her son off the roof. Finally…and back on topic, caves also offer some protection from the small meteorites that periodically bombard the moon.
Who owns the Moon? I mean that sounds a little silly…like who owns the ocean…but we will look at this in more detail next time. We looked at owning an asteroid before, but what about the moon? If you want to learn more about life on the moon, check out my post here about lunar environmentalists or another about how life on a habitat like the ones described here might be less healthy that they seem.