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Researchers show how humans could live in inflatable villages on the moon

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(Pneumocell via SWNS)

By Dean Murray via SWNS

Humans will live in inflatable moon bases, according to a study.

Research funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows lunar bases would be semi-buried, doughnut-shaped habitats.

Austrian inflatable structures specialist Pneumocell performed a system study of an inflatable lunar village, based on prefabricated ultralight structures.

The habitats would operate self-sufficiently in the long term by producing and recycling their own oxygen and food inside large greenhouses and almost exclusively by using solar irradiation power.

Once inflated, the habitats would be buried under 4-5 m of lunar regolith for radiation and micrometeorite protection.

Sited beside the lunar poles in regions of near-perpetual solar illumination, mirrors designed to rotate to follow the Sun would be positioned above each habitat to reflect sunlight into greenhouses within the structures.

Sunlight from the mirror would be directed down through an artificial crater, from which another cone-shaped mirror reflects it into the surrounding greenhouse.

The structures would be built using so-called Moonbugs; crab-like legged vehicles able to climb steep slopes and walk equally well in all directions.

ESA explained the goal of the study was to develop a design for a lunar habitat in the close vicinity of one of the lunar poles and to demonstrate the feasibility of the suggested design in view of the available resources.

The space agency announced earlier this month: "The study was supported through the Discovery element of ESA’s Basic Activities. It came about after Pneumocell submitted their idea to the Agency’s Open Space Innovation Platform, OSIP, which seeks out promising ideas for space research from all possible sources."

The report was authored by architect and Pneumocell CEO Thomas Herzig, astrophysicist Norbert Kömle and physicist Gabor Bihari.

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