ESA unveils the concept of an inflatable space base that should be “buried” on the Moon

With a launch originally scheduled for last Monday (29), rescheduled for Saturday (3) and currently suspended indefinitely, the Artemis 1 flight, to the Moon, will be the first mission of NASA’s new space exploration program, which has the support from the European Space Agency (ESA), among other international entities.

One of the goals is to establish a permanent base for humans on our natural satellite, serving as an access point for other bodies in deep space in the future – with Mars as the first target.

For this, several projects are being analyzed for use by the program. Among them, it is worth mentioning the one that proposes the creation of an inflatable moon base.

As the British site points out express.cothe idea may seem a bit far-fetched, but the prefabricated and ultralight nature of such a concept would make it suitable for boarding and installation on the Moon.

This proposal is the result of a study conducted by Thomas Herzig and his colleagues from pneumocell, an inflatable company based in Vienna, Austria. The project has been selected by ESA to be part of its “Open Space Innovation Platform”.

According to the agency, the inflatable bases would consist of a set of habitats in the shape of a “doughnut”, and would be located next to the lunar poles, in regions of almost permanent sunshine. “Once inflated, these habitats would be buried 4 to 5 meters in the lunar soil to protect against radiation and micrometeorites,” reads an ESA statement.

Above each habitat, a trellis would be erected holding a mirrored membrane, designed to rotate following the Sun across the sky. The mirror’s sunlight would be directed through an artificial crater, from which another cone-shaped mirror would reflect it into the surrounding greenhouse.

According pneumocell, the structure could easily be delivered to the Moon. “We checked which of the existing or planned spacecraft could be used to transport equipment and astronauts to the lunar location,” the company explained, revealing that the most suitable vehicle would be SpaceX’s Starship.

But other rockets are not excluded. “Our concept could also be realized using smaller vehicles like the Ariane-6, in combination with Great Logistics’ future European lander. »

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