The ultimate goal of Lunar Homestead is to have physical Homestead “kits” that groups or organizations can purchase. These kits will contain all the hardware, how-to manuals, and designs the Homesteaders will need to make their settlement thrive.
The goal is to have all the plans necessary to build a kit available for free to anyone that wants them. Potential Homesteaders can either build their own gear or buy it pre-made from a manufacturer.
Global Village Construction Set for Lunar Homesteaders – I look at Open Source Ecology’s (OSE) Global Village Construction Set and note which items I think would also be important for Lunar Homesteads.
These kits will be for the initial construction and outfitting of the early Homestead.
- Habitat module – The first Homesteaders will need a place to sleep and take care of themselves while they create the core of the Homestead. The Habitat module doesn’t have to be comfortable or spacious; the goal is to get them underground as fast as possible. All it needs is a place for them to hang their hammocks, go to the bathroom (they could even just use Apollo bags for this), basic life support, communications, and an airlock (with a way to keep the dust out and store the space suits). The airlock will also have a downward-facing hatch that will connect to the vertical tunnel leading to the core. Finally, all the equipment, including the life support, will need to be easy to disassemble and move into the core section of the new habitat because we sure don’t want people to stay on the surface longer than necessary.
- Energy module – A Homestead without electricity is a dead Homestead. This module is going to keep everyone alive, even when they’ve moved underground into the core section. The module will contain a way to generate electricity (solar electric, solar thermal, and/or nuclear), a way to store electricity through the long night, the equipment to regulate it, and the cables to distribute it. The Homestead will probably need several of these as creating energy production and storage equipment from Lunar resources will probably be beyond the capability of an initial Homestead.
- SPORE module – This module will contain all the tools necessary to dig out the regolith and mega-regolith as well as pre-made SPORE habitat hull pieces. I figure Homesteads will need several of these modules before they are capable of creating habitats from local materials.
- ISRU module – Processing Lunar mega-regolith into usable resources is a critical Homestead activity. Iron, oxygen, aluminum, and cast basalt are the foundations of Lunar Homesteads. I haven’t figured it all out yet but this module will contain all the equipment needed to start a very small-scale processing and manufacturing shop. The goal would be to have the capacity to create more equipment to increase the shop’s capacity and then eventually start creating habitat components.
- Supply module – The Pathfinder crew is going to require enough food, water, and supplies to keep them going while they are building out the Homestead. They’ll probably need several of these modules on a regular basis.
Extended Pathfinder Kits
These kits will be used to expand the core Homestead and make it more livable and sustainable. They will also be used to prepare the Homestead for new Pioneers and Settlers.
- Increased energy production and storage – More Energy modules could be landed as needed (if the Homestead can afford them). Homesteads will need to start making their own power equipment pretty quickly however. Expansion will be difficult if the power system doesn’t expand as well. They’ll have to build more solar collectors and ways to store/distribute energy.
- Expanded life support – The capacity of the system needs to be increased to accommodate more Pathfinders (who will help with the expansion). The depth and redundancy of the system also needs to be increased. Multiple ways to keep the Homestead air and water supplies pure are needed.
- Increased ISRU – Creating all the additional habitable space is going to require a lot more processing and fabrication equipment. It doesn’t have to be a huge increase however. I’m not talking about processing thousands of tons of basalt a day. Small-scale and simple designs are the key.
- Garden – I’m not calling it a farm because it won’t be that large or complicated. Initially, the garden will focus on vegetables (and perhaps mushrooms). Maybe some aquaculture. It’s unknown whether processed Lunar basalt can be turned into an acceptable growing media or if we’ll have to research hydroponics.
- Galley – Or kitchen if you prefer. Either way, Homesteaders are going to need a way to cook all the great food they are going to grow. Protein bars and freeze-dried spaghetti are going to get old really quick. The galley will also be used to prepare food for long-term storage and will probably be the social hub of the Homestead.
- Waste processing system – Pooping in a bag might work in the short-term but Homesteaders are going to eventually need real toilets (actual design unknown) and systems to process their waste into a usable feedstock.
- Storage – Unlike all the drawings and illustrations of Lunar bases, Homesteads will store all their supplies underground in habitable modules. Storing stuff on the surface creates a lot of unnecessary problems and putting stuff in a habitable space means you can easily access and maintain it. Homesteads will need to create containers to store water (too many uses to mention), oxygen (for SPORE, breathing, industrial uses, and export), air (for immediate use in an emergency), and food.
- Housing – Pathfinders might be OK with hammocks and communal living but the Homesteaders that will follow them won’t be. They’re going to want some private living space with a real bed and toilet. I doesn’t have to be large but it does have to be theirs.
These kits will be for established Homesteads that wish to expand and add more amenities.
- General expansion – Everything listed above (and most likely a lot more) will have to be expanded on to accommodate more Homesteaders. The gardens and workshops should now have the capacity to produce trade, higher-tech, and luxury products.
- Vehicle garage – Up to this point all the vehicles landing at the Homestead were either single use or designed to return back to Earth orbit on their own, with no maintenance or servicing from the Homesteaders. Now the Homestead can become part of the cis-Lunar transportation system. The landing pad might have to be exposed on the surface (or perhaps not) but the garage should be underground and pressurized. Trying to conduct maintenance or repairs while dealing with radiation, vacuum, thermal extremes, and dust would be very challenging.
- Vehicle fuel depot – Homesteads are going to produce a lot of oxygen, more than they could ever use themselves. It makes sense to store the excess and sell it. Like almost everything else, the fuel depot should be underground in a pressurized environment. It should also be located next to the garage. As a side note, I’m not sold on the necessity of cryogenic fuels. They require high-tech equipment (tanks, refrigeration, pumps, etc.) and are rather dangerous. It will be a lot easier for Homesteads to make pressurized gas tanks than cryogenic tanks.
- Medical clinic – Or a sick bay. Depends on the terminology they want to use. Whatever you call it, it’s going to be a dedicated place to take care of sick and injured people. Beds, monitoring equipment (probably brought from Earth), and probably a small surgical suite. A couple of Homesteaders should have some basic medical training but most of the knowledge and experience can be left on Earth. Tele-medicine is already gaining traction here on Earth and it will be commonplace by the time we have Lunar Homesteads.
- Garage for surface vehicles – At some point Homesteaders will want to explore their local environment
- Swimming pool