Lunar In Situ Resource Utilization - Gat's Gulch Planning Exercise

Posted by $ jbrenner 1 month ago to Technology
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Imagine that, to get away from the tyranny of Earth's looters and moochers, the most viable option becomes the moon. As if you were developing Galt's Gulch from scratch, please contribute to a thought exercise in how you would contribute to such a colony.

This isn't just a thought exercise. A company near me has subcontracted me to do plan the logistics of mining, refining, and then 3D printing of lunar regolith. There has been a lot published on this subject.

http://my.fit.edu/~jbrenner/firehawk/...
name = fltech password = brenner

The open literature on the subject is in a 1/2 Gb file:
http://my.fit.edu/~jbrenner/firehawk/...
name = fltech password = brenner


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  • Posted by libertylad 1 month ago
    Do you have data to analyze on the mineral content of the easily accessible lunar surface? Has analysis been done on how those components can be used to build a complete independent colony without any support from earth? How soon could any expedition be assembled?
    How much capital would be needed to fund such an effort?


    If lunar surface capable robots were sent today to build habitats for humans, how many years would we have to prepare for departure?
    Sending humans today or in the early years of development (other than a relatively few technicians) would not be rational, imo, unless the humans are political refugees who have no other place to go and are willing to die because accidents will occur. Humans have almost no experience with "normal" activities in low gravity. What are the dangers from "normal" radiation and solar activity without the protection that our planet provides?

    As much as I'd like to leave oppression behind, I'd be of more use in support of the effort and I'd certainly be interested in doing so even if it may be many years before I could travel to the Gulch.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month ago
      The mineral content is well established, and the guy who is having me subcontract for him wants to do the equivalent of Dagny's train tracks (but with flying droids) for the moon, followed by 3D printing of a ceramic into a habitat. There is much that has been done that is in the published literature. I just finished downloading all of the articles an hour ago. See the end of the revised discussion thread.
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  • Posted by $ johnrobert2 1 month ago
    To begin, I would refer everyone to a short story I read many (too many!) years ago titled 'The Far Look'. Some interesting concepts on extended occupation of the lunar surface in it. Then look to Heinlein's 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' for some more thoughts.
    Now. to the crux. The regolith presents the most abundant supply of material with which to build. Myself, not knowing the the exact composition of the regolith but supposing it to be similar to volcanic ash, a fluid binder which quickly sets would be the basis of all surface construction. As a point of information, the ancient Romans used volcanic ash as a component of the concrete mixtures of many buildings and constructions which is still intact today. Tuff stuff.
    The construction of living and support structures would probably be the next priority. These would include sleeping spaces, maintenance/repair workshops, hydroponic areas for food production and oxygen generation, solar power generation to recharge batteries and maintain living and support structures. The use of potassium tetraoxide (I am no chemist by any stretch of the imagination) in 'The Far Look' as a source of generated oxygen could act as a stop gap until the hydroponic system generates enough to fulfill needs and to provide an emergency source, if needed.
    As in 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', the majority of activity would be beneath the surface. Tunnel mining, using the spoil suspended in a binder to brace tunnel walls, would form the greater living and support spaces for the inhabitants. Certain tunnels would be dedicated to food and oxygen production, When sufficient space has been opened to allow forage type growth, food animal embryos can be reanimated and placed in those areas. Animal waste should be gathered to be used as fertilizer for personal garden spaces for those who choose to do so.
    How could I contribute? Did anyone ever watch a Mike Rowe series called 'Dirty Jobs'? Yep, that's me. No scientist or geek, I can readily do most jobs which employ a pair of willing hands and a modicum of experiential learning. I have a B.A. in History/English (yes, your typical Liberal Arts stuff) and a Master's Degree in Public Administration and am a retired military officer so those probably won't count for much there.
    Unless you need a word Nazi for your documents.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month ago
      Anorthite is CaAl2Si2O8 and will likely be the material of choice for 3D printing on the moon, although its magnesium (substituting for Ca) analog is alos being considered. There are no hydrocarbons to serve as binders. The plan is to use water as a binding agent.

      Those same minerals will also be used as the oxygen source. You were pretty close.
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  • Posted by $ johnrobert2 1 month ago
    Just on a cursory read of the RLSO2 paper, the program calls for intermittent occupation with long periods of vacancy. If I understood the premise of your solicitation correctly, the permanent occupation could not be accomplished in a reasonable time using these constraints. A more robust effort utilizing permanent occupation by humans to oversee, and reorient (if necessary), efforts to expand base structures, on an ad hoc basis, as requirements/conditions change. According to the strictures laid out, this does not present a viable milieu in which to establish a sizeable GG in an acceptable time frame.
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