Student-Developed Moon Base
Angelus Chrysovalantis Alfatzis, an architectural engineering student at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece has gained attention for his idea for a moon base. He is one of several young researchers based at European Space Agency’s (ESA) astronaut center in Cologne, Germany, investigating Moon-related concepts as Europe prepares for future missions.
Alfatzis describes his architectural approach as “hyperlocal” and is drawn to extreme environments in remote places and believes that sourcing or producing materials on the Moon itself will be vital to building a sustainable lunar habitat – a view that ESA shares. “I always strive to find material and structural solutions in accordance with the resources available on-site,” he explains. “At the moment, my focus is on using unprocessed lunar soil for construction and the architectural applications of this. Our idea is to transport inflatable modules to the base of a small crater on the South Polar Region of the Moon, and then gradually fill the cavity with lunar soil, until the modules are effectively buried. Meters of shielding will protect those inside from radiation. Building inside a crater will also help insulate due to the stable temperature of the Moon’s underground environment and provides cover from the threat of micrometeoroids.”
Like construction on Earth, Angelus says the main purpose of lunar buildings will be to protect inhabitants from external conditions that could otherwise pose harm, and create a habitat that supports human life. But there are special considerations that must be factored into planning. Sunlight, changes in temperature, the type of terrain and the level of gravity all play a role in designing a suitable concept. Due to lack of a protective atmosphere or magnetic field, any lunar base must also protect its inhabitants from radiation and tiny meteorites that rain down overhead.