Will NASA succeed in creating permanent future housing on the moon?

Will NASA succeed in creating permanent future housing on the moon?
Will NASA succeed in creating permanent future housing on the moon?

“It’s like the World Cup in engineering,” says Neil Davis, who works for the American company “Dinetics”, which revealed a prototype of its lunar vehicle during a space symposium held last month in Colorado Springs.

However, it may be necessary to wait for the “Artemis 7” mission and the tasks that follow it to establish “permanent housing on the surface” of the moon, according to what NASA Associate Administrator Jim Frey said during the symposium. However, these tasks will not be accomplished before the thirties of the current century.

He pointed out that the base will initially consist of several sites, with the aim of diversifying scientific exploration sites and making landing operations on the moon easier.

connection and energy

Despite this seemingly distant goal, companies are racing to manufacture the necessary tools for missions to the moon.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Joe Landon, head of the “Crescent Space” company recently established by the “Lockheed Martin” group that specializes in industries related to lunar missions, says that “the first stage is communications,” adding, “If the person thought about moving to an apartment The first thing he will do is connect his phone and the Internet.”

And with a group that includes two satellites (to start with), the company wants to become the one that provides the satellite with the Internet and the Global Positioning System “GPS”, and thus relieves the NASA network, which is threatened by its high temperature due to the various upcoming space missions, including those of its own.

Landon indicates that the value of the lunar-related industries market will be about a hundred billion dollars over the next ten years. The second topic that companies seek to develop is energy.

Astrobotic (220 employees) is one of three companies selected by NASA to develop vertical solar panels.

In the south pole of the moon, which is the intended destination because of the presence of ice water in it, the sun only rises in a limited way only above the horizon, and its rays are therefore horizontal.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Mike Provenzano, who is in charge of lunar equipment, says the Astrobotic panels, about 18 meters high, will be connected by cables several kilometers long.

These panels can be removed and replaced if necessary.


With regard to the scientific missions of the astronauts, NASA asked the actors in the field to devise an open vehicle that can accommodate two people, to be ready in the year 2028.


Unlike the mobile robots used on the Apollo missions, the new vehicle must be self-driving on missions that do not involve astronauts, which means that it must remain operational during the lunar nights, which may last for two weeks, with temperatures that may reach about 170 degrees Celsius below zero. .


Several companies have started working on this vehicle. Lockheed Martin is benefiting from General Motors’ experience in electric cars and off-road vehicles.

And Dyntex, a subsidiary of the giant Lidos group, has entered into a partnership with NASCAR, which organizes motor racing in the United States.

Engineer Neil Davis told AFP that the prototype, which has a top speed of 15 kilometers per hour, will include a robotic arm and braided metal tires, adding, “It was designed to have good grip, especially on rocks, but it also has many openings on the sides so that dust does not accumulate in it.”

Lunar dust poses a major challenge because it is not corroded by water or wind, and is almost as abrasive as glass.

NASA has not yet announced the names of the companies it has chosen, but it is working in the long term with the Japanese space agency on a pressurized vehicle in which it will not be necessary to wear a space suit.


Finally, the astronauts will need a home.

NASA has signed a $57.2 million contract with Aiken, a Texas-based 3D printing company, to develop the technology needed to build roads, landing strips and homes on the Moon. Lunar soil is supposed to be used as material.

Other companies, such as Lockheed Martin, are developing inflatable housing.

“It can be sent in a small package,” the company’s vice president responsible for all lunar exploration, Kirk Sherriman, told AFP, which is important because the rocket’s capacity is limited. Once inflated, “it’s a great size to live and work in.”

This inflatable house contains bedrooms, a kitchen and scientific instruments, all of which are movable.

The idea behind the Artemis program is to prepare for very distant missions, and to convert the lunar base into a Martian base.

Sherman confirms this idea, saying, “Whatever money we have to spend to develop these systems on the moon, we want them to be viable for missions to Mars.