Minimum Functionality Lunar Habitat Element Design: Definition of an Initial Human Establishment on the Moon

TitleMinimum Functionality Lunar Habitat Element Design: Definition of an Initial Human Establishment on the Moon
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsDi Capua M, Mirvis A, Medina O, Akin DL
Conference Name39th International Conference on Environmental Systems
Date Published07/2009
PublisherICES
Conference LocationSavannah, GA
Abstract

The sum total of experience in human planetary exploration was gained during the Apollo program, now more than forty years ago. With recent interest in renewing human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, there has been a new wave of interest in technologies, strategies, and techniques for exploring the solar system while taking advantage of four decades of technology advancement. Large-scale field tests such as the annual NASA Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) tests have fired the imaginations of people throughout the aerospace community, but have been largely a NASA in-house operation. During the years of the Constellation lunar program, the demands of developing large launch vehicles and new human spacecraft consumed much of the rest of NASA’s “discretionary” funding, including the elimination of almost all support for advanced technology programs in academia. Many space-oriented research groups at universities closed during this time due to the dearth of funding opportunities. In this environment, not only continuing but expanding research activities focused on planetary surface exploration required a lot of innovation in leveraging small amounts of money to best advantage. This paper reports on activities in planetary surface exploration over the last three years, with emphasis on both technological advancements and innovative funding strategies.