Moon habitations: Exploring structural design concepts and analysing social proximity in a space analogue

Kato Claeys, Sarah Baatout

    Research output


    Moon habitations are not yet common business. In history there was only one kind of Moon habitation, which was the Apollo Lunar Module, in which astronauts could stay for a maximum of a few days. These pioneering activities date back from more than 50 years ago. Since the Apollo programme no humans have returned to the Moon. However, recently, interest has been growing seriously to go back to the Moon and to build real Moon habitations and set up an actual Moon colony. In this thesis to obtain the degree of Master of Science in Space Studies, Moon habitations are studied on different levels. Space Studies is a multidisciplinary study; this was considered during the process of this thesis. Different aspects are studied, and different approaches were adopted. Due to the short thesis format, only selective aspects of Moon habitats are discussed. The first part of the thesis is an introductory part. Historical research has been done to give a broader view of which Moon related missions already took place in the past and how far the current knowledge about the Moon reaches. With highlights as the lunar space race in which Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin could walk on the Moon for the very first time in history on July 20, 1969. This part is followed by a summary of all the different environmental conditions that can be encountered on the moon. This includes radiation, microgravity, lunar regolith and Moon dust, the lunar atmosphere, the surface temperatures, moonquakes and meteorite impacts. This introductory part leads to the Moon habitations themselves. This thesis touches different topics on a more theoretical level and in a more practical way. It studies Moon habitation aspects from the outer part to the inner part. It starts with the outer protective part through literature research. The outer layer of a Moon habitat is necessary to protect the habitat from radiation, the temperature fluctuations, and the meteorite impacts. This first part is mainly focused on the radiation protection of a habitat which will be most likely built in lunar regolith because of the good properties and the extended presence on the Moon. The next part goes through the types of structures of Moon habitations. These are described partly in a theoretical way partly with a cross-link approach. The inner structure should be able to provide a breathable atmosphere for the astronauts and should protect them from lunar regolith and lunar dust. The way of living is different because the spaces are smaller and the way of moving around is different because of the lower gravity. Different structures can meet these requirements and diverse studies have been accomplished during the last decades. The possible structure types focused on in this thesis are rigid structures, inflatable structures, deployable structures, and in-situ structures. Finally, there is the habitation environment. This part is analysed in a practical way with the analogue astronaut mission: EMMPOL X as a main source of information. Questionnaires were filled in by the crew members to have a better idea of how they perceived the habitat. One particular experiment was executed which is called the proximity experiment. This studies how people can keep a certain distance from each other during their stay in the habitat. The focus was on what activities the crewmembers were doing and what rooms they were in during the experiment.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationMaster of Science
    Awarding Institution
    • Universiteit Gent
    • Baatout, Sarah, Supervisor
    • De Laet, L., Supervisor, External person
    • Baatout, Sarah, SCK CEN Mentor
    Date of Award1 Jul 2022
    StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022

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