The Inspiration Behind

[Illustrated re-edition 2002, Lunar Reclamation Society]
[Complementary material last modified 06|28|2011]

Forward to the Online Edition of MMM #1, December, 1986

There follows the introductory and only essay article in the first issue of Moon Miners Manifesto, December 1986, shortly after the founding in Milwaukee of what was then the Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society L5, a chapter of the L5 Society advocating settlements in space after the inspiration of Gerard K. O'Neill.

This piece is about the historical roots of the inspiration behind MMM. Herein lies the personal "eureka" that gave birth to the brainstorming chain of thought that continues throughout many articles in MMM through the present. It explains the third "M", "the Manifesto". For while many readers refer to MMM simply as "Moon Miners", to Peter Kokh, the emphasis has always been on the third M. To him, this newsletter is "The Manifesto".

"M" IS FOR "MOLE"

by Peter Kokh  kokhmmm@aol.com
"M" is for "mole", which is what many people, even some prominent space advocates, think settlers of the Moon are going to be. Yes, lunar habitats and facilities will be covered by some 2-4 meters (6-13 feet) of lunar soil or "regolith." But, while such a shielding overburden is necessary for long- term protection from cosmic rays, solar flare outbursts, and the sun's ultraviolet rays, this does not mean that we "moon miners" can't take the glory and warmth of sunshine down below with us!

A year ago last Spring [May, 1985], following up on an ad in The Milwaukee Journal's Sunday Home Section, I went to see a marvelous place called "Terra Luxe" [Earth Light] in the Holy Hill area about twenty miles northwest of Milwaukee. Here, architect-builder Gerald Keller (German for "cellar") had built a most unusual earth-sheltered or underground home.

Run-of-the-mill underground homes are covered by earth above and to the west, the north, and the east, while being open and exposed to the sun along the south through a long window wall. But Mr. Keller's large home (some 8,000 square feet) was totally underground except for the north-facing garage door. Yet the house was absolutely awash in sunlight, more so than any conventional above-ground house I had ever seen. Sunlight poured in through yard wide circular shafts spaced periodically through main room ceilings. These shafts were tiled with one inch wide mirror strips. Above on the surface, an angled cowl**, also mirrored on the inside, followed the sun across the sky from sunup to sundown at the bidding of a computer program named "George" (undoubtedly of "let-George-do-it" fame).

And, even more amazingly, through an ingenious application of the periscope principle on the scale of picture windows, in every direction you could look straight ahead out onto the surrounding countryside, even though you were eight feet underground. I felt far less "shut in" than I do in my own Milwaukee bungalow.

Terra Luxe was built as an idea house and my tour cost $4. This home would make an ideal group field trip tour, but unfortunately, some visitor found it too irresistible, and it is now privately owned.

Of course, Mr. Keller's ingenious ideas to bring down below both sunshine and view, would have to be adapted to lunar building conditions. But I have no doubt that they could be. Mr. Keller told me that he had drawn up plans and blueprints for a whole city using his principles. Someday, I'd like to see them. If the streets and byways of his city were similarly built** in a sun-drenched pressurized underground conduit, so one could leave one's lunar home and go anywhere throughout the settlement without putting on a spacesuit, why, it'd be better than living in the Milwaukee I love! - Peter Kokh, November, 1986.


Photo taken on the morning of October 15, 2002, more than 17 years later. Visible are the exterior panes of a trio of periscopic picture windows, and several modified skylights. The originals had mirrored cowls which followed the sun across the sky, resetting their position each night. More than eight feet of soil covers the home.

* There may have been subsequent problems either with the "helostat" seals, the mechanical apparatus, or the computer controls, as these sun-following mirrored hoods have long since been replaced by fixed bubble dome covers.

View from above

Current (2011) Overhead Satellite View: Note the protrusions for the surface portios of the periscopic picture windows and skylights.

** see the table top model we produced in 1998

"At Home on the Moon" - This was just the beginning ...

The "eureka" moment related above, that we could bury ourselves under a protective blanket of moondust and still enjoy the sunshine and the moonscapes, has led to a conviction that humans can learn to make themselves "at home" on the Moon, just as they have done in every new frontier through the past hundred thousand years or more. This theme runs through countless articles in MMM and is summarized in MMM's # 150, 152, and 201. We will gather all this material in an upcoming Classic Theme issue.


Imagineering in the spirit of Terra Luxe

 A cut-away Table Top "Moon Manor" Lunar Homestead display, inspired by Terra Luxe, was designed and built for the ISDC 1998 exhibit hall (with further elaboration inspired by Dr. B.C. Wolverton)

Modular Lunar Homestead Exhibit
Photo taken at ISDC 2010 in Chicago by Ben Huset, MN SFS  - click for larger image
 Diagram of the Exhibit


 
The Original Ad in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal, May, 1985
Text plus my rendering of the Graphics

DEFIES feeling "underground"...!

BRIGHT DAYLIGHT - TRUE OUTDOOR VIEWS!

  • 11 periscope-like mirrored-windows.
  • 13 unique sun-tracking skylights.
  • Climate controlled interior.

STROLL THRU this 8,000 sq. ft. "SHOWPLACE"

DESIGNED IN SWEEPING CURVES, four levels of spacious interior harmony ebb & flow. Indoor rock gardens. Waterfalls. Exotic dining, more! HOME OF THE FUTURE. Come, see!

ENERGY-SAVING features & low maintenance free funds to make dreams reality, improve lifestyle. TORNADO-proof! SUBTERRANEANS also offer fire & theft protection! Why build "UP?" Communities moving down now. YOU'LL BELIEVE IT WHEN YOU SEE THIS ONE!!

Landscaping in progress.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC DAILY 12-5, SUNDAYS 11-5. Tours $4 - for research and development. Children 12 & under ... free. Group rates.

Large groups call in advance.

Model 414-628-3315 - MILW. 438-0321

Hubertus, WISCONSIN - 15 mi. NW of Milwaukee

BRILLIANT CONCEPT BY GERALD KELLER

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