THE LUNAR "HOSTEL"
An Alternate Concept for First Beachhead and Secondary Outposts
Peter Kokh, Douglas Armstrong, Mark R. Kaehny, and Joseph Suszynski
1991 The Lunar Reclamation Society, Inc.
Continuation

(6) Recirculating Water Systems along with waste water treatment equipment are unlikely aboard visiting commuter-class vehicles, put plausible in traveler-class ones for which the hostel concept is properly tailored. If the prospects for the particular hostel to be transformed into a permanently staffed autonomous base are positive, such systems will be an early addition to the hostel's offerings. But at the outset, almost by definition, the vehicle will be wet, the hostel dry. This implies the following:

(a) Toilet and personal hygiene facilities will be offered in any non-commuter type craft, in which case installing additional plumbing and waste treatment facilities in the hostel space from the outset would seem to defeat the purpose. But carry-in-and-leave convenience plumbingless toilets that shunt their wastes to external shaded holding tanks where they will freeze, are to be recommended for placement within the hostel space if they can be designed so as not to need special venting. For the alternative of keeping the wastes sealed within tanks aboard the visiting vehicle, presumably for disposal in space or for return to Earth, would not only add to takeoff weight unnecessarily, but would constitute almost criminal waste of what, on the Moon, will constitute an invaluable and exotic volatile-rich resource to be husbanded with care. Even before the onset of lunar agriculture, which could compost such wastes and recycle them so as to enrich the regolith-derived soil, it will cost nothing but storage containers to bank these wastes, inertly frozen, until that day does come. Even if a particular hostel site is not destined to become a full-fledged base or settlement, its stored freeze-stabilized wastes could be collected at any convenient later date and transported to wherever they can be used.

(b) Food preparation and dining would seem to another task apportionable area: the food preparation, scrap handling and dish washing capability of the vehicle's galley need not be expensively duplicated; relaxed casual dining complete with 'atmosphere', can be cheaply arranged within the hostel's more spacious setting. The vehicle may have a locker for the fresh food supplies it has brought along for the mission. But a pantry for long shelf-life contingency rations would logically be placed within the hostel along with a snack bar.

(c) Laundry tasks may also be apportioned. Given the water treatment and recycling facilities on the vehicle, if crew stays were long enough to make laundering desirable or necessary, and if space could be found in the vehicle, that would seem to be the logical choice for washing. Clothes drying could easily be done anywhere within the hostel, which might even have space enough for hanging items 'out' to dry, if such an option did not burden humidity control. If the planned hostel stay is sufficiently short to make laundering unnecessary, each crew could simply bring in their own fresh clothes and bedding, taking the soiled items with them when they left. - in keeping with a recommended leave-as-you-found-it, bring-with/take-with honor code protocol. But alternately, soiled fabrics could be allowed to accumulate in shielded but sterile vacuum outside so that their exotic and precious imported carbon content would remain on the Moon as an endowment, to be reused or recycled in some existing or future settlement. Replacing carbon-rich fabrics from Earth with new goods will be marginally less expensive than bringing soiled items all the way back, then returning them to the Moon cleaned.

 

(7) Medical Facilities: Medical care presents another gray area. Cabinets of medical supplies and common procedural implements, especially those needed to handle accidental injuries and trauma cases as well as the more common fast-developing transitory ailments, are likely to be standard features of any visiting craft. The hostel, in turn, offers roomy bedspace for patients. This allows any much less generous berthspace aboard the coupled vehicle to be pressed into service where isolation or quarantine is advised, even as sealable morgue space if need be. But expensive, diagnostic equipment, compact or not, with the instruments and medical supplies needed to handle the full range of more plausible eventualities is something that may not be provided at all at first. Such a level of medical capability might be added later, however, and preferably within the hostel itself as the frequency and duration of visits increases. If any of the personnel must be returned to Earth for medical reasons via the coupled vehicle, everyone else must leave as well; for in the coupled vehicle/hostel scenario the hostel, by definition, is not configured to function separately. It will be a principal priority in the evolution of the particular hostel, to minimize the likelihood of such premature abandonment.

 

(8) Workstations and Laboratories: Provision for geological and mineralogical analyses is a primary design criterion. And the need facilities to support lunar materials processing feasibility studies will be of increasing importance as the human return to the Moon becomes more earnest. The first relevant consideration is whether the proposed workstation is wet or dry. The second is whether the supported research can be done in a compact space or needs extensive floor and wall space. The logical division would call for placing compact testing and analysis work stations, wet or dry. aboard the visiting craft. This would allow convenient changeout and updating of equipment on return visits to Earth or Earth orbit. "Dry" research needing extra space can be served within the hostel structure proper. "Wet" research or experimentation needing extra space should be examined to see if the wet and dry tasks can be separated by location without too much convenience. If so, the dry part of the operation would have a claim to hostel space conveniently near the docking passageway. The hostel, in turn, would offer inexpensive and liberal sample storage lockers, and sorting and display areas.

But in deciding where to house various workstations, we must also take a more comprehensive look at the mission context of such hostel-stays. If there is more than just one hostel site for a single vehicle to visit, it will indeed require less expensive duplication to provide such space aboard the vehicle, so long as the equipment involved is not particularly massive. If, on the other hand, we are dealing with a single hostel visited by a small fleet of similar vehicles, it would require the least duplication to put such workstations within the hostel structure proper. Again, if each vehicle is specially equipped to support a particular research agenda that changes with each stay (as has been the pattern with Space Shuttle missions to date), the pendulum swings in the other direction. The question cannot be fully resolved outside of the mission context and the hostel's continuing evolution through use.

If in general, most workstations are in fact built into the visiting vehicle, reserving the hostel principally for off-duty functions, such a segregation of activities would lend itself especially well to shift-scheduling, with on-duty personnel clustered in the vehicle, and off-duty personnel within the hostel in general, most workstations are in fact built into the visiting vehicle, reserving the hostel principally for off-duty functions, such a segregation of activities would lend itself especially well to shift-scheduling, with on-duty personnel clustered in the vehicle, and off-duty personnel within the hostel. A two shift setup with shared social time might prove the most workable and best for group morale. Whether such a separation of activities by area is practical or not, we suggest that the passageway space, short or long, connecting the two areas of the outpost combo, be designed with sound-buffering in mind. However all such considerations are secondary in deciding where each workstation should be.

 

(9) Exercise Areas and Equipment: These are best placed following the nature of the activity in question. While some daily ritual types of exercise need little room and could be performed in a compact exercise area within the vehicle such as the wardroom area, other exercise routines are space-hungry, and to provide for these, any portable equipment needed could be brought into the hostel and left there. The hostel's interior spaces and overall architecture might conceivably be designed and arranged to incorporate a banked peripheral jogging track, or even a "sixthweight" caricature of a bowling lane. A billiards or ping-pong table, even a handball court are imaginable, given enough cheap dumb volume.

 

(10) Entertainment and Recreation. The visiting craft will doubtless possess its own entertainment console and a modest audiovisual library. Small personal audiovisual consoles would be an inexpensive and welcome feature for the private quarters within the hostel. With ample space, separated communal viewing and listening/reading areas could be provided. Additions to the hostel's audiovisual library, extensive reading materials on CD-ROM, even a modest collection of low-weight art pieces, could be carried in and contributed by each visiting crew, gradually enriching the cumulative samples of Earth culture available on the Moon.

 

(11) Exterior Visual and Interior Solar Access: Visual access to the surrounding moonscape would also foster psychological well being. The portholes in the coupled vehicle serving navigation (and driving) needs are likely to provide only restricted views. Such windows are likely at both ends of a frog-type craft. Additional side-wall portholes may or may not be offered. If feasible, then, the hostel structure ought to provide visual additional and more possibly more panoramic visual access as well. A technique already demonstrated on a low-tech basis in one Earth-sheltered home in the Kettle Moraine region of southeastern Wisconsin, in which pairs of angled mirrors bring in stunning picture-window views of the surrounding countryside through zig-zag shafts (which duplicated on the Moon would conveniently thwart would-be pathways of cosmic rays), suggests a design approach for hostel architects desiring to visually integrate the hostel's interior with the surroundings. Pulling off the same trick while preserving pressurization against the hard lunar vacuum will require a bit of architectural ingenuity, but seems doable. Such a feature might be more easily built into those lunar hostels constructed on site of local materials.

 

This would also seem to be the case for solar access, channeling in pools of soul-warming sunshine via a sun-tracking heliostat using either a zigzag mirrored shaft or a 'solid' fiber optic bundle to preserve shielding integrity. The shutterable sunshine thus brought in can be used to highlight focal points or for general lighting during the dayspan. Both of these features may or may not be harder to provide in lunar hostels partly or wholly prefabricated on Earth for transport to the Moon. But we are reminded of the old maxim that where there's a will, there's a way. To the point, both options are relatively low-tech and space-eating features that can be more satisfactorily provided through the hostel's expansive structure than through the nook-crammed hullspace of the paired vehicle.

 

III. EVOLUTION OF THE HOSTEL WITH USE

 

(1) A First Beachhead: If current more ambitious Moon Base plans have to be abandoned and our first beachhead on the Moon is based instead on this hostel/coupled vehicle concept, and if continuing site reappraisal confirms the decision to establish a permanently occupied full-functioned base on the site, two directions suggest themselves.

(a) Provided that the architecture and design of the original hostel have been chosen to be expansion- and retro-fit-friendly, with each new visit the hostel could be slowly evolved into the stand-alone full-function base desired. Crews would add floor space via plug-in expansion modules or, preferably, by additions constructed of on-site materials as soon as such a capability comes on-line. Then would come installation of independent air management apparatus, plumbing and water recycling equipment, sundry work stations, laboratories and shops etc. More adequate medical facilities to treat a wider range of needs would be an early priority. The actual order of improvement would depend on logical dependencies, calculated to prioritize redundancy and safety and to allow an acceptably timely shift to permanent staffing.

(b) But if the hostel's chosen architecture and design does not readily allow such expansion and evolution, instead of the hostel being wastefully dismantled or simply abandoned, it could be preserved as an annex of a totally new base built adjacent to it, serving to house guest visitors for whom the new base complex may have no spare room. That is, the hostel could become an attached hotel, the Moon's first. We suggest that in the case of a first beachhead, this is the preferred path.

 

(2) A Farside Astronomy Station: Our recommendation is different for a hostel designed to serve remote infrequently tended installations such as a Farside Advanced Radio Astronomy Facility (FARAF). Such an installation may well follow, rather than precede the establishment of an original permanently staffed nearside Moon Base, so that the latter could be an advance logistical support node for the farside operation. Following this scenario, the hostel should be designed from the outset with planned expansion and evolution towards permanent autonomous staffing in mind, and an appropriate architecture chosen accordingly. Indeed, it was to show that there IS a happy middle ground between the vehicle-tended farside minimalist installation envisioned by NASA and the permanently staffed major installation the astronomers would like, that we set about to develop the hostel concept in the first place. The Farside hostel should offer more than basic off-hours shielding against the cosmic elements for technicians changing out equipment, repairing, and updating the facility. An expandable astronomical workshop should be an early extra if not part of the original structure, along with a garage and lunar pick-up or tractor. Such assets would make the visits of the tending staff far more productive, especially if limited to once or twice a year, the low level of activity NASA feels confident the agency can support (this in lieu of a nearside base!). For as long as visits remain so infrequent, a stand-alone full-function base would be an exorbitant luxury. In contrast, a simple Big Dumb Volume hostel could justify itself with the first visit . And once such a hostel were in place with the appropriate special extras mentioned, the next crew to visit need bring only new and replacement parts for the astronomical installation, and be able to bring more of them, as they wouldn't have to keep hauling workspace and berthspace to and fro with them. Thus the original up front investment in a FARAF hostel, by allowing visiting vehicles to maximize their capacity to carry equipment for expansion of the installation, would promote more rapid growth and development of the FARAF facility within the same subsequent budget.

 

(3) Remote Prospecting Camps: Hostels serving prospectors may or may not develop into anything more. If the prospecting activity does not reveal enough promise and economic justification for further visits to the site, the hostel could be abandoned (to serve as available solar storm shelter or rest stop for anyone happening by) with little waste of investment. Meanwhile much more extensive prospecting will have been made possible than from a solitary unshielded vehicle with the same size crew. Hostels at remote research and prospecting sites, like the one proposed as a first beachhead, will need to offer a fair amount of unpressurized but shielded work and storage area, to minimize radiation and micrometeorite exposure during routine porch step 'out-vac' activities. So housed repair and maintenance facilities for surface-ranging equipment would be a logical early addition.

 

(4) Wayside Hostels: A hostel serving as an 'overnight' rest stop and flare shelter along regular trafficways could be built and shielded in one of the ways suggested below for beachhead or research station hostels. But alternatively, such a hostel might simply consist of one or more linked towable mobile modules (perhaps settlement-rendered retrofits of surplus cargo holds or fuel tanks and other scavenged items) parked under the overarching shield of a previously constructed roadside solar flare shelter. With the lack of right-of-way and clearance constraints on lunar roadways, such mobile units could be built much larger than their terrestrial forerunners. In either case, the roadside hostel may continue to function as originally set up, or, over time, grow to become the nucleus of a whole new settlement, depending on the economic rationale offered by the particular location and the resources of those proposing to exploit any such perceived advantages. In that case, as with the original beachhead hostel, it could either itself be evolved and expanded, or kept as a 'motel' annex for the new settlement. A sheltering open-vacuum ramada for roadside vehicle and equipment repair would be a logical first improvement if not already provided, along with a standard-equipment tool and parts crib for user-performed work. A fuel cell changeout and water re-electrolysis station, a battery recharging facility, stocks of emergency provisions and first aid supplies, and standby emergency communications equipment, could follow. In other words, the expansion, as warranted by traffic and location, would first proceed along the lines of additional user-tended facilities. Only later would regularly scheduled types of full-service be offered by dedicated staff: the truck-stop restaurant (slowly switching to supplementary on-site food production), the bed and breakfast motel, the on-duty expert mechanic, the souvenir-maker, and the inevitable practitioner of the 'first profession'.

 

In all cases, docking apparatus should be pre-standardized. If we are indeed going to develop the Moon as an integrated part of a greater Earth-Moon or circum-solar economy, the solitary first beachhead must give way to a multi-site world, and hostels will be at the forefront of that global expansion and acculturation. Any visiting vehicle, frog, toad, or coach, should be able to couple with any hostel. Code of honor protocols governing visitor behavior should also be standard, expanding on the suggestion above. As to architecture, building materials, layout, size, method of deployment or construction -- these could vary widely depending upon available technology, resources, logistics, prognosis for the future of the site, and innovating entrepreneurial competition.

 

IV. POSSIBLE ARCHITECTURES APPROPRIATE FOR HOSTELS

 

The operative philosophy in making architectural and design choices for lunar hostels, is getting the most usable square footage per buck. Our intent is not to give an exhaustive treatment of the many possibilities by which prefabricated or built-on-site hostel shelter space can be provided. But we point out appropriate considerations that should affect the final choice in each particular case. We have attempted to illustrate some previously unexplored avenues.

 

Hostels Pre-built or Prefabricated on Earth

 

(1) Hard-Hulled Modules: Lunar hostels established prior to the startup of settlement industry, would be unlikely to employ lunar materials except as shielding mass. That is, it will be necessary to pre-build them on Earth. But neither ready-to-use payload bay sized space station type modules, nor structureless inflatables seem ideal for the purpose. The former quite simply offer inadequate space and if brought up to the Moon empty, will squander payload bay capacity. Multiple modules, stuffed with provisions and serving as temporary cargo holds, to be unloaded on the Moon and then interconnected, are a more reasonable possibility. But their deployment would call for an welcome load of high-risk crew EVA hours. It seems the wiser course to reserve human activities on the Moon for tasks that can be performed under shelter. The modular approach does, however, allow the hostel complex to grow with each new visit.

 

(2) "Telescoping" hard-hull designs are another story. Pre-built hostels of this type could be built to extend either unidirectionally or bidirectionally, with the smallest diameter section(s) being loaded with built-in features and the wider diameter telescoping sections offering simple unstructured spare volume. The inside walls of these sleeves could be furnished with electrical service runs, flush lighting, recessed attachment points, etc. Deployment would be accomplished via simple pressurization which would securely force together properly designed o-ring-fitted inner and outer flanges providing a seal with more than sufficient mechanical strength to maintain integrity under any conceivable internal traffic conditions.

Figure 3A: Telescopic Module: The thickness of the sleeve walls, and the amount by which one is smaller than the other, is exaggerated to show detail.

Figure 3B: Bi-telescopic Module: [4] connector tube. [5] docked frog, perhaps under a shielded canopy.

 

 Alignment would be preserved by the simple expedient of a key/keyway feature with keys on the outer flanges and keyways on the outer surface of the inner sleeves. Outrigger skid-dollies attached to the smaller end(s) and the outer flanges of the widest diameter middle sleeve, riding freely on a pre-leveled compacted gradeway, would midwive the deployment. Airlocks or docking ports could be placed at either end, but only the widest diameter sleeve could have a side-mounted protrusion. A pair of bidirectionally expanding units could turn this constraint to advantage to conjoin "H" style. In fact, any number of such units could polymerize in like fashion. For this reason, we have dubbed the basic unit the "monomer". The beauty of this bi-telescopic design is that it allows a single payload bay to deliver perhaps two and a half times its own usable interior volume. The apparent drawback of the strongly linear floor plan (and required special attention to site preparation) becomes a potential plus through H-H hookup possibilities. We think this telescopic approach to hard-hull modularity is much more promising than any of the more conventional segmented approaches. Indeed, such a configuration might also prove to be the eventual architecture of choice for full-function lunar bases and non-gravid orbital stations as well. Single units would be especially trailerable and might thus be ideal for manufacturing in the lunar settlement for trucking to roadside locations around the Moon, where they could be deployed under previously built emergency flare sheds.

 

(3) Simple Inflatables come in spheres and cylinders, shapes with unstable footprints and awkward to work with if not pre-decked. In free space, the inflatable cylinder can be subdivided in radial cross sections, its caps serving as top and bottom. But on the Moon, one can only lay such an shape on its side, especially given the need for shielding. Then, as with the inflatable sphere, the inconveniently curved inside bottom surface has to be somehow decked over. Nor do pure inflatables lend themselves easily to even modest built in features and furnishings. An alternative we do not recall seeing treated, is the inflatable torus which would seem to offer the maximum stable footprint per usable volume.

 

(4) "Hybrid" Inflatables were examined next. These are structures employing both hard, feature-loaded elements and soft inflatable sections.

(a) First we sketched a flat footprint "sandwich" model with a prefab floor section with pop-up built-ins and utilities, paired with a prefab ceiling section with built-in lighting and pull-down features, the two slab units connected by a peripheral inflatable wall. (The curvature of the walls, providing maximum volume for combined flexible and rigid surface areas, would follow the lines of a projected cylinder of the same diameter.) Collapsed for transport to the Moon, such a hybrid could offer clear flat floor space a full fifteen feet wide if designed to fit the Space Shuttle payload bay or up to 27 feet wide if designed to fit an in-line (top-mounted) shuttle derivative cargo faring. Such hybrids could be deployed with significantly less crew EVA hours, or even be tele-deployed. To the improvement in habitable volume as compared to the rigid module traveling in the same hold, the folded "sandwich" would make room for plenty of additional cargo, both by taking up less space and by weighing less.

 

Figure 4: The Sandwich:

[1] Floor module with pop-up built-ins.

[2]Ceiling module with pull-down units.

[3] Inflatable sidewalls and end walls.

 

(b) While the great advantage of the sandwich design is that it offers a stable flat footprint and a ready to use flat floor, it offers little more than half again as much space as a rigid module designed to travel in the same cargo hold. Another configuration, which we've dubbed the "slinky", features rigid feature-packed cylindrical end caps connected by a cylindrical inflatable mid-section. Here instead of multiple circular ribs and worm-like segmented lobes, we strongly suggest employing a continuous helical rib spiral as this design choice offers an elegant opportunity to build-in a continuous electrical service run along with other utility lines and lighting strips within this skeletal monorib.

 

 

Figure 5: The Slinky:

[1] Pair of rigid end caps, outfitted with build-in features and equipment.

[2] expandable slinky module (unfurnished).

[3] docking tunnel.

 

c) Next we came up with a novel wide-floored lunar "quonset" idea. It has a stable footprint and favorable width to height ratio. While all built-in features would have to be floor-housed pull-ups, this design offers about two and a half times as much floor space as the "sandwich" for the same payload bay space. The inflation-reinforcement of a triple slab hinged floor is a design innovation that offers opportunities for crawlspace storage, utility space, and ventilation that beg to be pursued. A telescoping vestibular passageway for vehicle coupling could be built into one or both inflatable end-walls as illustrated.

 

Figure 6. QUONSET:

[1]Hinged 3-section floor deck.
[2] uninflated quonset roof/wall
[3] uninflated floor support pontoons
[4] inflated quonset roof/wall
[5] Inflated floor support pontoons
[6] In transit position of docking module
[7] Docking tunnel in end wall
[8] Downward air pressure on hinges
[9] Counterbalance pressure on hinges
[10]Contingency stiffening bars
[11] Representative pull-up feature
[12]Ground contour before shielding

 

d) Finally, we've sketched a hybrid torus design, dubbed the "donut"*, with the donut-hole wall replaced with a compact payload-bay sized hexagonal "works" module loaded with pull-out built-in features including top mounted central solar, visual, and EVA access, side-wall vehicle docking port, decking erected from parts brought up in the core module's "basement', complete with a peripheral jogging track. [see illustration, next page] Taking further advantage of this design, the naked inner surface of the outer side wall could easily be pre-painted or pre-printed with a 360o panoramic mural medley of Earthscapes, Spacescapes, and Moonscapes. By including two additional coupling ports in the donut's outer wall at 120o angles we would make possible 'benzene ring' clusters of individual donut units for indefinite "organic molecular" expansion potential. Small conventional instrument-packed modules could be brought up from Earth and coupled at unused ports to allow endless upgrade of the facilities. Of the hybrid inflatable designs investigated, the "donut" seems to lend itself best to all our various design goals. We intend to work with this central core torus design further to bring out its full promise and tackle any unsuspected problems. [* David A. Dunlop has since rechristened this design the "Moonbagel"]

 

 

Figure 7: The Donut: This 3 floor model at top is an upgrade of the simpler design in the original paper. Shown is the central works-packed core, optional telescoping observation & EVA tower, antenna, heliostat. Docking tube is at left. In this version, a small crater was chosen to make shielding emplacement easier and to allow the frog access to the middle level. Center left: a crude sketch of how the package arrives deflated in a payload bay, and a view of the donut hostel and docked frog from above.

NOTE: Once the paper was in the mail to make the publication deadline for the conference precedings, we thought of yet another promising configuration. In the "trilobite", the core works cylinder lays on its side suspended between two larger inflatable cylinders. The area below the core cylinder forms a sheltered bay or ramada for vehicles and routine EVA.

Figure 8: The Trilobite: The works core module could be scaled to a 15' wide shuttle payload bay or to a 27' wide faring atop an External Tank, with inflatable cylinders proportionately sized. Here, the trilobite hoste sits under a shielded hanger, making servicing and expansion much easier.

 

If hybrids are designed as connectable modules for expansion, the vehicle docking port design chosen for standardization should also serve as a module to module connect. This will offer the greatest versatility. Where rigid ribbing cannot be included (all the above designs except the "slinky") hollow ribbing with post-inflation filling with rigidizing foam could provide structural support if pressurization was lost. However such a foam must be carefully formulated to drastically minimize noxious outgasing as we are dealing with sealed structures that can't be 'aired out'. The hybrid, while still more limited in size than the pure inflatable (though it comes close in the torus format), offers measurably greater usable floor space than a hard-hulled module designed for transport in the same hold, yet can be full of convenient built-in features. The hybrid, in comparison to the retro-furnished simple inflatable, offers comparable savings over rigid shelter in total imported mass. Thus the hybrid inflatable seems to be the best of both worlds. We have only begun to scratch the surface of this promising world of hybrid inflatable design, and present our first fruits for your stimulation and input.

 

 

(5) Shielding for Prefabricated Hostels: Since full tele-deployment would be ideally appropriate for these intermittently staffed outposts, ways of covering the hostel with regolith shielding by robotic or teleoperated means should be researched. The needed equipment could be small and lightweight with minimal power, as,working slowly prior to the arrival of a crew needing protection, there need be no hurry to finish the job. Perhaps this task could be performed in such a way that the shielding regolith might be gathered as part of the process of grading and compacting a launch pad and a driveway or taxiway to the hostel for visiting frogs to follow. The basic idea is that the first humans to return to the Moon since the departure of Apollo 17 should find a cozy place waiting for them.

Hostels Built on the Moon of Native Materials

The ultimate potential for ample 'Big Dumb Volume' will not be realized until we begun self-manufacturing building materials, modules, and components from native materials, either in-situ, or at a factory site for overland or suborbital delivery to remote sites. Glass glass composites ("glax") or lunar steel are likely to be the building materials soonest available in an upstart settlement. "Lunacrete" would be a competitor if economically recoverable amounts of water-ice are found in lunar polar "permashade" areas. Glass-fiber reinforced cast basalt is an option that seems especially suited for opening remote sites, with modules being manufactured on site by a mobile facility.

CONCLUSION

The hostel concept rests squarely on acceptance of calculating compromises. Such choices run counterflow to the spread of risk-free expectations in the public culture, something to which any public-funded space program is especially vulnerable. Yet this paradigm promises to both significantly lower the threshold for human return to the Moon,. and to significantly accelerate the breakout from any form of first beachhead towards establishment of a truly global presence there. We believe there is more than a bit-role for such "hostels in a hostile land." Meanwhile, many of the ideas explored in the course of developing our topic, would appear to stand on their own.

[END]

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