Phase by Phase ConstructionPlan

March 5, 2008

To Jesus Raygoza B.:

Basically, I am trying to work with your original design which looks like Bob Zubrin's but with a 3-floor hab instead of two-floor version.

The two-floor hab is too small and puts activities together that should be separated. But, standing vertically with no insulation from the heat and cold, it would be difficult to use (too hot inside) much of the year.

Further, the number one cause of accidents in the Mars Habs is connected with the ladders.

A horizontal structure with one floor, not on legs but placed on the ground, is easily shielded so that the temperature inside ranges from cool to warm, instead of from cold to hot. It will take little heating or cooling to make it comfortable. This ground-hugging design is more realistic for both Moon and Mars.

So I am assuming that each floor of this three floor stack is a separate unit and can be lifted off the lander stack and be deployed nearby, one at a time.

If you can find lightweight hollow shells of the needed dimensions, I would stack them on the lander for photographing purposes, and then remove them one at a time to put them on the desert floor where they can be outfitted inside.

That will allow you to build MLH in three principle stages.


Lander frame + 2 non outfitted tuna can shells

top domed tuna can on the ground and shielded, and outfitted

I would use this first unit for Communications, Kitchen/dining, and maybe bathroom.

The dome of this unit (the top one on the stack) I would leave open, paint a sky blue, and uplight it. On the Moon, this would give a touch of Earth, as the Moon's black skies could become difficult to adjust to. That's why I think the dining area should be here. Other functions can be in units with a flat ceiling. Meanwhile, you could use tents or a trailer for temporary crew quarters, and workshop areas.

You could invite the media and the public when this first unit is finished inside. And have illustrations of future phases to show.



Lander frame + last non outfitted tuna can shell

2nd tuna can deployed on ground and outfitting starts

I'd make this unit the Crew Quarters & Lounge (crew relaxation area - reading, listening to music and games)



Lander frame with all tuna can units deployed

3rd tuna can deployed

I suggest it be outfitted as workshop, lab, EVA prep



Adapting the remaining Lander platform and frame

The Lander Base can now be adapted to serve support functions. base The landing platform, with the tuna can units removed and deployed, can become a base for a communications tower, equipped with site surveillance cameras at or near the top.

The area underneath the platform, between the landing struts, could, after removal of the descent rockets, be used as a sheltered storage area, for equipment and/or water & fuel supplies, and/or as a rover garage.

DETAILS - How to find, or build "tuna can" structures?

Jesus, I searched for water towers, and other existing structures that could be used, but was not very successful

I did find a product that would allow building such a structure with wood framing.

There are also curved steel studs available.

Farm "silo" manufacturers may be a source: see:

Used silos of the right diameter, 27-33 feet, may be a cheap option, disassembly, shipping, and reassembly at MLH being required for anything that big.

BUT construction from scratch on location, might be the cheapest option.

If you keep in mind that once deployed, this one-floor cylindrical structures will be shielded, and that no one will see their outer surfaces, you realize that you can use crude materials (wood framing, and or concrete blocks) to build the outer walls with everyday technology and inexpensive labor. For photograph purposes of the lander stack with all three units, then with just two, then with just one, then empty, you could use very cheap lightweight materials such as flexible bathroom panels painted a metallic shade.

ACTUAL DEPLOYMENT OF EACH UNIT. I am thinking that you would want to put these structures on a concrete foundation, up a little from ground level to avoid water damage from heavy rains or floods. I would put any "airlock" doors facing north so that they do not become an entry path for the high summer hot sun. Using removable sandbags would allow you to easily erect another unit side by side. If you want airlocks on all units, if some face the sun, they should be shielded from the sun by canopies so they do not get hot and heat the inside.



Door placement options

It would be a good idea to "shield" them with soil, or with sandbags, as that would not only demonstrate what we would do on the Moon, but provide a cooler environment inside during summer, and a warmer environment during winter.

Instead of all sandbags, you could use an outer wall of cement blocks with a space between them and the wall of the unit to be filled with sand for insulation. You could explain that these blocks are made of sintered regolith and made on the Moon.

Outer shielding wall this shows outer block wall with sand in between it and the unit outer hulls

You should, of course, cover the roofs with 3 feet or one meter of sand/soil.

If the weight load over the roof is a problem, you could use two layers of bags filled with styrofoam peanuts, and a top layer of regular heavy sandbags (to hold everything in place under high wind conditions. See the illustration below

shielding blocks and/or bags

Now bearing in mind, that once shielded, the exterior hull of each tuna can unit will not be visible, you could make the walls of each unit out of cement blocks also. Probably, a much cheaper solution needing commonly known technology.

Interior surfaces and partitions: At the Mars Desert Research Station, walls are made of wood studs covered with drywall, and wood doors. That is not very authentic. For a more authentic look, you could use steel studs which are cheap and easy to work with and do not rot or suffer termite damage, and cover those with cement board or Durock. This is very easy to do (I have done it) and involves a technology that we could use on the Moon relying on lunar resources. I would use hollow core steel doors for interior use.

Another form of interior wall surfacing that may look good is what is called glasboard. It is commonly used in commercial (gas station) bathrooms and has a nubby look. It is easy to work with, and can be painted to look metallic.

I put this on the web so that you can show it to others. But there is no link from your other pages, so no one will find it who has not been given the link.

Once you have settled on a plan (this one or an adaptation, or another plan altogether, we can put up a link to it from your MLH page.

I'll be happy to work on alternative ideas, if there is anything about this one that you do not like.

NOTES: You should also be working on a plan for the kind of research you want to do at MLH. Will MLH only be for tourists? Or will tourists only be welcome at set times, so that uninterrupted research can go on at other times?



Experiments with lunar rovers, and construction equipment, including teleoperated equipment. You could also serve as a testing ground for AEXA equipment.

Experiments with simulated lunar materials and products, making useful and decorative items out of simulated materials (basalt, if you can find it nearby, concrete, raw glass? [raw glass can be made from almost anything, no special chemical formula needed).

Human factors studies, including how well this design supports operations and where changes should be made.

Experiments with scheduling options to see which the crew likes best and which is most productive.

Experiments with various "perks" to see how well or poorly they improve crew morale.

Should crew rooms be able to be customized to suit each crew members tastes?

What herbs and spices and special extras will keep the crew happy with their food menus?

How much free time do crew members need to keep happy and productive? Free time together? Free time by themselves?

Experiments with greenhouses, and integrating them into waste water treatment (including human wastes) and food production, and maintaining fresh air inside.

Experiments with alternative shielding methods

There are a lot of things that can be done without expensive sophisticated equipment.

MLH could also become a place where students could have a summer Space Camp experience.


Construction Phases


Plan prepared by Peter Kokh March 5, 2008