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LSSW: Sunflowers, and the Basic Capabilities of NASA’s Lunar Outpost April 7, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Lunar Surface Systems Workshop, NASA.

This is the latest in my ongoing series of coverage of the Lunar Surface Systems Workshop, where oodles of new, advanced concepts for NASA’s future lunar base were shown.

Lunar Surface Architecture Status: Part 2

The next section of this presentation starts with a nice rendering, featuring what I’ve started referring to as “sunflowers”:


Each element of that image is covered as the presentation goes along, but for now we take a look at the “Basic Outpost Capabilities” (Slide 9):

  • Habitation systems that will support a crew of 4 for 180 days onthe lunar surface

So our first settlers will be a crew of four; our lunar Pilgrims (or Vikings; though the Apollo crews probably fulfill that latter allegorical role).

  • Demonstrated ability to produce ISRU based oxygen at a rate of 1mT per year

“ISRU” is in situ resource utilization–e.g., using lunar-local resources (hit that link for an interesting discussion of lunar ISRU).

  • Pressurized roving systems that can travel for hundreds of kilometers from the Outpost

NASA’s pressurized rover (e.g., don’t need a suit inside it) is the Lunar Electric Rover, which made a dashing appearance in President Obama’s inaugural parade. I find the idea that the astronauts can go on little surface adventures for weeks at a time a really fun concept :)

  • Power –at least 35 kW of net power production and storage for crewed eclipse periods
  • Surface based laboratory systems and instruments to meet science objectives
  • Sufficient functional redundancy to ensure safety and mission success

Those last three bullets are pretty self-explanatory.


Tune in soon for Part 3 of the Lunar Surface Architecture Status, as the presentation begins delving into particular scenarios for outpost development.



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