Space Architecture

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nader Khalili

Back in 2000, interviewed Nader Khalili. He thinks that Lunar outposts should be built using non-toxic, environmentally friendly materials. I think that this is a good idea, given that there are enough health hazards of living on the Moon. Space travel is wrought with plenty of ways to cause human biological damage (read: make you very sick or kill you).

His idea, though, of using current, in-orbit space junk to create space habitats is more complicated. Spacecraft are high-tech, precise machinery. Not sure how one could assemble new air-tight and structurally sound spacecraft with debris as your starting point. That would depend on the nature of the debris, and the tools available.

He does advocate the use of in-situ materials. SICSA has studied this in the past [pdf]. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the biggest obstacles to moving lunar regolith around is the regolith's very small size. The stuff is not friendly to your lungs, nor to equipment. All the joints and servos would have to be sealed up. No exposed moving parts.

There are many technical challenges facing habitation off-world. One of them is the vagaries of local planetary soil conditions. The other is, of course, escaping Earth's gravity well.


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