Scientists at the Global Lunar Conference in Beijing unveiled a preliminary plan Wednesday of what a future lunar base on the moon would like when it is built in the year 2050.

The first lunar base will be constructed underground and will include a biological experiment module, research module and straining center module, said Bernard H. Foing, executive director of International Lunar Exploration Working Group.

At least 26 nations were represented at the international gathering.

He said that it would adopt the streamline design similar to the undulating lines on the moon’s surface.

“There will be a round dome inside, from which we could see that the blue earth is running in the universe with a great view of the midnight sun,” he said.

The base will also be equipped with an emergency underground shelter and workers would have individual working and sleeping units.

With technological improvements, the biological experiment module should contain a greenhouse to provide fresh vegetables, fruits and crops for people and to feed mice living inside.

Moreover, scientists could conduct experiments to look for iron ore or water in the research module.

“The material for the wall can maintain the temperature inside and prevent oxygen leakage. Every worker will be equipped with an isolation mask and a spacesuit to protect them from cosmic rays,” Foing said.

Since the time on the moon and the earth is different, participants would need to undergo some unique training.

In the preliminary phase, fuel will be sent to the lunar base from the earth, together with four to five groups of people to establish life there.

“While later, we will sent about 20 to 40, or even more ordinary people to be involved in it and extract zinc from the ores for raw material of the fuel supplied to the aircraft,” he added.

People will gradually realize a self-supporting life on the moon.

“We hope in the year 2050, we will witness the birth of the first lunar base for human beings,” Foing said.

Even as Americans watch the country’s aspirations to revisit the moon fade, other nations are willing to pick up the slack.

Chinese experts were asked to look into caves in Yan’an of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province to get inspiration for what the moon’s base would be like.

“The cave can be seen as a shield against radiation from the universe, so that we can simulate the atmosphere environment and establish a life maintenance system inside,” Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China’s Moon Exploration Project, said at a news conference Tuesday.

According to Ouyang, China has finished mapping the moon with data obtained by the Chang’e-1 satellite.

“Now the task is to combine the data with images taken by high-resolution cameras, so as to create a more accurate 3D map of the moon,” he said.

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: Deng Jingyin; http://www.globaltimes.cn/www/english/sci-edu/china/2010-06/538080.html

Thumbnail image: Artist rendering of a lunar base. Credit: Richard Kurbis

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