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Our first moonbase could be made of inflatable habitats

Updated Oct 6th, 2022 9:30AM EDT
Image: NASA

Humans are finally on track to return to the Moon, and this time space agencies like NASA and the ESA are looking for ways to let humans stay there. Establishing a colony on the Moon could not only help with further space exploration, but it could allow us to study the lunar surface more in-depth. Now, researchers have proposed a crazy new inflatable moonbase that would also include its own greenhouses.

The ESA just shared a crazy concept for an inflatable moonbase

inflatable moonbase conceptImage source: Pneumocell / ESA

When Artemis III takes humans back to the Moon in 2025, the mission will deliver the first astronauts to the surface since the 1970s. From there, the next hope is to build out a more permanent presence on the Moon, a colony that may be made possible thanks to a crazy new inflatable moonbase concept the ESA just spotlighted.

Pneumocell, an inflatable structures specialist based in Austria, created the concept. The specialists performed a system study on the possibility of an inflatable lunar habitat working. So far, it seems like it could be a logical project to pursue a bit more.

The researchers envision the inflatable moonbase as a habitat with built-in greenhouse structures. This would allow them to grow food on the Moon, which scientists hope to make possible sometime in the future. We’ve already seen some success growing plants in lunar soil, though it still has a long way to go before it’s truly viable.

The concept, titled PneumoPlanet, includes a lunar habitat that will work in the Moon’s south or north poles. The greenhouse structures will feature floating mirrors, which deliver sunlight directly into the rooms. One of the biggest issues with building a colony on the Moon is getting the materials there. With this kind of project, the materials would all be inflatable, making them very lightweight.

space launch system
Future missions to the moon could establish colonies and moonbases along the lunar surface. Image source: 3dsculptor/Adobe

The inflatable moonbase might seem like an unsafe structure. After all, micrometeorites and other space junk slam into the Moon all the time. There’s also the fact that inflatable material would simply float off the Moon, right? Not exactly. This concept will see the inflatable habitat buried into the Moon’s surface. Which will protect from impacts and radiation.

Whether or not this idea pans out is another question entirely. But, for now, the concept of an inflatable moonbase will certainly be difficult to beat. If it did work, though, then perhaps inflatable colonies could work on planets like Mars down the line.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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