1994-06-01

Lunar Base Life Support System and Site Selection 941457

The selection of a life support system for a lunar base depends on many interrelated factors, both programmatic and technical. Many factors are identifiable through the application of a systems engineering approach to the lunar base design, in which base and mission requirements are determined. In addition, there is a range of evolving technology options whose cost and maturity affect their potential for inclusion in base designs. Results of ongoing lunar base design are presented with emphasis on the selection of promising approaches for advanced life support systems that decrease overall cost for a single, permanently inhabited lunar base. We identify critical technology areas that inhibit the selection of closed life support systems and propose alternative basing scenarios to alleviate development and operational costs. In particular, we quantify the cost savings associated with establishing a base at a lunar pole in a region of permanent sunlight. Such a base uses a hybrid life support system with higher plants integrated with other physical/chemical components. We show that bases of comparable scale close to the lunar equator are most
efficiently established and operated with food resupplied from Earth, and that they are more expensive than the polar base with plants.

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