An international symposium of 30 space scientists have designed a “closed loop” lunar habitat called Luna Gaia that is 90-95 percent self sufficient. The symposium’s 168-page report sets down a plan for an 11-person base to be located in Peary Crater at the lunar north pole.
The symposium is the product of the International Space University. Around since 1987, the ISU offers two Master’s programs in Strasbourg as well as a non-degreed summer program offered in a different city every year. Over 2,500 students have attended classes there in the past 20 years. The core curriculum includes space mission design & management, system engineering, space science, and engineering fundamentals. Every year it conducts a NASA-sponsored symposium with a different space-themed topic. 2006′s was Luna Gaia.
So how does this relate to GeekDads? The answer is, pure inspiration. While the description of the proposed habitat is extremely dry, it addresses a number of issues like water reclamation, extracting oxygen from moon rocks, and budgeting power gleaned from photovoltaic panels. Stuff that, couched a different way, might actually be fascinating to your average GeekKid. Why not sit down with some Legos or graph paper and build your own lunar colony? One dome for growing plants, maybe. One for storing your rover. You’ll need a landing pad for crew rotations and the (supposedly minimal) supply runs. Equipping your base with all the essentials is a great way to teach kids about the necessities and hazards of space exploration. If you’re using Legos, the Lego Mars Mission line is great (though a bit militarized) because it has cool elements like astronauts, domes, tubes, big knobby rover tires, and so on.