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ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Hassel Studio have designed a moonbase suitable for occupancy by 144 people using inflatable modules to be partially buried and covered with lunar regolith.



(Exterior and interior views of inflatable lunar moonbase modules)

The larger inflatable modules are about 22 feet (7 meters wide), ~60 feet long (~18 meters) and up to 14 feet (4 meters tall at the tallest). This is based upon the rendering of the inside of one of the larger habitat modules. There would hundreds modules to make up the smaller hallway sections.

Fans of science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke recall his dramatic description of an inflatable lunar habitat from A Fall of Moondust, published by Harcourt, Brace and World in 1961:

This was one of the latest models - a Goodyear Mark XX - and it could sustain six men for an indefinite period, as long as they were supplied with power, water, food and oxygen. The igloo could provide everything else - even entertainment, for it had a built-in microlibrary of books, music and video... In space, boredom could be a killer...

Lawrence stooped slightly to enter the air lock. In some of the old models, he remembered, you practically had to go down on hands and knees. He waited for the "pressure equalized" signal, then stepped into the hemispherical main chamber.

It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.
(Read more about Arthur C. Clarke's Igloo Inflatable Moon Habitat)

Update 16-Feb-2024: I should have pointed out that, even earlier, Philip K. Dick fans were treated to the inflatable lunar resort from his 1955 novel Solar Lottery:

Corpsmen, dressed in bright vacation colors, were relaxing and enjoying themselves around and in a vast tank of sparkling blue water. Above them a dome of transparent plastic kept the fresh spring-scented air in, and the bleak void of the Lunar landscape out...

Rita O'Neill had climbed from the water and was sunbathing drowsily a little way beyond the main group of people. Her sleek naked body gleamed moistly in the hot light that filtered down through the lens of the protective balloon.

End update.

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