Clarke's Inflatable Lunar Habitats Now NASA's

The igloo inflatable moon habitat from Arthur C. Clarke's 1961 novel A Fall of Moondust was an essential element in the future of lunar exploration:

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...

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.
(Read more about igloo inflatable lunar shelter)

Forty-six years later, in considering man's return to the Moon, one team of NASA experts announced that they had the perfect temporary shelter - the Planetary Surface Habitat and Airlock Unit - an inflatable and easily deployable lunar habitat.

(Planetary Surface Habitat and Airlock Unit - exterior view)

NASA contractor ILC Dover has delivered a 3.65 meter diameter inflatable structure made of multilayer fabric for experimentation and evaluation.

Inflatables can be used as connectors or tunnels between crew quarters and can provide radiation shelter if covered with lunar regolith (soil)," said Chris Moore, Exploration Technology Development Program program executive at NASA Headquarters.

"Inflatable structures are very robust and adaptable. This demonstrator will show the capabilities of inflatable structures in future demonstrations at Langley and Johnson," said Dave Cadogan, research and development manager at ILC Dover.

(Planetary Surface Habitat and Airlock Unit - interior view)

NASA engineers should read A Fall of Moondust carefully, to check for prior art - no point in covering the same ground (or regolith) twice. had been divided into several compartments by movable screens... Overhead, three meters above the floor, were the lights and the air-conditioning grille, suspended from the ceiling by elastic webbing. Against the curved wall stood collapsible metal racks, only partly erected.
(From NASA [2007] or Clarke [1961] - check the link to find out)


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