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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Igloo Inflatable Moon Habitat  
  An inflatable, portable lunar shelter that can be easily moved and set up.  

If you were doing some work far from a permanent settlement on the Moon, you would need a portable shelter that could be set up quickly next to your work site.

...it was now no particular hardship to live in a home that would fold up into a small trunk.

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.

From A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Harcourt, Brace and World in 1961
Additional resources -

Over time, the igloo lunar shelters evolved into comfortable quarters:

...it 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.
Here's a description of the process of inflating an igloo lunar habitat:
The sides of the box fell flat, revealing a tightly packed, convoluted mass of silvery fabric. It stirred and struggled like some living creature. The igloo [inflated] in only three minutes.

As the air generator pumped an atmosphere into the flaccid envelope, it expanded and stiffened in sudden jerks, followed by slow periods of consolidation... When it had reached the limits of its extension, it started to go upward again and the air lock popped away from the main dome.

Apparently, there was a Goodyear proposal to build an inflatable space station in 1961; the prototypes never made it into space.


(Inflatable Station Concept)

In his 1939 short story Misfit, Robert Heinlein wrote about roofing a valley on an asteroid with synthetic spider silk, and inflating it with a breathable atmosphere.

See also an earlier version of this idea, the airtight tent from Raymond Z. Gallun's 1951 novella Asteroid of Fear.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Fall of Moondust
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to A Fall of Moondust
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Igloo Inflatable Moon Habitat-related news articles:
  - Clarke's Inflatable Lunar Habitats Now NASA's
  - Moon Base Two Inflatable Lunar Habitat
  - Space Habitat Has Inflatable Loft
  - Bigelow To Offer Inflatable Lunar Bases

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