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"Science fiction is what scientists would do if they could - if they had enough grant money, enough time, and enough brains to do the wonderful things they would like to do."
- Greg Bear

Airtight Tent  
  A temporary structure for living on an airless moon or asteroid.  

You've just homesteaded an asteroid, and you've been left there with your family. The first requirement: shelter, of course.

Inside his space suit, he had begun to sweat furiously. And it was more because of the tension of his nerves than because of the vigor with which he plied his pinchbar, doing the first task which had to be done. Steel ribbons were snapped, nails were yanked silently from the great box, boards were jerked loose.

In another minute John Endlich and his wife were setting up an airtight tent, which, when the time came, could be inflated from compressed-air bottles. They worked somewhat awkwardly, for their instruction period had been brief, and they were green; but the job was speedily finished. The first requirement—shelter—was assured.

From Asteroid of Fear, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Planet Stories in 1951
Additional resources -

What would it be like to spend your first night in an airtight tent on an asteroid with your family? Gallun uses his imagination to help us imagine it:

In another minute the small but dazzling sun had disappeared behind the broken mountains, as Vesta, unspherical and malformed, tumbled rather than rotated on its center of gravity. And several hours later, amid heavy cooking odors inside the now inflated plastic bubble that was the tent, Endlich was sprawled on his stomach, unable, through well-founded worry, even to remove his space suit or to allow his family to do so, though there was breathable air around them. They lay with their helmet face-windows open.

Peering from the small plastic windows of the tent, he kept watching for hulking black shapes to silhouette themselves against the stars...

Otherwise, from all around, the stillness of the vacuum was absolute.

Compare this to the Igloo Inflatable Moon Habitat from Arthur C. Clarke's 1961 novel A Fall of Moondust and the synthetic spider silk inflatable roof from Robert Heinlein's 1939 story Misfit.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Asteroid of Fear
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Asteroid of Fear
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

Airtight Tent-related news articles:
  - Six Inflatable Space Structures From Science Fiction

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