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Could a domed city be built on the Moon or Mars? – Quora

Could a domed city be built on the Moon or Mars?

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, Interested in the Moon. Especially interesting now with prob. ice at poles, possibly city sized lave tubes …

Just to add to the other answers, the only place you could build something like this outside of Earth, with no radiation problems and simple construction, is in the upper atmosphere of Venus at the cloud tops. Because the Venus atmosphere above you would be comparable in thickness to Earths.Will We Build Colonies That Float Over Venus Like Buckminster Fullers Cloud Nine?

The Earths atmosphere is 1.225 kg/m3. So to have the ten tons of Earth atmosphere above you for radiation shielding, in a domed enclosure, if you just do it with air, you need about 8 km of atmosphere above you. There Im just assuming uniform density in a pressurized dome – of course it would be somewhat less dense at the top. But reasonable first estimate.

It would be quite a challenge probably to build a dome that has ten tons of material per square meter, though in principle it should work, held up by the pressure of the air beneath it. For the Stanford Torus and other such designs they talk about 4.5 tons per square meter shielding, as adequate but that also would be a major engineering challenge Id have thought, for a transparent city dome.

If you do it just using atmosphere, that reduces it to less than 3.7 km of atmosphere, to have enough shielding to be equivalent to the recommendation for a Stanford Torus.

For a garden though, farms and such like, largely tended by machines perhaps, hydroponics and so on, you wouldnt need it to be shielded in that way.

Also for short term visitors. But for long term residents, especially living there from childhood it seems a significant issue. Who wants to significantly increase their chance of getting a cancer that would cut your life short by a decade or more?

The Caldera of Olympus Mons is deep enough to provide significant shielding from cosmic radiation if it was covered over and the residents lived at the bottom of it. Especially since the dome would arch above it.

Im interested in it for planetary protection reasons – since the air is so thin at the top of Olympus Mons and it gets much less dust – is it a place where humans could land on Mars without risking irreversibly introducing Earth life to the planet?

I dont see how that is possible with present day technology – especially since a crashed spacecraft could easily miss its destination – and also very hard to land there with present day technology – but might it be in the future? Maybe also with new understanding of conditions on Mars? Could it somehow be contained and separated from the rest of Mars? Does it matter that it is still active on geological timescales?

Olympus Mons is 24 km above the surrounding surface. The caldera is up to 3.2 km deep so deep enough to be protected, indeed since the dome would surely rise well above the surface, well protected.

Its 90 km long by 60 km wide.Olympus Mons Caldera

Newton (lunar crater)on the Moon is even deeper, while still not that huge (not either hundreds, or thousands of kilometers in diameter), over 6 km deep, diameter of 79 km. And its near(ish) to the lunar south pole with its ice. Perhaps this might be a location for some future domed city on the Moon?Newton Crater on Google Moon

And there are many other smaller craters on the Moon that would surely give substantial protection from atmosphere.

Of course – thats a lot of mass of atmosphere too. Same problem as for the ONeil Cylinder – that nitrogen particularly is in rather short supply in the inner solar system.

So it seems a waste to use it just for radiation shielding. Probably better to go for the very thick plastic option, or even water if you can find a way to use that – water much more abundant than nitrogen. Maybe in the form of clear ice? Like an Ice hotel?

Icehotel (Jukkasjärvi)melting, photoLaplandish

File:Coming icehotel.jpgComing out Art suite in ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, 2008. Made by Maurizio Perron. photo by

Ice would not be stable on the Moon, it would evaporate quickly in the vacuum. But cover it on the outside with a thin layer of plastic, same on inside perhaps too, to help keep it cold, and it might be a useful building material for a transparent dome / greenhouse?

They have to build spherical or locally spherical structures in space – at best – tubes with rounded ends, or toruses or some such. The reason is the ten tons per square meter outwards pressure from the air inside the habitat.

If you build on a surface, then it can be a section of a sphere, because you have solid rock to anchor it to around the edges of the habitat.

When you see an artists impression of a rectangular greenhouse on Mars – as you do sometimes – my first question is – how does this avoid exploding outwards? Even a greenhouse at ten percent of Earths pressure, enough so that a human can survive for a while with just an oxygen mask rather than a full pressure suit inside – will have one ton per square meter outwards pressure. You can only have rectangular habitats if there is a vacuum or near vacuum inside.

You could have rectangular habitats with spherical or tube shaped etc living quarters inside them.

On the other hand – you can protect against micrometeorites with whipple shields, whichcan be transparent – multi layers of thin material to cause micrometeorites to fragment before they hit the main part of the habitat – this is how the ISS is protected for instance. And not quite like a balloon – the fabric can be made rip-stop, a large meteorite then would make a big hole, but it wouldnt immediately tear part, and then you put a patch in place quickly if something does get through. And have shelters inside which the people can rush to in an emergency, which would be very rare indeed.

An ice dome with the ice meters thick would probably be quite well protected – you would heal any breach – first with a patch on the inside to stop the air rushing out – then you patch it on the outside too, and pour water into the gap and let it freeze.

You can use similar ideas for settlements in space, then you can maneuver the settlement itself to avoid a large meteorite and divert smaller ones.

But safest of all probably is to live in a cave, like the lunar caves. These may be large enough to include entire cities inside them.

Lava tubes safe enough for Moon base – BBC News

See also my newCase For Moon – Open Ended Positive Future For Humans Based On Planetary Protection – Executive Summary

Case For Moon – New Positive Future For Humans In Space – Open Ended With Planetary Protection At Its Heart

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Related QuestionsMore Answers Below

Is it possible to terraform just a portion of Mars by enclosing it in a dome?

What would it take to build a dome city on the moon?

Writer of articles on Mars and Space issues – Software Developer of Tune Smithy, Bounce Metronome e

As was mentioned, there is too much radiation to live exposed on the Martian and lunar surfaces. A dome could provide ample protection if it was HUGE, so that there were several kilometers of air above the occupants (that strategy works on Earth….), or if the dome was made of really thick glass (several meters worth), or a combination of the two.

It would surely be cheaper, quicker, safer easier and more practical, for a colony of any scale, to dig trenches, put prefab shelters in them, and cover them with a couple meters of the stuff you dug up. (Using natural caves is probably a terrible idea.)

But an underground colony might still include some domed enclosures, large or small, maybe for a large park, like a giant terrarium, or even for private gardens. You might have to limit your exposure, but a few hours a week in the park wouldnt kill you.

I cant let any mention of space colonization pass without saying, forget the moon, and forget Mars. I dont want to colonize them. They suck.

Space is the place! Orbital colonies are much better in every way. (Although you still have problems with windows.)

, fascinated by space travel since the Apollo program.

Both are problematic because of the radiation, although its worse on the Moon. Neither body has enough of a magnetic field to protect the inhabitants. Mars has the advantage of being farther away and having an atmosphere, although a very thin one.

I suspect that any long-term dwellings in either place will be underground rather than in domes. You need rock overhead.The feedback you provide will help us show you more relevant content in the future.

Not in our lifetime unless we invent a dramatically cheaper way of launching matter into orbit. Like 1/1000th the current cost.

It currently costs about $10,000 to transport one pound of matter into orbit.

Thats not even escaping the gravity well, thats just orbit.

How many tons of material would need to be launched from Earth to build a domed city on the moon.

The costs are astronomically prohibitive.

Yes, we could relatively easy build a domed city on the Moon if it were a global priority. It isnt right now.

Keep in mind that building a Moon domed city would be much easier than one on Earth, because of the low gravity and lack of atmospheric pressure. A moon domed city would be a collection of giant inflatable baloons tethered to the moon surface that just needs to be strong enough to resist micrometeorites.

Almost any size structure would stay rigid by its own inner atmospheric pressure compared to the outside void, no need for the kind of engineering a giant dome on Earth would require.

Of course. We have had the tech to do it for a long time. But its very difficult and expensive and dangerous to get all the workers there plus all the stuff they need – oxygen, water, food, shelter, tools, etc. Its not going to happen for many decades. Moon first since its closer

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Still have a question? Ask your own!

Is it possible to terraform just a portion of Mars by enclosing it in a dome?

What would it take to build a dome city on the moon?

Is there any city developing on Mars?

Why dont we build a base on the Moon before Mars trips?

Why have humans never been back to the Moon after 1972?

Should I buy an acre of moon or Mars?

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