by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 24, 2013
For three centuries or more people have been writing about the Moon. In the 19th century, Jules Verne wrote a novel on the subject, From Earth to Moon. That author wisely observed: anything one man can imagine, other men can make real. In 1987, Ben Bova published a fictional Welcome to Moon Base, a comprehensive challenge.
In 1992, NASA produced five astute volumes on the topic entitled, Space Resources (SP-509). Since the United States abandoned its plan to return to the Moon permanently by 2020, new lunar literature has become scarce.
Among such classic titles in this decade are: A. A. Harrison's Spacefaring (2001); Harrison Schmitt's Return to the Moon (2006); Marsha Freeman's Krafft Ehricke's Extraterrestrial Imperative (2008), and most especially, David Schrunk et al 's The Moon - Resources, Future Development, and Settlement (2008).
Now comes Margaret Morris' Moon Base and Beyond, another mind-blowing volume on humanity's future beyond Earth.
Such publications create public awareness about our opportunities off-world and guidance towards achieving permanent lunar installations. Two factors will contribute to our taking advantage of space resources. Apart from China, it is the private sector that will likely provide this leadership aloft, particularly space entrepreneurs. But it is new technologies that will enable us to do this.
Morris has identified two key technologies and incorporated them to produce an automated building and maintenance space construction system able to tolerate the harsh space environment and sustain inhabitants. Her book explains the value of these technologies in creating a twin planet economy and society between the Earth and Moon.
She makes a telling case for how robotically to build automated, virtually permanent megalithic lunar architecture, and how to use the Moon (1) as a laboratory to create new technologies requiring lunar gravity manufacturing and various other systems (profitable and useful for the Moon and elsewhere); and (2) to demonstrate a new model for transforming other celestial bodies.
The key dual technologies for the system she devised also are useful for the Earth. On our home planet, these inventions can work to renew and monitor deteriorating infrastructures, and to solve nuclear waste and climate hazard problems. In outer space, these combined technologies provide for economical infrastructures necessary for industrialization and settlement.
Her focus here is first on geopolymerization, involving a rock-forming binder called geopolymer, which requires no heat or pressure to quickly form real rock from lunar regolith or Martian sand. It can be useful for molding lunar regolith or Martian sand into huge, safe installations made of strong synthetic rock blocks.
This exceptional technology is based first on the research of materials scientist Dr. Joseph Davidovits (www.davidovits.info). Morris served as assistant director of the Institute For Applied Archaeological Sciences founded by Davidovits. She shows that all the materials needed to achieve geopolymerization are greatly abundant in outer space.
High-quality geopolymeric rocks remain stable after long periods of exposure to salts, acid rain, corrosives, and possibly stored high-level nuclear waste, and can withstand strong winds and are impervious to water damage.
In a short time, with geopolymerization, any kind of rock aggregate (Martian sand, lunar and asteroid regolith, etc.) can be molded into solid rock blocks in situ to create virtually permanent, massive architecture of any viable engineering design. As lunar regolith is basaltic, new Moon rock structures will be made of rock equivalent to nature's own basalt or diabase.
The second key technology in her system of space industrialization is diamond microcircuitry film (DMF). Here, Morris cites the research of University of Kansas physicists, Dr. Gisela A. Dreschhoff and Dr. Edward J. Zeller. By applying proton beam lithography to single crystal diamond film, graphite channels form within the diamond film and can be written in any desired three-dimensional configuration. Graphite is a good conductor of electricity, and diamond is an excellent electrical insulator, while protecting the internal graphite.
DMF presently operates at one micron and above, and allows for the production of very compact circuit boards. Thus, DMF also enables the production of diamond-based robotics that run on powerful optical computing and electronics, and can tolerate working in the extremes of heat, cold and hard radiation of space (diamond is naturally radiation hardened).
Morris explains that tiny DMF devices, with the power of optical computing (a form of quantum computing) can advance a myriad of medical applications needed for astronauts and general use on Earth.
Although she proposes other space energy systems, Morris envisages largely powering a GEODMF (geopolymer / diamond microcircuitry film) System lunar prototype with durable diamond solar panels. which convert light into heat and electricity with nanoscale physics. Her GEO-DMF System is useful robotically for setting up, automating and maintaining facilities in space and on Earth.
She envisages virtually permanent, self-sustaining architecture for factories and other facilities on the Moon and elsewhere in space. Such facilities not only would be highly economical, but also would offer solidity, strength, endurance, and ease of construction and self-maintenance.
Morris is convinced that the GEO-DMF System can facilitate lunar mining, as well as offer far more advanced electronics and computing and radiation protection than we presently have in space.
She envisages the GEO-DMF System, along with other technologies she describes, enhancing space telescopes to the point of establishing powerful, permanent, autonomous, computerized observatories on the Moon and elsewhere for monitoring our solar system and beyond, and warning us of dangers.
The GE0-DMF System may make its great contributions as a construction system for the Moon and Mars, and for renovating useful asteroids into orbiting space depots and transit systems.
Morris also suggests building a start-up prototype Moon Base with a modestly-priced medium launch providing critical mission materials, including containers of geopolymeric binder, molds for casting, robotically, large blocks directly in place, DMF robots that can be left behind to perform work progressively, etc.
Their success at establishing a DMF-computer-operated 10-ton molded rock prototype (made with 90% lunar regolith as the rock-making aggregate, and cased with computing and electronics in the form of DMF, powered by diamond film solar panels, and equipped with DMF robots with a small DMF rover, and DMF instrument boxes for performing functions on the Moon) will prove the viability of the GEODMF System and warrant further mission equipment that will allow robotics to expand construction and operations (when taking commands from the Earth), continually, and she envisages this being done profitably instead of draining space budgets due to flexible scale, utility, affordable establishment of the first permanent Moon Base, reduced launch costs and other factors.
With such a system constantly progressing, when off-world facilities someday reach a point of manufacturing their own DMF electronics and robots (synthetic diamond can be made in space with space materials), they will be able to geopolymerize and otherwise build in space with space materials and do so exponentially. She proposes using the GEO-DMF System to enrich Earth greatly.
Morris is a visionary who forecasts myriad applications of this innovative system aloft - from reducing new space junk (DMF is useful for creating radiation-tolerant small, super-smart satellites) to erecting lunar and Martian greenhouses and much more. She predicts the GEO-DMF System can facilitate engineers working towards a lunar space elevator and an interplanetary superhighway, which takes advantage of LaGrange Points (offering true zero gravity manufacturing zones) and other space assets.
Moon Base and Beyond challenges the global space community and its entrepreneurs to examine seriously the GEO-DMF System, and its utility for complementing the technologies offered by others for off-world applications. The GEO-DMF System, and the technologies that can be made to work with it, may be our means of becoming a multi-planet species in the foreseeable future.
Morris also makes a case for using DMF for creating miniature space fleets that can sample asteroids for valuable materials and plant small devices on them that will gradually, gently deter potentially dangerous ones into safe orbits that veer away from Earth and our assets in space. She explains how the GEO-DMF System can help "green" the Moon and Mars, and help us better cope with dramatic climate changes on Earth.
In a future edition, she would do well to offer more commentary on lunar human factors and financing of macroprojects. She hopes to find opportunities within the space community to use her book to raise money for building a lunar prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of the GEO-DMF System - so that the Moon Base prototype project can pay for itself. Assuming she can attract qualified people within the space community, her publishing company is willing to donate proceeds from book sales to achieve this goal.
Her book provides 22 pages of endnotes and reference citations, and when published will provide an index and biographical information about the author. Interested parties may contact Margaret Morris, author of Moon Base and Beyond, at: email@example.com
About the reviewer: Dr. Philip Robert Harris is a management/space psychologist. He is author/editor of some 53 published books. His Space Enterprise - Living and Working Offworld in the 21st Century was released in 2009. Phil's novel Lunar Pioneers was published in 2010. His website can be viewed here.
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