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Contour Crafting Simulation Plan for Lunar Settlement Infrastructure Build-Up
Behrokh Khoshnevis
University of Southern California

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Economically viable and reliable building systems and tool sets are being sought, examined and tested for extraterrestrial habitat and infrastructure buildup. This proposal uses a unique architecture weaving an automated building technology called Contour Crafting with designs for assisting rapid buildup of an initial operational capability lunar base. Using CC technology, this proposal intends to draw up a detailed plan for a high-fidelity simulation at NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) facility, to construct certain crucial infrastructure elements in order to evaluate the merits, limitations and feasibility of adapting and using the CC technology for extraterrestrial application. Elements suggested to be built and tested include roads, landing pads and aprons, shade walls, dust barriers, thermal and mm protection shields and dust-free platforms as well as other built up structures utilizing the well known in-situ-resource utilization (ISRU) strategy.

Several unique systems including the Lunar Electric Rover, the unpressurized Chariot rover, the versatile light-weight crane and Tri-Athlete cargo transporter as well as the habitat module mockups and a new generation of spacesuits are undergoing coordinated tests at NASA’s D-RATS. This proposal intends to draw up a detailed synergetic plan to utilize these maturing systems coupled with the CC fabrication technology, tailored for swift and reliable lunar infrastructure development. This proposal intends to increase astronaut safety, improve buildup performance, ameliorate lunar dust interference and concerns, and attempts to reduce time-to-commission, all in an economic manner. As part of this proposal, a figure-of-merit methodology will be created and employed to gain some quantitative insight into the efficiency of using the CC technology to augment these other systems already in place.