One day we may need to use the Moon as a “refilling station” or for upscale retirement communities. Before Space commercial developers get any ideas, they better count on engineering extra-tough, fortified walls.
New Scientist explains why:
If you want to have a base on the moon, you’d better build sturdy walls. Lunar grit kicked up by meteorite impacts moves at the speed of a shotgun blast, posing a potential risk to future astronauts. But such high-speed projectiles need not be a show-stopper for long-term lunar missions, provided we beef up the structural integrity of buildings, rovers and spacesuits.
“You have to have a suit or habitat design that can handle small meteors, and that may just as well handle these secondary ejecta particles,” says Rob Suggs, head of the Lunar Impact Monitoring team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The airless moon is already pockmarked with craters made by incoming space rocks, and the bombardment is ongoing. With low gravity and no air resistance, dirt from an impact can be scattered far and wide. NASA worried about the risks from impact debris during the Apollo era, but at the time little was known about how often objects hit the moon and the speed of any material they kick up.