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  • Allistair Mitchell

Tales from the Edict 12 - Moon Base Zero

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

In 2024 humanity returned to the surface of the moon with the arrival of the commercial lander Space Hopper 1, named by Elon Musk in his ebullient fashion. The three-person landing team duly played golf, drove their rover over to the site of the original Apollo 14 lander for a photo opportunity, and set up an array of equipment to conduct a battery of scientific tests that would lay the foundations for the establishment of Moon Base Zero. This was to be the focus for a majority of the short stay missions by the US and its allies on the lunar surface, establishing an outpost that would eventually be part of a wider spoke and hub network of facilities to support the permanent base planned.

In total over the next 14 months no less than 24 modular components were delivered or landed at the site. Collectively these modules, when connected formed an autonomous mining and manufacturing unit, designed to excavate resource from the lunar littoral soil and rock beneath and turn it into four essential components necessary for the sustainment of human life on the moon.

Of particular interest were the Modules 22A containing the Komatsu Joy OffWorlder ripper 24HM72 and Joy UFB-32, and 23B containing the Joy longwall machinery for underground operations delivered in 2029. Earlier delivered modules 4 and 7 contained the Caterpillar System 0G surface mining equipment fitted with Tesla autonomous control systems. The fully automated mining system ran for twelve months with only occasional human maintenance and servicing support. Module 11 was the compact SMS Paul Worth Pica Agglomeration-H2submerged arc system for iron ore processing through to ferroalloys, delivering up to 80kg of iron or 30kg of specified ferroalloy. Uniquely this system candeliver a wide range of end product materials and alloys depending on raw material availability, including lunar chondrites, pyroxene, olivine and ilmenite.

Module 6, or Perfect as it is known, delivered up crucial life support systems for visiting crews. Perhaps more importantly, Perfect acts as a remote cargo transport, able to land and take off using Rocketdyne impulse-2 engines. Equipped with large clam shell cargo doors at the front, Perfect has acted as a shuttle between Lunar Gateway and locations across the moon. With an oversize cargo hold the vehicle is able to make deliveries and collections of all modular cargo, recharging its multifuel impulse-2 engines at key fuel depots on the lunar surface.

Fuel delivery is the role of module 31F, delivered at three resource recovery sites on the moon. 31F was developed by Exxon in collaboration with Princeton Industrial. Moon Base Zero does have a fuel processing unit, the prototype PK2100 by Linde generating a range of gas by products from the closed loop resource processing systems.

Moon Base Zero can accommodate a crew of eight long term personnel with a 30-day emergency capacity of 45 persons.

Moon Base Zero was re-christened Destiny in 2029.

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