Ice Dome Construction for Large Scale Habitats on Atmosphereless Bodies

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S. H. Farr (2016), JBIS, 69, pp.295-303

Refcode: 2016.69.295
Keywords: Artificial biosphere, space settlement, space colonization, Moon colonization, ice domes in space

One of the greatest difficulties that space exploration faces is the lack of technology necessary to establish large volumes of habitable spaces on site. Both transporting the pre-built enclosures or transporting the equipment necessary for building them on site from conventional materials face the same enormous problem: the need to transport huge quantities of material into space, which is technically close to impossible. This paper suggests the possibility and one approach of building these large spaces from an alternative material, water ice, a material that is a prerequisite for any settlement. The feasibility of dome shaped, pressurized, water ice buildings is analyzed from a structural integrity point of view and the possibility of building them with a technique using water sublimation and deposition onto a thin plastic film, a process which requires extremely little construction equipment with respect to the resulting habitable space.

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