Shackleton: Lunar Capital
Shackleton displayed in a Selfridges window
British designers Patrick Stevenson-Keating and Tom Metcalfe have created an installation that envisages what life would be like on the moon.
The project imagines a time when humans are mining the moon for its abundant reserves of Helium 3 – a key fuel for low-risk nuclear power that is rare on Earth. Stevenson-King and Metcalfe predict that by 2030 “there will be some form of mining on the moon”, based on the state of current research and the potential of the ongoing Chinese, Japanese and Russian space programmes.
The duo’s proposed urban settlement, dubbed Shackleton after the name of the lunar crater it is built around, is currently displayed in a window of Selfridges as part of the London department store’s Festival of Imagination.
The Shackleton crater has large deposits of Helium 3, alongside other valuable minerals, making it an attractive starting point for lunar colonisation. Influences for the design of the buildings came from examples of extreme architecture across the globe, such as the world’s biggest mine in Siberia. The team used data from US space agency Nasa to research likely conditions on the moon, including the movement of shadows, strength of gravity, and the availability of appropriate building materials.
“We went into a level of detail which makes this project more than just an aesthetic model of the moon – it is more of a blueprint for what it could be like to live on the moon,” said Stevenson-Keating.
The space race is hotting up, as emerging economies such as China and India ramp up their funding for cosmic research. Meanwhile, firms such as Virgin Galactic and Worldview are opening spaceflight up to the public for the first time. For more on the commercial potential of space, see Space: A New Frontier for Big Brands and Space Tourism.
I was able to contribute the surface model to this project: I reran the file from http://finkh.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/the-south-pole-of-the-moon-shackleton-crater/ but with five million faces.