Environmental Effects on Lunar Observatories and Lunar Concrete

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Title: Environmental Effects on Lunar Observatories and Lunar Concrete

Author(s): S. W. Johnson, G. J. Taylor, J. P. Wetzel, and J. O. Burns

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 125

Issue:

Appears on pages(s): 191-210

Keywords: astronomical observatories; cements; concretes; cosmic rays; environments; lunar bases; lunar dust; magnetic fields; seismology; solar radiation; General

Date: 5/1/1991

Abstract:
The moon offers a stable platform with excellent visual conditions for astronomical observations. Some troublesome aspects of the lunar environment must be overcome to realize the full potential of the moon as an observatory site. Mitigation of negative effects of vacuum, thermal radiation, dust, and micrometeorite impact is feasible with careful engineering and operational planning. Shields against impact, dust, and solar radiation must be developed. Means of restoring degraded surfaces are probably essential for optical and thermal control surfaces deployed on long-lifetime lunar facilities. Precursor missions should be planned to validate and enhance the understanding of the lunar environment (e.g., dust behavior with and without human presence) and to determine environmental effects on surfaces and components. Precursor missions should generate data useful in establishing keepout zones around observatory facilities where rocket launches and landings, mining, and vehicular traffic could be detrimental to observatory operation. If lunar concrete becomes available, it could be a material of choice for observatory foundation construction. For concrete to be a viable choice, its production and use must be compatible with the observatories' needs for clean, precision optics, and for an environment free of dust, shock, vibration, and outgassing. It must also be economically competitive with alternative construction techniques.