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Camping on the Moon Takes Special Tents

For some people, camping is easy. Just toss a sleeping bag in the back and away they go.

Others like tents or pop-ups. Still others want to camp in style in a tricked-out RV.

Camping on the moon is something completely different.

When humans walked on the moon in the late ’60s and early ’70s, they had to stay near the lunar lander. So, they didn’t stay on the lunar surface very long.

People want to go to the moon again, and aerospace engineers at MIT have designed a “tent” that would allow the men and women who go there to stay longer and go farther.

It’s called the mobile overnight habitat. Basically, it’s an inflatable pod that sleeps two that would be transported on a rover. Of course, to survive on the moon, the pod/tent needs a few extra amenities.

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These extra amenities include: a reflective shield to protect the “campers” from the sun’s rays, life support systems on the rover (oxygen, water and food, temperature control, etc.), and a flexible roll-out solar array to supply the shelter’s power and recharge the rover’s batteries.

Samuel Schreiner, one of the MIT engineers, says that, packed, the entire system would take up roughly half the space of an average refrigerator.

Setup is fairly simple. Pressurized tubes serve as support ribs, and cables pump in oxygen.

The big problem when camping on the moon would be moon dust. The dust can cause breathing problems and corrosion. A flexible divider inside the pod would keep the lunar excursion suits and the dust separated from the habitat area.

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The concept is still in the early stages, and there aren’t immediate plans to head back to the moon. However, scientists are sure humans will be returning to the lunar surface in the future.

And the tent is ready. Next: lunar s’mores.

All photos via Popular Science

Camping on the Moon Takes Special Tents