How do astronauts cope with temperature and space debris?

23 May 2017

Question

How do astronauts cope with the temperature differences and the space debris on the moon?

Answer

Chris put this question to Space Boffin Richard Hollingham ...

Chris - John is with us on the phone. Hello John.

John - Hello.

Chris - You've got a question for Richard.

John - I’d like to know how you overcome the temperature on the surface of the moon in terms of being on there because of the plus temperature when you’re in the light and the minus temperature when you’re in the dark? And also how do you overcome the space debris that’s coming in constantly on the surface of the moon?

Chris - Richard?

Richard -Yeah, and even worse than that is all the cosmic radiation and everything else you’re being bombarded with on the moon. The astronauts that have already walked on the moon during the Apollo missions, they had very sophisticated multilayer spacesuits and we would have them again and you would need those visors. Have you seen those pictures which almost entirely reflects, and you see it outside the space station, this almost mirrored visor over the top? But you’re not going to be outside for a huge amount of time, maybe a few hours at one time.

It is a big issue if you’re going to have a moon base so what they’re looking at is 3D printing a moon base from the lunar surface, so from the rocky, dusty surface itself. I’ve seen the prototype of this in Cologne in the German Space Agency.

Chris - Haven’t Lego got something to say about this? [giggles]

Richard - It’s a printer that goes buzz, buzz, buzz and it’s printing these blocks. It’s not unlike Lego! You have these interlocking blocks you can make out of the lunar regolith and you can build your shelter and that’s where you need to be most of the time. You cannot hang around outside on the moon for a long time.


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