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back to article NASA to trial Moon balloon pneumo-podule in Antarctic

NASA has today showcased plans to test its inflatable habitat technology - intended for deployment on the inhospitable surfaces of the Moon and Mars - by conducting a dummy run in Antarctica. The inflata-hab podule in action Inflated housing predictions from NASA. Space agency bigwigs announced today that a prototype blow-up …

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Coat

Blown up out of all proportion

Got me coat

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Lunar surface

Actually, Bigelow Aerospace detailed their plans for the lunar surface in early 2007.

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/02/22/65477.aspx

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All it takes is...

...one little prick, and it's all over. One hopes that after inflating their balloons they've got some sort of structure they can put in in case of a leak.

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Test environment?

Antarctica? Why?

OK, you can prove that it's snowproof, windproof, works well with one atmosphere of external pressure and is OK when the temperature it's working in is consistantly below zero and uniform over the entire structure.

None of which is of any use on the moon..........

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I second TeeCee

Don't NASA have massive vacuum chambers use for testing spacecraft integrity? Wouldn't one of those be more useful for testing this thing?

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Inflatabode

Cant help but think that insulation may be somewhat different in antartica to the moon, what with the cold air verses no air issue??? on the moon it will be like living in a thermos flask. but hey probably still useful for mars data.

lets just hope that nasa doesn't send pricks into space, talking of which isn't James Blunt seriously Ironic?

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Paris Hilton

Why Antartica ?

Surely Bulgaria would be more fun.

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Anonymous Coward

Differential

Presumably if they want to test 1 bar differential they can just blow it up to 2 bar, no?

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Anonymous Coward

Airbag lesbianromp lan for Mars too

Anyone else dyslexic?

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Why Antartica

America will be landing and setting up an outpost at shackelton crater on the south pole on the moon, temperatures run from 100C to -150C so the habitat will be tested in the cold, the ovens at johnson and the vacumn chamber. Every part that goes into a space structure or craft is ground tested for heat, vibration, radiation, cold and vacumn BEFORE that part is added to the craft. Once the item is built and completed it is ran though these same tests again if the project is sized to fit present day testing facilities. The rim of Shackelton crater is the potential target because it has small patches that stay sunlight for 90% of the time, allowing for solar electrical production to start with rather then underdeveloped nuclear power plants for off world use. The rest of the moon experiences night times that last 14 days, The antactica testing will show if any parts need more insulation etc for the time when the sun goes down on the moon and the habitat is in place there.

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One little prick

If you have read about the transhab history you will know that with modern material sciences we can produce items lighter then metal that have better stopping power, that is why bullet proof vests are not made of iron but kevlar, carbon carbon, or ceramics. It is the same with the inflatables they use a system that when an imcoming partical hits the craft it is broken up as it penetrates deeper into the material layers stealing the energy needed to actually penetrate the skin of the craft. Bigelow is also using a patented selfhealing bladder on the inside, much the same as inflatable self healing life rafts on earth. If a small particle does manage to penetrate that last bladder it flows into the hold sealing it. When the inflatables are placed in a long term location versus just set up for a short sortie mission, they will be buried in lunar regolith, or lunar soil, three feet of soil over the inflatible will be enough to stop both radiation, cosmic and solar and will protect the habitat from micro meteroids.

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