Analyzing Potential Optimal Corridors for the Construction of a Lunar South Pole Oxygen Pipeline
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe need to establish a permanent presence on the Lunar surface for scientific, as well as economic reasons has only gradually increased within the past 20 years. The Moon contains many precious elements such as Titanium, Aluminum, Iron, and a variety of other metals. These resources can be used for in-situ construction and development of Lunar infrastructure as well as extracted for Earth based economic prosperity. However, to feasibly plan for the construction of any type of mining operations, humans and drones must be able to sustain themselves without heavy reliance on Earth-based deliveries. The most essential material available to accomplish this lies in trapped ice located within the Polar regions which can be extracted and transported as gaseous oxygen from the source to a Lunar base using a pipeline. This project analyzes the Lunar terrain and soil content to propose multiple corridors most suitable for construction of a pipeline. Digital Terrain Elevation data and Lunar craters with an 8-mile buffer from the center as barriers were input to determine Distance Allocation. Using the Optimal Route Analysis Tool, Distance Allocation and direction degrees were analyzed to calculate the optimal pipeline routes. Results show three separate suitable routes from highest concentrations of Lunar ice to three potential Lunar bases. Routes differ based on distance, terrain, and proximity to suitable landing sites. The analysis of this project seeks to weigh each route based on factors of feasibility, thereby allowing for a proposed best route. This analysis will help provide potential options during future planning of a lunar pipeline as well as the locations for a Lunar base, and ice extraction site.