a twin city lunar proposal and 5 guidelines for lunar construction


Read the interview "A Moon with a View" with Ricky Seabra on SPACE.com

Clay model of the city of Tranquility, a city built on the inner and outer edges of a crater.
View from outside the crater (above). View from inside the crater (below).

Abstract for paper presented at the
International Astronautical Federation Conference 2000
(a proposal for research)

Five Guidelines for Lunar Construction

(Abstract) This paper about 5 Guidelines for Lunar Construction is based on three factors. The first factor is my experience of having grown up in a utopian vision for a city, Brasilia, during a period in which two-thirds of the city was still under construction. Secondly. the guidelines are based on the principle that "Form follows Emotion" and not necessarily function. And thirdly, they are based on a review of current artistic renditions of moon colonies highlighting common flaws in each of these visions. The 5 Guidelines for Lunar Construction are presented in the context of a proposal for a twin-city lunar project called Tranquillity & Alto Canaveral.

Having grown up in Brasilia while it was still being built has given me a sense for futuristic and visionary urban design. The process of building on a large scale on the lunar surface will present problems that Brasilia could surmount thanks to the elements of nature. But building on the moon, with its lack of atmosphere, rain and vegetation which shape and eventually hide construction sites, will present a number of challenges and opportunities. A solution for cleaning up construction sites which otherwise would remain as permanent scars on the moon is presented. Also built into the guidelines are directives to avoid large urban blunders allowing lunar architecture to be explored and experimented with by various architects.

The idea that "Form follows Emotion" takes into consideration the relationship between man and his architecture, man and his viewable moonscape and man and his nostalgic relation to Earth. A "twin-city" or "twin-base" concept is discussed in the context of safety and psychological reasoning. Hence the importance of spectacular views within the city, views to the outside and views of Earth will also be discussed in light of "saudade", the Portuguese word for a deep longing, nostalgia or homesickness.

Finally, a review of current artistic renditions of moon colonies and bases highlights common mistakes made by moon visionaries. This review reinforces the fact that we truly have to rethink the logistics involved in returning to the moon insofar as to avoid visually polluting its surface. This paper will be presented with computer models of two visionary moon cities I call Tranquillity and Alto Canaveral which demonstrate how the 5 Guidelines for Lunar Construction can be applied. It is my opinion that by not taking into consideration these very basic directives (which seem to be overlooked in every artist's renditon of lunar colonization) we could end up making our lunar presence in the 21st century a tedious and unfullfilling experience for those who will work there.

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© 2000 Ricky Seabra

Richard Seabra