Doing Without Space Suits

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Space suits are an encumbrance. If a ditch needs to be dug on the moon's surface, a remote controlled power shovel is the tool to use. If a screw needs to be turned, a remote controlled screw driver on the end of a remote controlled robot arm is needed. If a colonist needs to move from one place to another across the moons surface, a vehicle with a pressurized cabin and an air lock that can mate to the air locks of colony living quarters is preferred as transportation over a space suit. Being able to scratch ones elbow and otherwise be comfortable and able to move quickly are advantages of a motorized vehicle with a pressurized cabin. For redundancy a vehicle can have two sections separated by a set of pressure tight doors with independent sets of legs and life support equipment for each section. That kind of redundancy is hard to get with a space suit. People who arrive on the moon by rocket should have their entire cabin detach and walk off the framework of the descent stage onto a platform that was sent out to greet them. After that platform is lowered to the ground, the cabin should walk off to the colony air lock or perhaps use some other vehicle that will be able to move the cabin as cargo more speedily. The cabin of the descent vehicle will be another vehicle with air lock able to mate to the colony air locks.

To produce a successful human colony on the moon people must be able to imagine what the successful colony is like before it is built. The division of labor between remote controlled devices and people working hand on the job is this: People work indoors in pressurized environments. Remote controlled devices are used outside in the vacuum There will be no work that can be done more efficiently in a space suit because all outdoor tasks will be designed to be handled by remote controlled devices. Robotic devices will also be used for some production tasks indoors, with a different class of robots than are used outdoors.

For some tasks on Earth screws are made with hex heads to be turned by a wrench and also a slot for a screw driver. This is typical of customer assembled furniture in which the manufacturer wants the customer to be able to assemble the product even with a deficient set of tools. There should be no similar situation for colonists on the moon using either a space suit or a remote controlled tool. There should never again be any space suits on the moon. Designing a task for two means of operation is an expense to be avoided.

Besides colony air lock doors to mate with vehicle air locks, there should be air lock doors big enough to admit the entire vehicle for repair and other special circumstances.

See Also