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July 13, 2001
Welcome to the Moon Hotel!
The most detailed proposal so far for a hotel and resort destination
on the Moon has been prepared by Dutch architect Hans-Jurgen Rombaut.
While he was forced to consider cosmic rays, outside temperature, lack
of atmosphere, and other harsh conditions on the moon,
the low gravity
- one-sixth of the Earth's - and the absence of wind were a boon for the
architect: he was able to design a much more slender and fragile-looking
building than would have been possible on Earth. Its two 160 meters
high needle-like towers soar over the rim of the deep canyon Rima Prinz.
And between them you'll see Earth hanging low above the horizon.
To shield the interior from lethal cosmic rays and solar particles, Rombaut designed a 50-centimeter-thick hull consisting of two outer layers of Moon rock and a 35 centimeter layer of water held between glass planes. The water absorbs energetic particles and helps keep the temperature constant as the Moon rock provides further protection. Window are formed from hole in the Moon rock layer.
The cost of launching tonnes of steel and water to the Moon is still a
hurdle. But according to Rombaut as much as possible can be manufactured on
the Moon itself, using existing minerals and ores. The Moon hotel design is
welcomed by the Lunar Explorers Society (LUNEX),
an international society of space buuffs who hope to construct a robot Moon
base by 2015, followed by a manned base by 2020 and a real lunar village by 2040.
"This hotel would fit very well in our scheme," says Carl Koppeschaar, co-funder of LUNEX,
who wrote a futuristic guide book to the Moon and who was one
of the supervisors of Rombaut's master thesis at the Rotterdam Academy of
Rombaut's Moon hotel is a far cry from the average establishment on Earth. The architect himself calls it a "sensation engine". The hotel's two slanting towers will provide tourists space to indulge in low-gravity-games such as indoor mountaineering, abseiling and "flying" using special suits with bat-like wings. Visitors will be encouraged to walk to the top of the towers instead of using elevators, helping avoid muscle deterioration during their stay in lower gravity.
After finishing his master thesis
Hans-Jurgen Rombaut was elected
Fellow of the Lunar Academy of
Arts and Sciences.
Illustrations Moon Hotel: © 2001 Hans-Jurgen Rombaut
Illustration Lunar Academy of Arts and Sciences: Paul van Susante