L U N A R I S K
Neil Armstrong’s first step on the Moon epitomised mankind’s boundless ambition for exploration. Indeed, a first step of the many to come, as we extend our thoughts on the colonisation of the Moon and beyond. Various agencies worldwide have proposed concepts of establishing infrastructure on the lunar surface. Yet, the process of setting up such a base is often overlooked, in particular the transport of resources to the moon. Through decades of orbital missions, hazardous space debris have accumulated around Earth’s orbit. Travelling at high velocities, these seemingly insignificant debris can cause huge damage to spacecraft, causing danger to the cargo and passengers within. We present a novel modification to proposed supply chain systems between Earth and the Moon. The addition of a harvesting system to spacecraft flying on these routes allows the collection of these debris during the transport process. Upon arrival on the Moon, the compressed debris are sorted based on their composition, similar to waste processing plants on Earth. Collected debris can supplement the main mining operations on the Moon, providing additional resources and keeping these transport routes safe at the same time. These processing plants will be situated near lunar lava tubes, hollow areas left behind by ancient basaltic lava flows. Due to the lack of an atmosphere on the Moon, the lava tubes offer an ideal location for the establishment for settler colonies as they offer protection from various cosmic hazards and drastic temperature fluctuations. It is with great hope that such processing plants are a mainstay of interplanetary colonisation, allowing efficient use of resources and protecting critical trade routes from the danger of space debris.