Significant endeavor is needed to establish human settlement on the Moon. Limited launch weight and high launch costs are limiting factors to this effort. Only feasible way is to build self-supporting base heavily relying on the local resources.
South pole location is ideal, as it offers advantages in terms of sufficient solar exposure, limited temperature gradient and presence of the water. Peak of eternal light on the edge of de Gerlache crater provides perfect location for PV power plant. Therefore base can be fully supplied only by PV. Ice in the Shackleton crater provides crucial resource for establishing permanent base on the Moon.
To achieve inexpensive construction and operation, base itself is designed as predominantly self-supporting as it relies on locally produced energy, building materials and foodstuff.
Main base constructions are built from cast regolith blocks. This technique does not require Earth produced binding agent. Construction itself is done by specialized autonomous vehicles. Regolith blocks are arranged to domed and vaulted structures which are covered by massive layer of regolith in order to provide radiation shielding.
Spatial layout of the base is built around on modified linear cities concept. It is based on the predefined zones of development and directions of growth. Growth zones are fully utilized when number of inhabitants reach 300 people. With rising number of inhabitants new growth pattern needs to be established. Reverting current pattern to the grid based development with provide further growth.
Electrical consumption of the base is fully covered by solar production. For added redundancy and to bypass need for the expensive and heavy batteries, insulated heat accumulator is be constructed in order to store electrical energy converted to heat. Cast regolith insulated with reflective insulation is sufficient method to minimize losses. Due to absence of convection in the vacuum, radiation is only heat loss option.
To achieve self-supporting moon base, closed regenerative life support is needed. Multispecies bio-regenerative ecosystem provide oxygen and filters water necessary for sustaining life on the base. System is designed as symbiotic structure utilizing all byproducts and leftovers. Purely hydroponic system can be converted to aquaponic system when base population reaches 100 people. Insect farming is added to the system to create additional source of fertilizer in order to produce more nutrient demanding plants.
As a by-product system provided wide variety of foods sufficient to healthy development of the population. Leftovers from the food production, non-edible parts of plants and fishes can be fed back to the system.
Regenerative life support provides two important features necessary for psychological well being of the inhabitants. It provides sufficient variety of the foods and offers comfort by interaction with living organisms.
Base itself is supported by four remote sites. PV field on de Gerlache providing electricity. Launch pad far from the base serving as a main transportation hub. Hydrogen-Oxygen rocket fuel production facility delivering fuel from ice deposits. Astronomical observatory on the far side of the Moon shielded from earth based radio noise.