Moon Exploration, new technologies and the Google X Prize
Moon is considered an excellent basis from which to study universe and specially our planet. The landing of the first humans on the Moon in 1969 was a milestone of the space exploration and one of the most important events of the 20th century. The 21th century is characterized by a renewed attention to Moon exploration also thanks to the Google X Prize. Evolution in space missions demands always more technology developments and the Google Lunar X PRIZE is giving a big impulse in this direction. In future missions we could build a lunar base or we could send manned explorations to Mars or other planets. Lower cost and weight are required, this has led to new structure concepts such as inflatable structures.
Inflatable structures for space applications were developed decades ago, at the state of the art they are very competitive to traditional metal structures for applications in extreme environments. Inflatable structures are alredy been designed for different purposes such as inflatable re-entry and deceleration systems, antennas and reflectors, solar concentrator system deployment/support structures and space habitats for space and planetary applications. Inflatable structures allow low mission cost, low storage volume, high volume/weight ratio and are easy to deploy. The NASA TransHab and IRDT capsule are two of the most famous exemples of applications but within a short time we could see huge developments for lunar applications.