Teacup Experimental Farm

Teacup is one of the last buildings constructed for Moon Town – after the vast farm atriums but before the most ambitious hab, Long Dome. By the time it’s built, manufacture of clear glass is an automated process continuously pumping out a variety of standard pieces, some measuring meters across, and custom pieces can be much larger still. Sophisticated lamination of many pieces is a well practiced art, including sandwich designs with a liquid core that may optimize the absorption of radiation particles, or play a role in thermal control. The roof is a new high mark in engineering scale and precision. 

When complete, the facility is dedicated to experiments in ecology design and adaptation of plants and animals to the moon, either to be crops or to support an increasingly closed biosphere.

In fairness, Teacup is really several projects that are being presented together for now because it isn’t developed enough to present them separately. Proposals for any part of it are appropriate.

Key systems of Teacup have not yet been addressed. The shutter system for the roof that regulates how much sunlight enters hasn’t been created. During construction boulders gathered during other construction projects were laid over the foundation before molten stone was poured over everything. Then, radiant cooling pipes were laid over the whole floor and more molten stone was poured over them. Those circuits lead to buried water tanks under the radiators dotted around the rim of the structure. 

The stacked rings of wedge shaped planters are intended to be cycled in and out of the sun by switching the top ones for ones underneath at regular intervals. Whatever way planters are handled in later versions, some capacity to time-share the sunlight should probably be incorporated, and how planters move around to do that should be automated. Systems to switch lighting to artificial sources and use that to optimize growth overnight needs creating.

Areas dedicated to creation and testing of fertile soil need to be designed. Also composting areas, seedling and sprouting areas, an insect development area, a chemical mixing and batching area, and a botany lab area. And anything else that ought to be there. Detail can be added over time, the main thing at this point is to rough in everything needed. Possibly this would be the best hab to use for doing a first draft of life support systems – scrubbers, filters, tanks, dehumidifiers, ducts, water treatment, all of that. (The only hab that has any of that drafted at this point is First Gallery, which has cooling and air filtration and circulation systems for the whole thing, and utility areas set aside for other critical functions in the one existing Neighborhood. )

The glass sections of the roof are laminated together to a thickness sufficient to block out most cosmic radiation, as it is assumed people who spend time here will do so over the course of decades. Options are to either brazenly layer up the glass until it’s something like 2.5 m thick, or sandwich a layer of ammonia water between layers of glass. Either way this is one of those moments where the scale of manufacturing in this town really hits you. The habitat is 300 m across, so this proposition involves something like 7500 cubic meters of quality clear glass if it was the sole glazing material.

There is a channel on our Discord server for discussion of the design of this equipment. Come join if there is anything you’d like to comment on or ask – https://discord.gg/MxqPQ8RSxz

Also see the Projects page for general guidance on designing for Moonwards – materials, infrastructure, transport, practices, and main reference works.