Analysis of a lunar base structure using the discrete-element method

Axel R. Tóth, Katalin Bagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


A lunar base structure must provide protection against various hazards such as bombardment by meteorites, radiation, or extreme changes in temperature. A possible structural solution was proposed in the literature. The lunar base, planned to be built in a long, narrow valley with solid rock walls, would consist of three main elements: a masonry vault, supported by the rock walls of the valley; a regolith layer a few meters thick on top of it to dissipate radiation and the kinetic energy of impacting meteorites, and to balance temperature; and inflatable units under the arch to serve as a living area for humans. The objective was to check the feasibility of this idea from a structural mechanics point of view. A two-dimensional discrete-element model of the vault-regolith system was constructed, and the behavior of the structure under its own weight was analyzed. Initial simulations on the effect of meteorite impacts were conducted, but a significantly improved model would be required to continue this analysis. This note summarizes the results to date.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-401
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2011


  • Distinct element
  • Granular material
  • Masonry arch
  • Regolith
  • UDEC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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