The idea of scientific and industrial projects on the moon is becoming less and less science fiction. Researchers at Construction Technology Laboratories recently made a very small batch of concrete using 1.4 ounces of lunar soil provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and a calcium aluminate cement made on earth. The properties of the concrete test specimens made with the lunar soil were as good as or better than the properties of companion concrete test specimens made with good quality earth aggregate.
The only material needed to make concrete that is not available on the moon is water. Alumina cement theoretically can be produced by heating select moon rocks at high temperatures. Lunar rocks can also be crushed to coarse aggregate size, and the abundant lunar soils can be sieved to produce well graded fine aggregates. Though water is not available, it can be created by heating ilmenite, a soil found in the mare region on the moon, with hydrogen.
Design of buildings on the moon differs from design of buildings on earth. First, there are no wind or earthquake loads on the moon. Second, the lower gravity on the moon, one-sixth that of earth, could allow the span length of flexural members to be 140 percent longer. And, because there is no protective atmosphere, the building must be able to block cosmic radiation and to withstand micrometeorites, small particles which can strike the surface at up to 25 miles per second.