What would a lunar colony look like

What would the facilities of a lunar colony look like?

Your scenario is not too different from some of the work I did before (urban planning in Abu Dhabi: also a harsh climate with semi-permanent residents who are used for science and raw material extraction). So I'll extrapolate that to your lunar city.

Required area - These percentages provide a general rule of thumb for a full community of 5,000 people, as well as a speculative figure for additional facilities in your lunar city. This works in steps.


Your employees include about 10% manual workers (individuals with no family members) and the remaining 90% families.

500 workers x household population of 1 = 500 people 4,500 workers x household population of 2.4 = 10,800 people Total population including family members = 11,300 people

So these numbers correspond to the following ground floor area (GFA)


Families - 4,500 workers have larger apartments for their families with an average of almost 100 m2 (including ancillary areas), i.e. 450,000 m2 for them

Bachelor / Bachelorette - 500 workers on almost 70 m² (including ancillary areas), i.e. 35,000 m²

The need for residential units assuming 4-storey apartments of different sizes is 485,000 m2, which corresponds to a floor area of ​​~ 12,000 m2 of building area .


We had an assumption of 3,000 m2 per 10,000 inhabitants, so we can pinch a large clinic with 3,000 m2 GFA. Make this a 2 story clinic what one Building area of ​​approx. 1,500 m2 .


I'm assuming 25% of families are school-age children, but I don't even have to do the math to know that you have a K-12 school of around 10,000 square feet that still has room. There is no need for higher education for such a small community: you will likely return to earth for it or study remotely. Vertical schools on 4 floors with shared facilities and indoor sports are available approx. 2,500 m² in size


This will be limited compared to Earth standards as I assume your lunar residents will do a lot of work at home to conserve resources, but you will need conference areas and rooms for visitors. So let's put 2,000 m2 aside for these eventualities. With 4 floors it is approx. 500 m2 building area

Retail / Grocery / Community

Since this is a complete but small community, you can compress these services into a single multi-purpose building with a GFA of approximately 3,000 m2. This is a small shop, sales area, meeting point and space for religious activities. We have one on 2 floors Base area of ​​approx. 1,500 m2

Main infrastructure

Power supply - In the "dome" you need at least two substations (small, easy to install in your building or underground). Water distribution - negligible space requirement. sewage - this has to flow downhill and you have a gravity of 1/6 so you have to build this network deep, with pumping stations on the moon (?). It doesn't take up a lot of space, but you have to take it into account. rubbish - what is not recycled, I suppose you need a place to dispose of it. Not everything can be recycled.

All of these are minor. If I combined these with footpaths and underground utilities, I would allocate a small 5% (nothing like on earth where cars and the like are needed) of the total community.

In your base, which you have requested as a complete community, there are a total of: 12,000 m2 of living space 1,500 m2 of floor space for healthcare 2,500 m2 of floor space for education 500 m2 of space for office / multi-purpose purposes 1,500 m2 of floor space for non-profit services 1,800 m2 of land use for infrastructure

19,800 m² for your entire community with families, facilities, sidewalks, infrastructure, etc. within the base in a maximum of four-story buildings . In a perfect circle, your base should have a radius of 80 m. Add airlocks and facilities outside the base. and take into account the logistics (things that come from the earth, power plants, water reclamation, sewerage) that take place outside of your lunar village.

EDIT: These are recommended comfortable Housing forms. You can use your imagination to make this more efficient (tunnels between buildings instead of footpaths to reduce empty space between buildings, higher densities, etc.).

Doug McClean

I doubt that children who grew up on the moon will return to earth for higher education. Gravity is six times stronger.


@DougMcClean - it was a little nervous but you are making a very good point. This could be a dead end in terms of returning generations to earth.