What are the main challenges for someone (such as Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk) to mass-produce a flight-ready inflatable habitat(1000 of them), capable of sustaining 16 humans, and use them to build a city on the Moon? Ideally, using existing robotic technology.

1000 of these inflatable modules, holding 16 people each, would be able to sustain 16,000 people.

Would it be practical, within the next 20 years, to do this?

Plants could be grown via hydroponics, and the habitats could probably use these plants to generate oxygen and filter water.

Bonus points, would it be easier in Geostationary Orbit(36,000 miles up)? Seeing as you'd almost always be in sunlight,there'd be no need for any battery, but you would need a way to spin up the 16,000-person station to have artificial gravity.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd shoot for having one up there first-- then you'd approximately know how easy 1,000 of them would be. $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2020 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ "Is X practical" questions get closed quickly because they ask for answers that are primarily opinion based. Can you rewrite this so that it asks for fact-based answers? For example "What are the technical challenges to robotically deploying a habitat made from several Bigelow B2100s on the Moon prior to arrival of a crewed mission?" Also dropping the names and focusing only on the technical challenges would be a good idea. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 8, 2020 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ Starship is a very bad lunar lander. Check out Dr. Zubrin's (e.g. here but also anywhere else) statements on this. Its heavy structure, fins, and engines are designed for atmospheric reentry and only act as dead weight when landing on the Moon. Also, any initial cargo deployed would be exposed to very dangerous debris blasted off the lunar surface by the Raptor engines. $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2020 at 6:23
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    $\begingroup$ Zubrin tends to focus myopically on measures of efficiency that aren't particularly relevant. Starship could land potentially around a hundred tons of cargo on the moon and come back for another go, hardly a "very bad lunar lander". A similar sized dedicated single-use lander could land more, but it couldn't do much else, and nobody's building such a thing. As for the debris issue, it's not clear that Zubrin's concerns are realistic (the exhaust velocity is not the velocity of the entrained debris, and Starship might not even use the Raptors for the final stages of a lunar landing). $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2020 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say it's perfectly answerable in current form: "No." Even if it was technically viable, the financial, scientific and political incentives simply aren't there. Nobody capable of funding it cares enough about a 16,000 people colony on the Moon enough to even bother thinking. In more distant future - maybe. In next 20 years - none of the significant players is interested. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Jan 8, 2020 at 14:30


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