Pantheon habitat made from regolith, with a focusing solar reflector: Pantheon Habitat

Nick Woolf, Roger Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We describe a polar Moon base habitat using direct solar energy for construction, food production and atmospheric revitalization. With a growing area as large as 2000 m 2, it could provide for 40 or more people. The habitat is built like the ancient Roman Pantheon, a stone structure with a top circular oculus, bringing in focused sunlight that is spread out to crops below. The conical, corbelled structure is built from cast regolith blocks, held in compression despite the large internal atmospheric pressure by a regolith overlayer 20-30 m thick. It is sealed on the inside against leaks with thin plastic. A solar mirror concentrator used initially to cast the building blocks is later used to illuminate the habitat through a small pressure window at the oculus. Three years of robotic preparation of the building blocks does not seem excessive for a habitat which can be expected to last for millennia, as has the Treasury of Atreus made by similar dry-stone construction. One goal of returning to the Moon is to demonstrate the practicality of long-term human habitation off the Earth. The off-axis, paraboloidal reflecting mirror is rotated about the vertical polar axis in order to direct horizontal sunlight downward to a focus. In this way, the heavy materials needed from Earth to build and power the habitat are largely limited to the solar concentrator and regolith moving and moulding equipment. By illuminating with a reflector rather than with electricity, the solar collection area is 20 times smaller than would be needed for PV cells. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Astronomy from the Moon: The next decades'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20200142
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2188
StatePublished - Jan 11 2021


  • Moon
  • greenhouse
  • in situ resource
  • lunar habitat
  • solar collector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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