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Northrop Grumman selected by DARPA to develop concept for lunar railroad

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected by DARPA to develop further the concept of building a moon-based railroad network as part of the broader 10-year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) Capability Study.

The envisioned lunar railroad network could transport humans, supplies and resources for commercial ventures across the lunar surface, contributing to a space economy for the United States and international partners.

Northrop Grumman’s study will:

  • Define the interfaces and resources required to build a lunar rail network.

  • Establish a critical list of foreseeable cost, technological and logistical risks.

  • Identify prototypes, demonstrations and analyses of a fully operating lunar rail system’s concept design and architecture.

  • Explore concepts for constructing and operating the system with robotics, including grading and foundation preparation, track placement and alignment, joining and finishing, inspection, maintenance and repair.

DARPA’s LunA-10 Capability Study. Launched in 2023, the 10-Year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) capability study aims to develop foundational technology concepts that move away from individual scientific efforts within isolated, self-sufficient systems, toward a series of shareable, scalable systems that interoperate—minimizing lunar footprint and creating monetizable services for future lunar users.

The seven-month study will include both lunar providers and users. It will seek to establish an analytical framework that defines new opportunities for rapid scientific and commercial activity on and around the Moon through collective infrastructure investments, and also identifies related technical challenges. DARPA anticipates making final analytical frameworks for lunar infrastructure available to the public.

The study’s thrust areas, derived from a subset of key sectors identified in a market analysis of the future lunar economy, include transit/mobility; energy; communications; and other revolutionary orbital or surface infrastructure concepts.



Truly Random.
I would posit that a lunar sub-surface warren of tunnels (perhaps Musk Boring tunnels) may be more appropriate to the current conditions of high radiation, meteoroid impacts, temperature fluctuations, and ruthless environment - though I am not sure the usefulness/practicality of the soils/regolith of such a place - but the British certainly went to a lot of trouble designing early moonbases to such subterranean effect decades go.

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