December 1986

[Complementary material last modified 11|19|2002]

Forward to the Online Edition of MMM #1, December, 1986

by Peter Kokh

There follows the introductory and only essay article in the first issue of Moon Miners Manifesto, December 1986, shortly after the founding in Milwaukee of what was then the Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society L5, a chapter of the L5 Society advocating settlements in space after the inspiration of Gerard K. O'Neill.

This piece is about the historical roots of the inspiration behind MMM. Herein lies the personal "eureka" that gave birth to the brainstorming chain of thought that continues throughout many articles in MMM through the present. It explains the third "M", "the Manifesto". For while many readers refer to MMM simply as "Moon Miners", to Peter Kokh, the emphasis has always been on the third M. To him, this newsletter is "The Manifesto".

"M" IS FOR "MOLE"

by Peter Kokh
"M" is for "mole", which is what many people, even some prominent space advocates, think settlers of the Moon are going to be. Yes, lunar habitats and facilities will be covered by some 2-4 meters (6-13 feet) of lunar soil or "regolith." But, while such a shielding overburden is necessary for long- term protection from cosmic rays, solar flare outbursts, and the sun's ultraviolet rays, this does not mean that we "moon miners" can't take the glory and warmth of sunshine down below with us!

A year ago last Spring [May, 1985], following up on an ad in The Milwaukee Journal's Sunday Home Section, I went to see a marvelous place called "Terra Luxe" [Earth Light] in the Holy Hill area about twenty miles northwest of Milwaukee*. Here, architect-builder Gerald Keller (German for "cellar") had built a most unusual earth-sheltered or underground home.

Run-of-the-mill underground homes are covered by earth above and to the west, the north, and the east, while being open and exposed to the sun along the south through a long window wall. But Mr. Keller's large home (some 8,000 square feet) was totally underground except for the north-facing garage door. Yet the house was absolutely awash in sunlight, more so than any conventional above-ground house I had ever seen. Sunlight poured in through yard wide circular shafts spaced periodically through main room ceilings. These shafts were tiled with one inch wide mirror strips. Above on the surface, an angled cowl**, also mirrored on the inside, followed the sun across the sky from sunup to sundown at the bidding of a computer program named "George" (undoubtedly of "let-George-do-it" fame).

And, even more amazingly, through an ingenious application of the periscope principle on the scale of picture windows, in every direction you could look straight ahead out onto the surrounding countryside, even though you were eight feet underground. I felt far less "shut in" than I do in my own Milwaukee bungalow.

Terra Luxe was built as an idea house and my tour cost $4. This home would make an ideal group field trip tour, but unfortunately, some visitor found it too irresistible, and it is now privately owned.

Of course, Mr. Keller's ingenious ideas to bring down below both sunshine and view, would have to be adapted to lunar building conditions. But I have no doubt that they could be. Mr. Keller told me that he had drawn up plans and blueprints for a whole city using his principles. Someday, I'd like to see them. If the streets and byways of his city were similarly built*** in a sun-drenched pressurized underground conduit, so one could leave one's lunar home and go anywhere throughout the settlement without putting on a spacesuit, why, it'd be better than living in the Milwaukee I love! - Peter Kokh, November, 1986.

Photo of Exterior of Terra Luxe

Photo taken on the morning of October 15, 2002, more than 17 years later. Visible are the exterior panes of a trio of periscopic picture windows, and several modified skylights. The originals had mirrored cowls which followed the sun across the sky, resetting their position each night. More than eight feet of soil covers the home.

 

* MapQuest detail location for 4631 Sonseeahray Drive, Hubertus (Washington County), WI puts the red star, indicating property location, towards the NW end of Sonseeahray Drive. It is actually located at the SE end of the drive, being the first property on the left as you enter off Hubertus Road.

** There may have been subsequent problems either with the "helostat" seals, the mechanical apparatus, or the computer controls, as these sun-following mirrored hoods have long since been replaced by fixed bubble dome covers.

*** see the table top model we produced in 1998


Imagineering in the spirit of Terra Luxe

 

 A cut-away Table Top "Moon Manor" Lunar Homestead display, inspired by Terra Luxe, was designed and built for the ISDC 1998 exhibit hall (with further elaboration inspired by Dr. B.C. Wolverton)


Diagram of the Exhibit


Later articles in MMM inspired by Terra Luxe
  • (coming!)

 


 

The Original Ad in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal, May, 1985
Text plus my rendering of the Graphics

DEFIES feeling "underground"...!

BRIGHT DAYLIGHT - TRUE OUTDOOR VIEWS!

  • 11 periscope-like mirrored-windows.
  • 13 unique sun-tracking skylights.
  • Climate controlled interior.

STROLL THRU this 8,000 sq. ft. "SHOWPLACE"

DESIGNED IN SWEEPING CURVES, four levels of spacious interior harmony ebb & flow. Indoor rock gardens. Waterfalls. Exotic dining, more! HOME OF THE FUTURE. Come, see!

ENERGY-SAVING features & low maintenance free funds to make dreams reality, improve lifestyle. TORNADO-proof! SUBTERRANEANS also offer fire & theft protection! Why build "UP?" Communities moving down now. YOU'LL BELIEVE IT WHEN YOU SEE THIS ONE!!

Landscaping in progress.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC DAILY 12-5, SUNDAYS 11-5. Tours $4 - for research and development. Children 12 & under ... free. Group rates.

Large groups call in advance.

Model 414-628-3315 - MILW. 438-0321

Hubertus, WISCONSIN - 15 mi. NW of Milwaukee

BRILLIANT CONCEPT BY GERALD KELLER

Issue Number: 
#1