View Full Version : Tracking Meteoroid Impacts on the Moon

2006-May-03, 07:04 PM
SUMMARY: It's been said that a metric ton of meteoroids hit the Moon every day. For the Apollo astronauts, this wasn't much of a risk - the Moon's a big place, and they didn't stay long. For future long term bases on the Moon, however, things could be riskier. NASA scientists are using seismometers on the Moon to track the frequency of meteoroid impacts. When objects strike the Moon, they send shockwaves through the ground that can be detected many kilometres away.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/meteoroid_galileo_moon.html)
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2006-May-03, 07:42 PM
The end of this story talks about placing better more sophisticated seismometers on the moon and Mars. I am very much in favor of this. The sooner the better (within budgetary constraints). We DO need to know how much protection the future Moon bases will need.

I suspect that we will eventually decide that we'll need to send a robotic bull doser to bury most of the Moon base before the people show up.

2006-May-04, 01:49 PM

We need a network of seismometers on the moon to get data which tell us how many impacts of a certain energy level take place on the moon during a certain period of time. But even if strong impacts turn out to be scarce, this does not mean that they will not take place.
A meteor of 250 grams, hitting the moon at a speed of 30 km/s has a kinetic energy that is equivalent to that of a 15 inch shell hitting at 700m/s. Such a shell can penetrate 16 inches of steel armor.

As we will not be able to use steel armor strong enough to withstand such an energy burst on the moon, we can only design the base station such that the effect of an impact cannot affect the entire station.
The station should be built in seperated sections, which are linked together with tunnels, each tunnel with a solid airlock at each end. The entire building should be covered by a thick layer of moon regolith, which gives protection against solar and cosmic radiation and small meteors.

I think that lack of water, oxygen, food, energy or spare parts, or a sudden desease of a crew member can turn out to become a much greater problem on the moon than the threat posed by meteor impacts.
I would not like to get a toothache on the moon...