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AtomicDog
2006-Jun-23, 05:12 PM
Ever since the VSE was announced, I've been trying to think of things lunar explorers might need to make their jobs easier.

1. Binoculars. I can't imagine how you can use them wearing a helmet. How about instead a helmet cam with a zoom lens with the monitor either mounted inside the helmet or projected in eyeglasses. It also allows Mission Control to get a POV of what the astronauts see.

2. Navigation. Using LPS (Lunar Positioning Stations) set up around the exploration site to make getting to new sites and finding your way back to base easier. I can imagine that after a few weeks of exploring, following rover tracks won't be easy.


Any other ideas? Comments?

antoniseb
2006-Jun-23, 07:30 PM
Hi AtomicDog,

For the specific things you're talking about, I expect that people on foot on the moon will have a heads up computer display in their helmet that will let them see magnified video, and have access to GPS information.

For the most part, I think that we'll have a mostly robotic presence on the moon for a long time. It just doesn't make much sense to both risk human life, or send the kind of things required for them to survive. Congressional budgets will weigh these facts pretty heavily as the choice to increase the size of the operation comes up.

AtomicDog
2006-Jun-23, 07:54 PM
With all due respect, please don't turn this thread into a humans vs. robots discussion. I want to see boots again on the Moon, have wanted to for 34 years, and now I finally see the chance for it happening again. Robots have their place, but that that place is for paving the way for and assisting human exploration. Humans risk their lives every day in far less noble endeavors.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-23, 07:54 PM
I doubt people will spend much time on the surface of the moon in space suits. The radiation is a killer. Nor will they often remote operate robots as that can be done from earth. Astronauts on the moon will spend most of their time sheltering from radiation and constantly maintianing their life support systems and going over emergency procedures in order to preserve their lives. However, if suicide astronauts were used then they could spend less time on life support and more time outside working in space suits. Then when they became too sick from radiation or life support failed they could take an overdose of painkillers for a quick death. Suicide astronauts may seem an unlikely scenario, but when you think of all the lives that could be saved on earth with the money that wouldn't have to be spent on return trips and safety systems it makes a sick kind of sense. It is possible that unpleasent govenments will engage in it in the future.

AtomicDog
2006-Jun-23, 08:07 PM
Anyway, back to the OP. Has there been any thought to assigning internet domains to the moon and other planetary bodies? It would be a great way to keep Earthside researchers in touch with the base to relay instructions and data back and forth.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-23, 08:13 PM
Interesting point, Ronald... have you considered how many children might not go hungry if you cancelled your internet service and sent that money to feedthechildren.org or some other charity?

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-23, 09:29 PM
Interesting point, Ronald... have you considered how many children might not go hungry if you cancelled your internet service and sent that money to feedthechildren.org or some other charity?

Don't quite get this. Do you think that because totalitarian government X decides to condem some of their slaves to death in order to keep a greater number of other slaves alive it has something to do with me and charity? Or if alturistic astronauts say, "Forget about a return trip, give the money to my favourite charity and tell Mom I love her," it also has something to do with me and charity?

Or is this just a straight forward question with no hidden meaning? Well I'm good at them, so let's see. I spend about a dollar a day for internet use total. Grain costs about $155 dollars per ton. Let's asume these children are active and need at least 10,000 kilojoules a day and are currently on the edge of starvation and are only getting 5,000 kilojoules. There are nearly 2,000 kilojoules in 100 grams of wheat so let's say a third of a kilo of grain is enough to stop a child going hungry. Let's also assume that at least two thirds of the money go on distribution costs as severe hunger is often found in isolated regions. That means that very roughly the cost of my internet use could stop about six and a half children going hungry at any one time.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-24, 02:41 AM
Any other ideas? Comments?

Space age sandbags. Send two ships. One of them is a shelter. Fill specially designed and shaped sandbags with lunar regolith and place them around the shelter to serve as a radiation and micrometeorite shield. You will need a machine for scooping up the dust and grit. I imagine it would be very lightweight and would slowly trundle along collecting lunar dirt. Human muscles might be needed to fill the actual sand bags. It would be powered by a solar panel that could be detached and used for other purposes. With no wind and low gravity the solar panel could be quite large.

The base would be at one of the poles for constant solar power and possible ice deposits.

Mirrors could be used to concentrate solar heat. Make a big pile of dirt. Concentrate sunlight on it until the rock melts on the outside. When it cools down, remove the loose dirt from inside to make an airtight rock shelter.

Rocket ariel: Since radio communication is difficult out of line of sight, have a spool of thin wire with a pencil sized compressed gas rocket than can be fired and used to make radio contact in an emergency.

Since normal refining isn't practical on the moon, vapourise rock and seperate out the elements based on their atomic weight. (I admit this is a bit like cracking a walnut with a grenade strapped to a slegehammer.)

Use magnets to sift through lunar dust and collect iron meteorite particals as a source of steel.

That's all for now.

JonClarke
2006-Jun-24, 03:04 AM
I doubt people will spend much time on the surface of the moon in space suits. The radiation is a killer. Nor will they often remote operate robots as that can be done from earth. Astronauts on the moon will spend most of their time sheltering from radiation and constantly maintianing their life support systems and going over emergency procedures in order to preserve their lives. However, if suicide astronauts were used then they could spend less time on life support and more time outside working in space suits. Then when they became too sick from radiation or life support failed they could take an overdose of painkillers for a quick death. Suicide astronauts may seem an unlikely scenario, but when you think of all the lives that could be saved on earth with the money that wouldn't have to be spent on return trips and safety systems it makes a sick kind of sense. It is possible that unpleasent govenments will engage in it in the future.

Not true. Cosmic ray exposure on the lunar surface is essentially the same in LEO. Over a dozen individuals have each accumulated more than a year of flight time onboard the ISS and Mir over the last 30 years. No sucide missions, nobody killed. EVAs will be curtailed for the relatively brief duration of solar flares, but that is all.

Jon

JonClarke
2006-Jun-24, 03:24 AM
Ever since the VSE was announced, I've been trying to think of things lunar explorers might need to make their jobs easier.
Any other ideas? Comments?

Interesting questions. I assume you don't need a list of scientific equipment, as that's a given. For simplicity I will confine myself to the 4 person, 2 week scenario of the first VSE crews.

Inside the spacecraft

Dustpan, broom, small vacuum clearer for dust control.

Small library of books, music, films, for relaxation in off ours.

Immediate entry area to spacecraft

Electric brushes to remove dust.

Flexible matting to keep boots clean.

Suit equipment

Binoculars are an excellent idea. Digital binoculars would probject an image onto a screen which, with a suitable light shield, could be easily be used with a helmet.

Laser range finder (distance judging is difficult on the Moon). It could be mounted on the helmet and linked to a HUD, or fitted to the binoculars, or be a separate systm. Many commerical bincoulars have these already.

Lights for looking into shadowed areas. Apollo suits do not, alight the Orlan and current US ISS suits do.

Rovers

Two two-person unpressurised rovers.

Power take off for a range of equipment, such as a small dozer blade, backhoe, and auger drill.

Pressurised ball tent for emergencies and to extend range, if required.

Trailer for extra equipment

Supply caches at strategic locations for emergencies and range extension.

Longer missions

These items would also be useful for longer missions (several months/lunar days. For them to the above items I would add:

Analytical equipment and other internal experiment units for work during the lunar night.

Floodlights for the spacecraft exterior, ditto.

Headlights on rovers, ditto. I am assuming that night time work would consist of servicing or emergency work in the immediate vicinity of the spacecraft.

Jon

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-24, 07:41 AM
Not true. Cosmic ray exposure on the lunar surface is essentially the same in LEO. Over a dozen individuals have each accumulated more than a year of flight time onboard the ISS and Mir over the last 30 years. No sucide missions, nobody killed. EVAs will be curtailed for the relatively brief duration of solar flares, but that is all.

Is this because you have a big ball of rock between you and half the radiation? I was thinking of the amount of radiation the apollo astronauts received on the way to the moon and back, which was not a problem for those trips but would be a problem over extended periods.

But actually I'm more worried about the possibility of people being sent on semi-suicide missions for the glory of totalitarian country X that are devoid of real benefit, scientific or economic for the people of that country.

PhantomWolf
2006-Jun-24, 08:04 AM
2. Navigation. Using LPS (Lunar Positioning Stations) set up around the exploration site to make getting to new sites and finding your way back to base easier. I can imagine that after a few weeks of exploring, following rover tracks won't be easy.

Actually the Apollo LRV had an onboard navigation system already. It was able to determine which direction and how far the Rover had traveled from the LM so that the crew could find their way back without having to retrace their tracks.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-24, 09:20 AM
Is this because you have a big ball of rock between you and half the radiation? I was thinking of the amount of radiation the apollo astronauts received on the way to the moon and back, which was not a problem for those trips but would be a problem over extended periods.

But actually I'm more worried about the possibility of people being sent on semi-suicide missions for the glory of totalitarian country X that are devoid of real benefit, scientific or economic for the people of that country.

Amusement can result in an economic benefit. If people are willing to go despite the dangers then let them.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-24, 10:31 AM
Amusement can result in an economic benefit. If people are willing to go despite the dangers then let them.

I figure that's what private enterprise is for.

JonClarke
2006-Jun-25, 02:58 AM
Is this because you have a big ball of rock between you and half the radiation? I was thinking of the amount of radiation the apollo astronauts received on the way to the moon and back, which was not a problem for those trips but would be a problem over extended periods.

That's right. As for the journey to and from its only three days, so radiation is not going to be a problem.


But actually I'm more worried about the possibility of people being sent on semi-suicide missions for the glory of totalitarian country X that are devoid of real benefit, scientific or economic for the people of that country.

The only totalitarian systems that have sent people into space have been the USSR and China. They both both paid close attention to safety and, in the case of the USSR, their two fatal missions resulted in far reaching investigations and systems improvements. The cost and high profile of crewed missions means that even totaliatrian systems have to take due care. So I don't think you need to worry!

Jon

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-25, 07:19 AM
That's right. As for the journey to and from its only three days, so radiation is not going to be a problem.

Also I didn't think that a fair swack of that radiation exposure must have come from passing through the Van Allen belts.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-25, 10:33 PM
I figure that's what private enterprise is for.

Same with government programs, as long as the participants are volunteers. As for amusement, that is also one of the jobs of government. That's why they put on fairs, school sporting events, parades, fireworks shows, and ceremonies of various kinds. That's what the moon race was all about. Prestige, hope, exploration is all about amusement.

publiusr
2006-Jun-28, 07:27 PM
A lot of heavy mining equipment run off electricity. I'd loove to see a big Caterpiller assembled in LEO and lashed atop a Sea Dragon upper stage.

Imagine a big front-end loader surrounded with JATOs (or something like them) landing on the Moon.

Now THAT"S construction.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-28, 10:05 PM
I say we send a Tunnel Boring Machine to the moon. Then we won't have to worry about meteorites and radiation.

publiusr
2006-Jun-29, 07:17 PM
That too!