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View Full Version : Building a Base on the Moon: Challenges and Hazards



Fraser
2008-Feb-07, 08:50 AM
So, we want to go to the Moon. Why? Because the Moon is an ideal "staging post" for us to accumulate materials and manpower outside of the Earth's deep gravitational well. From the Moon we can send missions into deep space and ferry colonists to Mars. Tourists may also be interested in a short visit. [...]

Building a Moon Base (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/02/07/building-a-base-on-the-moon-challenges-and-hazards/): Part 1

Noclevername
2008-Feb-07, 09:38 AM
This sounds like a really interesting project. Maybe by the time we go back, there will be several groups able to reach the Moon, and multiple methods can be tried.

One question not addressed is life support. With supply shipments far between and much more expensive than lofting goods to the ISS, a Moonbase will have to be able to support itself for at least months at a time.

Sticks
2008-Feb-07, 02:11 PM
So long as we don't support nuclear waste there with the potential to wrench it out of orbit and move at reletavisic speeds ;)

Noclevername
2008-Feb-08, 01:48 AM
So long as we don't support nuclear waste there with the potential to wrench it out of orbit and move at reletavisic speeds ;)

And yet somehow still travel slowly enough that we can send our Eagles to land on planets we pass. :)

EndeavorRX7
2008-Feb-08, 03:06 AM
If we mine the moon and bring thousands of tons of material back to earth, would we have to replace the mass removed with something from earth?

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-08, 03:14 AM
If we mine the moon and bring thousands of tons of material back to earth, would we have to replace the mass removed with something from earth?

No, that's not a problem. It's not going to cause problems to remove some of the moon's mass. The moon will stay where it is.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-08, 03:20 AM
If we mine the moon and bring thousands of tons of material back to earth, would we have to replace the mass removed with something from earth?

If we can someday take thousands of tons of anything from the Moon, we're probably going to use them in space. Earth already has its own stuff.

JustAFriend
2008-Feb-08, 10:20 PM
IF we can find a decent-sized asteroids with enough deposits of minerals/metals and possibly even ice, it would make more sense to exploit them rather than dive deep into a 1/6th Earth-gravity well and have to fling ourselves out again.

I remember reading an old Asimov essay where he estimated that a Ceres or Vesta-sized asteroid could be hollowed out to 50ft-high decks spaced 50-feet apart--- you'd not only end up with trillion$ in ore but the land area of the United States.

Luna is big and close but it may not be the best place for a "stepping stone" out into the rest of the Solar System.....

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-08, 11:01 PM
IF we can find a decent-sized asteroids with enough deposits of minerals/metals and possibly even ice, it would make more sense to exploit them rather than dive deep into a 1/6th Earth-gravity well and have to fling ourselves out again.

The fuel fraction of the Apollo lunar landers was about 75%. More efficient engines could improve this, but huge improvements cant be achieved with chemical rockets. This makes the moon useless as a staging post for going to mars. If you've gotten stuff out of earth's gravity well the last thing you want to do is dump it in another nearby gravity well. It's a lot easier to just send it to mars. If we are able to extract water and other materials from the moon which saves us from having to bring stuff from earth, then it could be usefull for trips to mars. However, it would be cheaper in terms of energy to get it from asteroids. Of course a low cost trip and back to even earth crossing asteroids will take a lot longer than a trip to the moon, but the savings could be worth the wait.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-09, 03:59 PM
The fuel fraction of the Apollo lunar landers was about 75%. More efficient engines could improve this, but huge improvements cant be achieved with chemical rockets. This makes the moon useless as a staging post for going to mars. If you've gotten stuff out of earth's gravity well the last thing you want to do is dump it in another nearby gravity well. It's a lot easier to just send it to mars. If we are able to extract water and other materials from the moon which saves us from having to bring stuff from earth, then it could be usefull for trips to mars. However, it would be cheaper in terms of energy to get it from asteroids. Of course a low cost trip and back to even earth crossing asteroids will take a lot longer than a trip to the moon, but the savings could be worth the wait.

I don't think the actual NASA plans include using the Moon as a literal staging post, just as a test bed. The article just uses the term as a metaphor, I think.

Besides, we still need Lunar shelters to actually put people on the Moon for its own sake.