PDA

View Full Version : Could recent discoveries on the Moon be a boost for human spaceflight?



Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-23, 07:39 AM
Hello,

As we all know, human spaceflight is in big trouble. No funding, Orion/Ares fate uncertain, the ultimate goal - Moon/Flexible path uncertain.

But could the recent discoveries on the Moon (i.e. hydrogen, possibly water - more to be announced on a pressconference tomorrow) - be a boost for human spaceflight? I believe so. Mars has water and favorable conditions, but it's too far and too difficult to reach. The Moon however is a different case. We thought that it's lifeless, no water, a harsh environment. But now we are going to change our views.

solitonmanny
2009-Sep-23, 09:58 AM
Greetings,

This all depends on the actual items found and the amounts available, some water ice may be found in dark areas of craters but recovering said materiel efficiently may prove to be a bit more involved and difficult than has been dicussed in this and many other forums.

Again it will depend on what has been discovered.

Best wishes,

Manny

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-23, 11:01 AM
No matter what they say they think they have found this time, it won't change the fact that the Moon is about as dry as the legendary planet Dune. The current estimates suggest at least ~ 10 million acre-feet--enough to fill Lake Mead one third full (cf. Paul Spudis's congressional testimony, 2004 (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=12407)). Let's say they bump up this figure by an order of magnitude. Will that really be a game changer? I don't think so. Certainly not for our initial purposes. We should go to the Moon whether there is water or not. Will such water eventually affect space flight? Maybe not, if by flight you mean using water for rocket propellant. There is a big difference between mere presence of a resource, and an economically recoverable deposit; there is also a big difference between an economically recoverable deposit, and having the stuff already refined and sitting in your tank. If they ever want to actually grow their own food on the Moon, that's going to take huge amounts of water; rocket fuel may not be the highest, best use of lunar derived water.
___________________________
Beer and wine are good; water is better at the table.--Leonardo Da Vinci

samkent
2009-Sep-23, 11:54 AM
Maybe we should back up just a few feet and as ourselves something.

Should we even send humans to the Moon? Is manned exploration worth the huge sums of money needed? Exploration just for the sake of exploration doesn’t justify the expenditure of unlimited funds.
Can you name any other research project that consumes anywhere close to the amount of money needed?

You could have lakes of purified water, ingots of gold and platinum and piles of loose diamonds and still not get the interest of private industry. Without private industry making a profit all you will have is the worlds biggest money pit.

djellison
2009-Sep-23, 12:08 PM
Let's wait and see what the discoveries ARE first.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-23, 12:34 PM
Maybe we should back up just a few feet and as ourselves something.Maybe we should stay on topic.

marsbug
2009-Sep-23, 12:59 PM
It's hard to say what the effect will be without knowing the specifics of the discovery, but 'lots of water' is scientifically interesting, so it gives us one more reason to go and have a looksee.

samkent
2009-Sep-23, 02:18 PM
Maybe we should stay on topic.

Agreed.



Could recent discoveries on the Moon be a boost for human spaceflight?

IMO No. We have plenty of water and hydrogen down here. Until you can come up with a reason good enough to convince the tax payers we should go up there, the Moon budget will always be under the axe in favor of other pet projects.

Find proof of significant life (past or present) on Mars and you will see the Moon budget shoot up.

Antice
2009-Sep-23, 03:43 PM
While the capital investment needed to go to the moon in order to mine it is prohibitive and not something that can be even remotely reasonably be expected to pay off in profits. It does make sense to bring home whatever can bring in some bucks to help recoup some of the expenses involved in making a scientific outpost. I can imagine there being quite a few people willing to pay outrageous rates for genuine lunar gemstones if any can be found.

samkent
2009-Sep-23, 04:30 PM
Debeers had total sales of 6.88 billion dollars in 2008. I doubt what you could bring home would cover much more than the paint on the next lander.

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-23, 04:58 PM
A lunar outpost should first focus on using as much in situ resources as possible. However, I can think of a few things even a small outpost could provide as export. Not back to Earth mind you but to spacecraft going to beyond Earth orbit. Item one, lunar regolith as radiation shielding for sorties to elsewhere. Item two, oxygen for occupants and and as oxidizer. Item three, aluminum as fuel. Combined with lunar LOX, it could allow the moon to act as a fuel station for journeys farther afield, all with native moon materials. This would act as a savings as the moons gravity well is so much shallower then Earths. More developed outposts could provide food and repair facilities.

danscope
2009-Sep-23, 05:10 PM
While the capital investment needed to go to the moon in order to mine it is prohibitive and not something that can be even remotely reasonably be expected to pay off in profits. It does make sense to bring home whatever can bring in some bucks to help recoup some of the expenses involved in making a scientific outpost. I can imagine there being quite a few people willing to pay outrageous rates for genuine lunar gemstones if any can be found.
********************
Outpost? What advantages are there in calling the moon an outpost?
It took all the saturn V could muster to get a fragile capsule to the moon with 3 seconds of "spare fuel" at touchdown, and allowed us to return two good men and a handfull of gravel.
I don't see these cirumstances as promoting the moon as an outpost of convenience.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-23, 05:14 PM
Maybe we should stay on topic.

I think the question is on topic.

Just qualify it with the assumption that it's asked in spite of these discoveries.


Should we even send humans to the Moon[even considering the possibility of current discoveries- Added by Neverfly]? Is manned exploration worth the huge sums of money needed? Exploration just for the sake of exploration doesn’t justify the expenditure of unlimited funds.
Can you name any other research project that consumes anywhere close to the amount of money needed?

You could have lakes of purified water, ingots of gold and platinum and piles of loose diamonds and still not get the interest of private industry. Without private industry making a profit all you will have is the worlds biggest money pit.

Could recent discoveries on the Moon make it worth a return trip?
Maybe.

But what about the potential that is out there Beyond the Moon?

One doesn't need to see 'gold' on the horizon to place value in exploration. You need only see the horizon itself and ask what's beyond it.

---
Let's assume that these readings are inaccurate.

Let's assume there is no Gold, Crystallized carbon, water or any other natural resource viable on the Moon.

So what value has the Moon got that makes it worthwhile to explore?

Yes- Let's step back a moment- Back from time.
Stop thinking about JUST the now as we always seem to...

The Moon has 1/6 Earth G.

As it most likely will stand for a long time, humanity will not travel to the stars in the manner of Star Trek.
Even the low level stories written after the '69 Moon landing that ambitiously depicted us as having been to Mars, Venus or set up stations on the Moons of Jupiter have not come to fruition.
We have not even been BACK to the Moon.

People were asking this same question about the Americas.
Even discounting the gold or land in the Americas or Australia... Would our Global Climate be what it is today without having explored those continents and colonized them?

In our near future (Hundreds of years) our likeliest prospect is going to be puttering around the solar system.
Not the Moon. Not even Mars. But the Moons of Saturn and Jupiter.

We are currently concerned about... fossil fuels...
Concerned about the environment.
Concerned about living space.

At some point, we will need to face the costs incurred in doing something for Humanity itself. Something Lasting.

The Lesser gravity of the Moon, along with its proximity to Earth makes it an excellent launching ground.
It could be worthless in Every other regard (But I doubt that it is) and yet still be valuable enough to explore on that one condition alone: It can be our doorway to the Solar System.

Damburger
2009-Sep-23, 05:59 PM
Moon exploration is being held back by stingy budgets. Nothing short of a monolith is going to change that.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-23, 06:43 PM
Moon exploration is being held back by stingy budgets. Nothing short of a monolith is going to change that.

You would get the Moon Monolith Hoax believers assembling.

Buy my Book:
"A funny thing happened on the way to the Monolith."

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-23, 07:08 PM
Find proof of significant life (past or present) on Mars and you will see the Moon budget shoot up.
Wouldn't that make the Mars budget shoot up, rather than the Moon budget? Mars is already arguably a more juicy target than the Moon. We've got plenty of plans plotted out for Mars. Mars has all the P.R. buzz.

Hmm...if terrorist Mooninites attack us, then we'll use that as an excuse to invade Mars.

samkent
2009-Sep-23, 07:31 PM
Wouldn't that make the Mars budget shoot up, rather than the Moon budget?

Both would. But the current argument of practice on the Moon before Mars would gain a foot hold.

Right now the public at large sees no reason to go to either.

timb
2009-Sep-23, 08:02 PM
Hello,

As we all know, human spaceflight is in big trouble. No funding, Orion/Ares fate uncertain, the ultimate goal - Moon/Flexible path uncertain.

But could the recent discoveries on the Moon (i.e. hydrogen, possibly water - more to be announced on a pressconference tomorrow) - be a boost for human spaceflight?

These discoveries strike me as all too convenient.

marsbug
2009-Sep-23, 08:04 PM
IMO No. We have plenty of water and hydrogen down here. Until you can come up with a reason good enough to convince the tax payers we should go up there, the Moon budget will always be under the axe in favor of other pet projects.


For myself I'd be very happy to see a moonbase entirely run on non profit, money in = science, pictures and stories out lines, and I'd be happy to see my tax money go towards it, but I understand and respect that you probably don't feel the same.

The monetary relevance of finding water on the moon (if thats what the announcment actually is, if there is a significant amount,if its in an easily extractable form and if it doesn't all get slapped with a big 'scientifically important, do not drink' sticker) is that the moon base has convenient source of water oxygen and hydrogen and doesn't need to bring any from earth, hence reducing the amount and cost of consumables that it needs. That might be a small boost.

As a very outside, long term, possibility it might be possible to build fuel and launch spacecraft from the moon to low earth orbit, and save on launch costs out of earths big gravity well, but thats a possibility for the far future as from what I can see.

The goal of any moon base we are likely to see is not going to be near term tangiable profit, of all the possible reasons someone could want one that makes the least sense to me. Why even try to approach it from that angle?


Find proof of significant life (past or present) on Mars and you will see the Moon budget shoot up.

I know that this point of view is almost gospel in some circles, but I have to disagree. For a start when I imagine the world post discovery of martian life it's full of people saying to space science "you've found your aliens, why do you want to go back there still?" and "whats so special about grerms, we've got lots of them here". To say nothing of the possible controversy and backlash if it turns out to be closely related to earth life. I think there might actually be a big backlash against space exploration from it.

Also you can't plan around what you might find, and if you promise to justify the money spent on space by finding little green microbes on mars you run a high chance of crippling space exploration if it turns out there isn't any. I know that scientifically a null result is fine but a great many people won't see it that way.

And, for me, that reasoning seems to smack of the search for life being the only significant game in town. I know it gets a big reaction from the public but geology, solar system history, collecting ultra pristine meterorite and comet samples, learning to live on another world, building and running ultra sensitive infra red and radio telescopes, and exploration for its own sake can be exciting to if presented well. And none of those things require the presence of something unseen and so far unproven.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-23, 08:19 PM
these discoveries strike me as all too convenient.

alh 84001?

djellison
2009-Sep-23, 08:37 PM
it could allow the moon to act as a fuel station for journeys farther afield,.

This is the much repeated myth. It required MORE delta V to land on the moon that it does to land on Mars, for example. So by going to the Moon to fill up - you're simply wasting your time.

There may be some point at which refuelling on the moon makes sense - but I see no case for it being in a net positive trade space at the moment.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-23, 08:46 PM
Good point, Doug. This was what I always thought about lunar refuelling.

I do believe that Mars craft should be assembled in LEO and their journey should start from there.

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-23, 08:51 PM
Refueling on the moon makes no sense, but it might make sense to ship propellant (of some sort) from the moon into Earth orbit. Of course, the Moon still has an inconveniently deep gravity well--it may prove even better to ship propellant from Phobos/Deimos or even from various outer moons of Jupiter.

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-23, 09:42 PM
This is the much repeated myth. It required MORE delta V to land on the moon that it does to land on Mars, for example. So by going to the Moon to fill up - you're simply wasting your time.

There may be some point at which refuelling on the moon makes sense - but I see no case for it being in a net positive trade space at the moment.
Not land. No way land. Go into lunar orbit and have the materials shuttle up, on orbiters fueled by lunar materials.
Also you can get to lunar orbit relatively slowly by more fuel efficient means, like the Chandrayaan 1 probe, as it is relatively close, then jet to Mars using the exported fuel, having fueled and gotten extra shielding in lunar orbit. It is also partially protected by Earths magnetic field as well, I believe. I am no mathematician, but this strikes me as more efficient then dragging all the supplies out from Earth. Could you explain in further detail how it is wrong?

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-23, 10:20 PM
Could you explain in further detail how it is wrong?He can't because you're not wrong--he just misunderstood what you wrote. The significance of a bunch of more hydrogen (because that's what they're detecting--not water per se), is that there might be more "low hanging fruit". If there was enough, and it is easy to get, then it might be worth it to use some for rocket fuel, at least in the early stages. The main thing is to just get back up there so we can do experiments to determine whether it is better to use ISRU LH2 versus Al.

I'm just kind of worried that we don't get into a sort of QWERTY situation (remember, the QWERTY keyboard layout was specifically designed to slow down typing because the old fashioned typewriters would get stuck if you typed too fast, now we're stuck with a less than optimal keyboard layout.) Thus, just because LH2 is the best rocket fuel for Earth, it doesn't follow that LH2 is the best fuel for the Moon. We don't want to get into a situation where we are forced to use lunar LH2 just because of legacy hardware designs.

That said, the worst possible news would be the discovery of water. It would be much better to discover ammonia or methane.

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-23, 10:26 PM
It is a natural human extinct to settle new territories once we are able to reach them. This is a natural extinct in order to enhance the survival of our species.

Humans originally existed only in Africa but then they spread to Asia and Europe and eventually spread to Australia and to North America and South America.

Humans will spread to the Moon and to Mars and eventually utilized the extraterrestrial materials to manufacture our own worlds throughout the solar system. And then our species will eventually spread to other star systems throughout the galaxy. Why? Because it is our natural extinct to do such things in order to enhance the survival of our species.

danscope
2009-Sep-23, 10:54 PM
I guess that we will be seeing cities of 5 milllon + on Greenland real soon then? Hmmmm....
Remember: startrek is a show, folks. If you take a right turn at warp 5, you WILL spill your coffee.
No profit.... no pioneering.

Murphy
2009-Sep-24, 12:03 AM
I'm no expert but the idea that it is a must to go back to the Moon before you can go to Mars doesn't seem to make much sense to me.

I mean ok, maybe it is more efficient to launch the rocket fuel for a Mars trip from the Lunar surface than form the Earth, but the problem with that is you have to first send people back to the Moon, build a Moon base, then build Mining, refining and processing facilities and then re-launch the fuel. All of this requires that the equipment be sent to the Moon and a native industrial infrastructure be developed there, a massive investment in itself. So what's easier and cheaper, sending up factories to mine the Moon, or just launching the fuel from the Earth?

Surely building all this on the Moon would divert money and resources from the true goal, the Mars trip. All these industries already exist on Earth, even if it is harder to launch stuff from our gravity well, that doesn't seem to justify replicating that industry on the Moon. I suppose it depends on what kind of Mars mission you’re planning. Are you simply going on a few trips to do some exploring and then come back (like Apollo) or are you going to try to stay permanently and colonize the planet? Clearly a vast investment on the Moon would not be justified for the first choice, but maybe useful for the second.

And danscope does make the point, and it's been made before, Even the most inhospitable places on Earth are better than the most hospitable places in Space. Greenland and Antarctica are many times easier to live in that Mars or the Moon, yet we don't see people flocking to them.

Personally, I must say that I've become less enthusiastic for Human spaceflight for pure exploratory reasons in recent years. There are frankly better things we could be doing in space with that money, things that will help Mankind now (when it needs help), not in a few hundred years. Things like building Solar Power Satellites or a Space Elevator (with which you could really start doing serious things in space, rather than just one off missions).

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-24, 01:00 AM
I'm no expert but the idea that it is a must to go back to the Moon before you can go to Mars doesn't seem to make much sense to me.


You seem to be assuming that Mars (or at least a few missions to Mars) should be the key goal. The point is that significant, accessible water would make the Moon a far more useful destination itself. The Moon has the advantage of being far closer than Mars, which makes getting there (for people) a lot easier, and it's a lot quicker for people to get back to Earth if something goes wrong.

Instead of just looking at sending a few missions to Mars, I'm more interested in building a space infrastructure: Build a fuel depot in Earth orbit, supplied initially from Earth. Develop Earth-to-LEO transportation, and LEO-to-Moon transportation. Get experience with habitats on the moon. Assuming there are reasonably easy ways to access water on the moon, develop in-situ resource use there. Eventually, ship hydrogen and oxygen to orbital fuel depots, and use that to expand on to Mars and elsewhere in the solar system.

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-24, 01:31 AM
Basically, I agree with that, Van Rijn. I would love to see men and women land on Mars. I would rather have my grandchildren see them land, and stay. Though using what little moon has of water for hydrogen fuelled rockets seems rather wasteful. . .

mike alexander
2009-Sep-24, 02:01 AM
Basically, I agree with that, Van Rijn. I would love to see men and women land on Mars. I would rather have my grandchildren see them land, and stay. Though using what little moon has of water for hydrogen fuelled rockets seems rather wasteful. . .

You could always go out and guide a few comets in to hit the moon. Of course, at least 3/4 of the earth's population would connive to make them hit their sworn enemies on earth.

Since everything has a chance of hurting or offending someone, we will in all likelihood sit in the slowly heating water, complaining about the taxes needed to lower the temperature.

Safe, but rather boring.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-24, 02:15 AM
It does seem wasteful. The question we should be asking is whether our great grandchildren who decide to make their lives on the Moon will be dismayed or proud of us for squandering their low hanging fruit in order to subsidize other things, like Mars.

There is a question of intergenerational ethics here.

If you are American, think of all the things our 19th and early 20th century forebears might have done differently had they had the knowledge we have due to our 20-20 hindsight. Was it really necessary for them to cut nearly every old growth tree in North America? Or plow up every available acre of prairie? Or drain every easily accessible aquifer and dam up every river?

Now that we are about to head into some virgin territory once again, I think it would behoove us to be self-conscious about what we are doing this time around.
__________________
Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have.
-Ernest Haskins

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-24, 02:50 AM
You could always go out and guide a few comets in to hit the moon. Of course, at least 3/4 of the earth's population would connive to make them hit their sworn enemies on earth.

Since everything has a chance of hurting or offending someone, we will in all likelihood sit in the slowly heating water, complaining about the taxes needed to lower the temperature.

Safe, but rather boring.
I think we need to build up our space infrastructure just a wee bit before we go around playing interplanetary snooker. And until that point we will need to husband what resources we have. There are definite challenges to building aluminium/lox rockets as well as performance trade-off's, but the advantages of using a rocket that uses a much more plentiful fuel source are obvious to me. There are other possible rocket fuels, but only water can be used as water, except maybe Brawndo. :p

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-24, 03:51 AM
I guess that we will be seeing cities of 5 milllon + on Greenland real soon then? Hmmmm....
Remember: startrek is a show, folks. If you take a right turn at warp 5, you WILL spill your coffee.
No profit.... no pioneering.

That might turn out to be true if our continuously growing greenhouse gas polluting population continues melting ice from Greenland which could end up putting low lying areas like Florida, Louisiana, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Central Brazil, and many other regions under water.

If we had millions of people on the Moon, they would dominate the multi-hundred billion dollar a year telecommunications satellite industry. Of course if lunar mass drivers were eventually used to manufacture artificial worlds with Earth-like environments, then those millions of lunarians would become far far richer.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-24, 04:15 AM
Basically, I agree with that, Van Rijn. I would love to see men and women land on Mars. I would rather have my grandchildren see them land, and stay. Though using what little moon has of water for hydrogen fuelled rockets seems rather wasteful. . .

Is there so little moisture that we would use it all up launching rockets?

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-24, 04:30 AM
Is there so little moisture that we would use it all up launching rockets?
Considering that lunar water could be used for an outpost for reclaimable industrial and personal uses, compared to a rocket, which by principle can not be reclaimed, I would say, yes.

01101001
2009-Sep-24, 05:42 AM
Hold your horses.

And ditch the water wings.

BA Blog: Water on the Moon… kinda (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/09/23/water-on-the-moon-kinda/)


Let me be clear: the amounts we’re talking about here are pretty small. However, scientists didn’t really expect to see any, so it’s a surprise. Also, the amounts fluctuate in rhythm with the lunar day, so it looks like the Sun has something to do with this – scientists speculate the hydrogen in the solar wind may be blasting the surface of the Mon, freeing oxygen from the rocks there and binding with it to form OH- and water.
Also, this is not the same as vast deposits of water that we’re still hoping to find locked up in permanently shadowed deep craters. This is spread out all over the Moon’s surface. I imagine it adds up to quite a lot of water, but it would be so thin that mining it from the surface would prove difficult.

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-24, 06:53 AM
Yes, that's why I was using qualifiers like "Assuming there are reasonably easy ways to access water on the moon" in my post. Though I'm a little more optimistic based on some of the (admittedly short) bits I've seen. For instance, there was this short quote I saw here (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1351):


In another paper, previously unreleased 1999 flyby data from Cassini ("Detection of Adsorbed Water and Hydroxyl on the Moon", Roger N. Clark) shows hydroxyl concentrations on "the sunlit face of the Moon". Water was detected in concentrations as high as "10 to 1,000 parts per million" and according to the paper "Regardless of its origin, water is found on the lunar surface in areas previously thought to have been depleted in volatiles."

Ten parts in a million is pretty useless, but one part in a thousand might be a usable concentration. There have been ideas for helium 3 mining that might be applied.

Obviously it would be far better if there was (for example) ice in dark craters, and we have to wait to hear the details of what has (so far) been found, but this is sounding to me like there is some serious reevaluation of the lunar water issue going on.

djellison
2009-Sep-24, 08:28 AM
1:1000 is interesting- but how MUCH of the surface has 1:1000? The top mm (which solar wind would infer)

I was looking at top 1mm, 1% by mass, 2.5g/cm^3 regolith density and getting 100kg / acre or 20 tons / sq mile, very very roughly.

If it's only 1:1000 in that top mm, then it's about 10kg / acre. 2 tons / sq mile.

The figure of 1kg per Ton (it's expressed as X ounces) is mentioned somewhere - which again - depends on where that ton comes from. If we're talking about just the top mm or two, then we're looking at ploughing through 15 acres just to re-fill the 151kg of water that was on the Apollo LEM descent stage. Think about it - if it's the top 1mm, then you have to plough a trough 1m wide, and 1km long, to get that cubic metre. 1

If it can be entirely automated, robotic ally, then perhaps it will work as a usefull resources. But if it needs much human attention then I can well imagine the average human breathing oxygen and bathing/drinking the water faster than it could be harvested.

The depth to which this H+O exists is critical. 1mm - frankly, forget about it. 1m? It might be useful.

But(and this is going to be a much repeated myth yet again today, I am sure) - if you want to go NEO's or Mars, the Moon is a pointless diversion as you'll spend more fuel getting there, than you would need to get to where it is you want to go anyway.

If you call Apollo the 1st generation, and whatever comes of Orion and Altair the 2nd generation - I can't imagine this amount of H+O becoming 'useful' until the 3rd or maybe even 4th generation of lunar exploration.

marsbug
2009-Sep-24, 09:54 AM
For anyone who's not seen it there is an interesting Nature article (free) (http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090918/full/news.2009.931.html) on the search for ice at the poles, which mentions some ice-like radar esults. If there are small amounts water being generated on the moon then I think it makes sense some of it could find its way to the polar cold traps and accumulate there.

There's an interesting comparison with the MESSENGER results from mercury, which showed hydroxyl in that planets exosphere, and mercury famously has 'ice-like' radar reflections at its poles.

djellison
2009-Sep-24, 10:23 AM
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/June97/Moon.lb.html
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/lunar-03s.html

The interpretation of these new results also has to explain previous contraindicating observations to water. It may well turn out that the polar deposits are just slightly more concentrated version of this same surficial H+O smattering.

marsbug
2009-Sep-24, 10:40 AM
Thanks for the links! They metion that some ice like reflections were seen, but some were seen in sunlit areas. LRO has seen hydrogen concentrations in sunlit areas to. Does that suggest subsurface coldtraps, as a possible explanation? it would be nice to see a comparison between the ice-like reflections seen by aricebo and the hydrogen signals seen by LRO.

If the polar deposits are minimal then would that not require a mechanism to drive off accumulated H+O from subsurface traps and shadowed craters, and prevent it building into a significant amount? I don't know how well the observed O+H would migrate across the surface but in the cold traps it can surely only build in quantity. If there isn't a fair accumulation of O+H there it follows that there most be an unknown mechanism driving it off. Micro meteorite bombardment could do that, but only for surface and very near surface deposits I suspect.

I also suspect a lot of these releases have been timed to coincide with both the publising of the Augustine report and the LCROSS impact. I don't see any reason to doubt their veracity I just think the timing of the releases have probably been planned.

samkent
2009-Sep-24, 01:53 PM
If we had millions of people on the Moon, they would dominate the multi-hundred billion dollar a year telecommunications satellite industry. Of course if lunar mass drivers were eventually used to manufacture artificial worlds with Earth-like environments, then those millions of lunarians would become far far richer.

Star Trek dreams again.

1 million people on the Moon.

If you specially modify some shuttles to hold 50 people and land on the Moon. It would take 1 shuttle launch per day for 54 years to send them.

Water

Local municipalities are pushing customers to reduce their consumption to 75 gallons per day. If lunarians reduce it to 50 gallons per day that would require 75 Olympic swimming pools of water per day. I would guess you would want a weeks reserve for emergencies. Yea I know recycling bla bla bla. But still you had better find an awfully big lake up there because not all of it will be recycled.

Dreams all dreams.

rommel543
2009-Sep-24, 02:07 PM
From what I was reading on Science Daily was that there is hydroxyl and water wide spread through out the lunar surface, with higher concentrations at the poles, however is quite thin:

While the abundances are not precisely known, as much as 1,000 water molecule parts-per-million could be in the lunar soil: harvesting one ton of the top layer of the moon’s surface would yield as much as 32 ounces of water, according to scientists involved in the discovery.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924093559.htm

I'm not sure how much the space shuttle tanks hold but at 1 tonne of regolith to 1 liter of water, you're going to do a lot of processing to fill your tanks. I can see the processing used for a small lunar base, but unless the poles hold a significantly higher concentration you're not going to get enough water to do much else.

Nicolas
2009-Sep-24, 02:35 PM
Hold your horses.

And ditch the water wings.

BA Blog: Water on the Moon… kinda (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/09/23/water-on-the-moon-kinda/)

So, barring large deposits in some craters, most of the water on the moon is a bit like most of the gold on earth: there's enough gold on earth to give each person about a cubic meter of it (at least a few decades ago when there were less people :)). The only thing is that it's spread all over (ao) the oceans in tiny tiny bits, making it next to impossible, never mind profitable, to collect it.

danscope
2009-Sep-24, 04:54 PM
If you took all the gold that was ever mined and put it into a cube, it would measure 48 feet on a side.

djellison
2009-Sep-24, 07:37 PM
Woooo - Moon drier than the driest deserts on Earth - drier than dried concrete.

Finding it hard to get excited about. LOVING the MRO press conference not with 1% water on moon - but 1% Mars soil in the ice exposed by cratering.

Ilya
2009-Sep-24, 07:54 PM
Yes. What this report says in effect -- if there were concrete on the Moon, we'd be mining it for its water content.

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-24, 07:58 PM
Woooo - Moon drier than the driest deserts on Earth - drier than dried concrete.

Finding it hard to get excited about. LOVING the MRO press conference not with 1% water on moon - but 1% Mars soil in the ice exposed by cratering.
It's more then was thought to be there before. Concrete has quite a bit of water in it, hydrogen and oxygen anyway.
It doesn't dry per say, it sets, a chemical reaction.

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-24, 08:00 PM
Star Trek dreams again.

1 million people on the Moon.

If you specially modify some shuttles to hold 50 people and land on the Moon. It would take 1 shuttle launch per day for 54 years to send them.

Water

Local municipalities are pushing customers to reduce their consumption to 75 gallons per day. If lunarians reduce it to 50 gallons per day that would require 75 Olympic swimming pools of water per day. I would guess you would want a weeks reserve for emergencies. Yea I know recycling bla bla bla. But still you had better find an awfully big lake up there because not all of it will be recycled.

Dreams all dreams.

Just 106 years after the right brothers invented the airplane, more than a billion people a year (more than 45,000 per day) travel on airplanes world wide. We're probably less than 20 years a way from developing the first reusable SST0-VTOVL vehicles probably using hydrogen-methane slush fuels, plug-nozzle engines, and inflatable hypercone reentry shrouds. Such vehicles could be utilized to transport hundreds of passengers per flight anywhere on Earth within less than 45 minutes.

Such vehicles could also transport several dozen humans into orbit per launch. They could also import tonnes of platinum mined from the asteroids and the moons of Mars for the automobile, fuel cell and synfuel production industry. Platinum is currently worth about $40 million per tonne. The current shuttle can bring about 20 tonnes of payload back to the Earth's surface. So if the shuttle were bringing home platinum, it would be worth about $800 million dollars per return flight.

Lorrac
2009-Sep-24, 09:56 PM
Such vehicles could also transport several dozen humans into orbit per launch. They could also import tonnes of platinum mined from the asteroids and the moons of Mars for the automobile, fuel cell and synfuel production industry. Platinum is currently worth about $40 million per tonne. The current shuttle can bring about 20 tonnes of payload back to the Earth's surface. So if the shuttle were bringing home platinum, it would be worth about $800 million dollars per return flight.

Every ton of asteroid mined platinum would cost more than 40 million, probably.

We are still a few breakthoughs away from a solar-system wide economy.

The Jim
2009-Sep-24, 10:47 PM
. We're probably less than 20 years a way from developing the first reusable SST0-VTOVL vehicles probably using hydrogen-methane slush fuels, plug-nozzle engines, and inflatable hypercone reentry shrouds. .

They are a lot further away, decades

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-25, 12:29 AM
Every ton of asteroid mined platinum would cost more than 40 million, probably.

We are still a few breakthoughs away from a solar-system wide economy.



The only breakthrough that you need are space manufactured light sails. And once they are traveling manned and unmanned through interplanetary space, light sails should be able to transport small asteroids (less than 2000 tonnes) to processing plants for oxygen, water, carbon, nitrogen, and platinum extraction.

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-25, 12:36 AM
They are a lot further away, decades


It depends on when we start seriously investing in the technology. Plug-nozzle technology was being seriously funded for the X-33 program back in the 1990s. NASA is just beginning to seriously invest in hypercones for manned space craft landings on Mars. A disposable shuttle tank derived SSTO could be easily developed in just 5 or 10 years (DIRECT-lite). Mixing liquid hydrogen and solid methane together in order to significantly reduce space vehicle mass should probably be the easiest part. So I bet we could do it in just 10 years if we really wanted to.

samkent
2009-Sep-25, 01:25 AM
So if the shuttle were bringing home platinum, it would be worth about $800 million dollars per return flight.


No the bottom would fall out of the platinum market. It’s a little thing called supply and demand. As soon as we drop the internal combustion engine we won’t need catalytic converters. Then the demand for platinum will crash. What is your next great import from space? I can’t think of anything space has that we need.


NASA is just beginning to seriously invest in hypercones for manned space craft landings on Mars.

Investing with what money? Their budget is being cut beyond the bone. Hypercones ain’t going to put Orion in orbit.


The only breakthrough that you need are space manufactured light sails.

I thought light sails only pushed objects away from the Sun??

Neverfly
2009-Sep-25, 01:36 AM
I can’t think of anything space has that we need.

Wow.

aquitaine
2009-Sep-25, 03:51 AM
Hello,

As we all know, human spaceflight is in big trouble. No funding, Orion/Ares fate uncertain, the ultimate goal - Moon/Flexible path uncertain.

But could the recent discoveries on the Moon (i.e. hydrogen, possibly water - more to be announced on a pressconference tomorrow) - be a boost for human spaceflight? I believe so. Mars has water and favorable conditions, but it's too far and too difficult to reach. The Moon however is a different case. We thought that it's lifeless, no water, a harsh environment. But now we are going to change our views.


Doesn't matter as long as there is little to no political and social will to make it happen.

Governmental budgets are almost always based on politics. Unfortunately in the case of NASA, it seems that too often the congresscritters that actually do support it see it as a means of providing earmark spending to their states/districts (ie, another form of pork barrel spending) instead of what it was meant to be. Maybe that is just my perception.


No the bottom would fall out of the platinum market. It’s a little thing called supply and demand. As soon as we drop the internal combustion engine we won’t need catalytic converters. Then the demand for platinum will crash. What is your next great import from space? I can’t think of anything space has that we need.

You're forgetting there are significant other industrial applications (http://www.platinum.matthey.com/applications/industrial-applications/) that platinum has. In fact it is a very useful element for catalyzing more than a few chemical reactions.

As for everything else, whatever happened to opportunities for economic exapansion into space?

danscope
2009-Sep-25, 03:53 AM
Here's an example: I have a perfectly good artesian well that makes 35 gallons a minute. Really. By comparison, I can hire 3500 people to man and clean to perfection a fair sized tanker capable of carrying fresh water,lining the compartments with super film of some sort, sailing for Antarctica, chopping up the iceshelf with hatchets and loading the ship untill full and returning to NewEngland, melting it and building a pipeline 50 miles to my home. And... that exercise is perhaps easier and less costly than the pursuit of minerals from space. It appears to be elaborate and exhorbitantly expensive. So does mining an asteroid moving at 30,000 miles per hour and returning a product to earth...for fun and profit.
Really.
Best regards,
Dan

Neverfly
2009-Sep-25, 04:13 AM
Here's an example: I have a perfectly good artesian well that makes 35 gallons a minute. Really. By comparison, I can hire 3500 people to man and clean to perfection a fair sized tanker capable of carrying fresh water,lining the compartments with super film of some sort, sailing for Antarctica, chopping up the iceshelf with hatchets and loading the ship untill full and returning to NewEngland, melting it and building a pipeline 50 miles to my home. And... that exercise is perhaps easier and less costly than the pursuit of minerals from space. It appears to be elaborate and exhorbitantly expensive. So does mining an asteroid moving at 30,000 miles per hour and returning a product to earth...for fun and profit.
Really.
Best regards,
Dan

How abundant a resource is makes the difference.

sanman
2009-Sep-25, 05:02 AM
Regarding this Fox News vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpmTbkKpuyg

Umm, dear Fox reporter, when you say tens of thousands of dollars to bring materials out there, wouldn't it have been better to say tens of thousands of dollars per pound? When you said that splitting water would allow astronauts to use the oxygen to breathe and use the hydrogen as fuel, are you sure that hydrogen will work on its own without oxygen?

Neverfly
2009-Sep-25, 05:07 AM
Regarding this Fox News vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpmTbkKpuyg

Umm, dear Fox reporter, when you say tens of thousands of dollars to bring materials out there, wouldn't it have been better to say tens of thousands of dollars per pound? When you said that splitting water would allow astronauts to use the oxygen to breathe and use the hydrogen as fuel, are you sure that hydrogen will work on its own without oxygen?

Dear sanman,
Did you actually expect FOX to have a clue?

newpapyrus
2009-Sep-25, 07:00 AM
No the bottom would fall out of the platinum market. It’s a little thing called supply and demand. As soon as we drop the internal combustion engine we won’t need catalytic converters. Then the demand for platinum will crash. What is your next great import from space? I can’t think of anything space has that we need.



Investing with what money? Their budget is being cut beyond the bone. Hypercones ain’t going to put Orion in orbit.



I thought light sails only pushed objects away from the Sun??


Platinum fuel cells are one of the keys to ending the internal combustion engine. But the high cost and limited quantities of platinum is one of the things holding back the age of fuel cell automobiles. A methanol fuel cell would be twice as efficient as the internal combustion engine.

Light sails reflect light. And the constant reflection of solar energy can be used to increase or decrease orbital velocity pushing it outwards or inwards towards the sun. In fact, photon pressure already have some effect on the trajectory of large space probes which has to be calculated for in order for a space craft not to be thousands of kilometers off course.

http://www.aeiveos.com/~bradbury/Authors/Engineering/Drexler-KE/SS.html

http://www.nss.org/settlement/L5news/1981-lightsails.htm

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-25, 10:58 AM
But(and this is going to be a much repeated myth yet again today, I am sure) - if you want to go NEO's or Mars, the Moon is a pointless diversion as you'll spend more fuel getting there, than you would need to get to where it is you want to go anyway. This is misinformation. The delta-v from EML2 to C3 is < 0.5 m/s.

Perhaps you haven't had a chance to review the new ULA proposal. Here is the link for you: A Commercially Based Lunar Infrastructure (http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf):


Objects that are located at L2 have already had a substantial amount of energy pumped into them. They have effectively reached earth escape velocity while still being bound to the earth. This energy constitutes a substantial portion of the total delta V required to venture to Mars, for example. Many publications have advocated the use of the LaGrange points for departure to the planets but a dedicated depot just for the occasional Jupiter or Mars mission is clearly ineffective. With the road to L2 supported and maintained by Lunar Exploration these departure strategies become very attractive.

Departure from L2 is further aided by incorporating a powered Earth gravitational assist into the mission design. Objects being sent from L2 to Jupiter for example require only a small nudge to place them in a trajectory towards earth with a very low perigee. As the departing spacecraft nears perigee it conducts a burn when it is at an already high velocity. This activity effectively maximizes the delta V that can be achieved from a fixed propellant mass. Rather than assembling stupendous propellant masses in LEO, as is often proposed for a crewed mission to Mars, we can use this L2 departure strategy to gradually pump energy into the objects we wish to send to Mars by caching them at L2 and also get a large delta V leverage at the final departure. Much larger spacecraft can be sent to high C3 destinations using this approach. (p. 24, my emphasis)

djellison
2009-Sep-25, 11:42 AM
This is misinformation. The delta-v from EML2 to C3 is < 0.5 m/s.

So what?

People, for years, have been talking about going to the moon, to refuel, to go to Mars.

LEO to lunar surface - 5.7km/s
LEO to Mars C3 - 4.7km/s

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v#Delta-vs_around_the_Solar_System

Going to the Moon, to go to Mars - is like driving 300 miles to fill up with gas for a 250 mile journey.

Fortunately - I've been proven wrong - the media didn't pick up on the "fuel depot" angle (which is moot when it would take dozens of sq-km of regolith to generate usefull quantities of H2O) - but instead, BBC went with something even worse. They used the word "Damp" :rolleyes: Damp...like the driest desert on earth, or dry concrete.

samkent
2009-Sep-25, 12:12 PM
You're forgetting there are significant other industrial applications that platinum has. In fact it is a very useful element for catalyzing more than a few chemical reactions.

Auto converters use over 50% of the total platinum supply.


http://www.unctad.org/infocomm/anglais/platinum/uses.htm



Platinum fuel cells are one of the keys to ending the internal combustion engine. But the high cost and limited quantities of platinum is one of the things holding back the age of fuel cell automobiles. A methanol fuel cell would be twice as efficient as the internal combustion engine.

From my perspective, I don’t see the auto industry going in that direction. I see cars going electric powered by overnight plugins and gasoline. The methanol craze has about maxed out. We are unable to grow enough to supply current demand for flex fuel vehicles let alone cars powered 100% by methanol. It’s not something we can grow our way out of. The shortage of water is worse than the shortage of oil.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-25, 12:23 PM
1. So what? People, for years, have been talking about going to the moon, to refuel, to go to Mars.

2. LEO to Mars C3 - 4.7km/s

3. Going to the Moon, to go to Mars - is like driving 300 miles to fill up with gas for a 250 mile journey.

4. it would take dozens of sq-km of regolith to generate usefull quantities of H2O) - but instead, BBC went with something even worse. They used the word "Damp" :rolleyes: Damp...like the driest desert on earth, or dry concrete.
1. No one talks about landing on the Moon and then taking back off to go to Mars.

2. EML2 to Mars C-3 ≈ 1.6 km/s

3. False analogy based on false premise

4. 80-90% of LH2/LO2 propellant mass consists of LO2. Of which the Moon has plenty. Al can substitute for H2, or one can cache Earth-imported LH2 at the EML2 depot. Even if one caches Earth LO2 at L2, it still makes more sense to refuel at L2 rather than launching directly from LEO.

Delta-v from Earth surface to L2 ≈ 12.9 km/s
Delta-v from Moon surface to L2 ≈ 2.5 km/s

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-25, 12:31 PM
As soon as we drop the internal combustion engine we won’t need catalytic converters.
&

I see cars going electric powered by overnight plugins and gasoline.
You just contradicted yourself.

aquitaine
2009-Sep-25, 01:14 PM
Auto converters use over 50% of the total platinum supply.

It's only that way because of government emissions regulations, otherwise they wouldn't be used because if its cost. I think it might be used more widely in other industrial applications if it wasn't so expensive.


The methanol craze has about maxed out. We are unable to grow enough to supply current demand for flex fuel vehicles let alone cars powered 100% by methanol.

Fuel cells can use other things too, such as ammonia which is far more suitable.

samkent
2009-Sep-25, 03:23 PM
You just contradicted yourself.

That is a bit of a contradiction, but life is full of contradictions. The gasoline generators will have smaller displacements and correspondingly smaller converters. Some cars will be straight electric commuter cars, no converters needed.



Fuel cells can use other things too, such as ammonia which is far more suitable.


From Wiki..


Ammonia production depends on plentiful supplies of natural gas, a finite resource, to provide the hydrogen.

Somehow I don’t think we will be using ammonia. Can you imagine the inevitable fuel spills?

djellison
2009-Sep-25, 04:51 PM
Delta-v from Moon surface to L2 ≈ 2.5 km/s


So what? What are you taking, from the moon, to L2?

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-25, 05:40 PM
Rather than L2, the best place to "meet halfway" would be to deliver materiel from the Moon to a highly elliptical ~10 day orbit with perigee at LEO altitude and apogee near the Moon. This elliptical orbit combines two desirable properties--it has very nearly Earth escape velocity at perigee, and it also maximizes the Oberth effect when either thrusting or aerobraking at perigee. It's the ideal orbit from which to travel to other planets.

publiusr
2009-Sep-25, 09:44 PM
I would love to see a nice big comfortable cycler going back and forth from Earth to the moon.

timb
2009-Sep-25, 11:34 PM
Rather than L2, the best place to "meet halfway" would be to deliver materiel from the Moon to a highly elliptical ~10 day orbit with perigee at LEO altitude and apogee near the Moon. This elliptical orbit combines two desirable properties--it has very nearly Earth escape velocity at perigee, and it also maximizes the Oberth effect when either thrusting or aerobraking at perigee. It's the ideal orbit from which to travel to other planets.

It obviously wouldn't be a stable orbit. So far noone has specified what it is that the moon will supply cheaper than Earth.

timb
2009-Sep-25, 11:49 PM
The methanol craze has about maxed out. We are unable to grow enough to supply current demand for flex fuel vehicles let alone cars powered 100% by methanol. It’s not something we can grow our way out of. The shortage of water is worse than the shortage of oil.

Most methanol is produced from fossil fuels. The use of methanol as a fuel component is minor compared to the use of ethanol, so I don't think it qualifies as a "craze".

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-25, 11:53 PM
1. So what? What are you taking, from the moon, to L2?

2. Rather than L2, the best place to "meet halfway" would be to deliver materiel from the Moon to a highly elliptical ~10 day orbit with perigee at LEO altitude and apogee near the Moon.

3. I would love to see a nice big comfortable cycler going back and forth from Earth to the moon.
1. "4. 80-90% of LH2/LO2 propellant mass consists of LO2. Of which the Moon has plenty."

2. cf. my earlier quote from Zegler et al.:
"Departure from L2 is further aided by incorporating a powered Earth gravitational assist into the mission design. Objects being sent from L2 to Jupiter for example require only a small nudge to place them in a trajectory towards earth with a very low perigee. As the departing spacecraft nears perigee it conducts a burn when it is at an already high velocity. This [Oberth effect] effectively maximizes the delta V that can be achieved from a fixed propellant mass."

3. Too expensive, too slow, and too inflexible.

timb
2009-Sep-26, 12:21 AM
1. "4. 80-90% of LH2/LO2 propellant mass consists of LO2. Of which the Moon has plenty."


Nonsense. The moon has no LO2.

bebe7
2009-Sep-26, 12:27 AM
NASA is testing the Orion CLV on 27 October. Water on the Moon and Mars will be great for colonization of the same but won't do much for Interstellar Travel unfortunately.

Bebe

aquitaine
2009-Sep-26, 12:50 AM
Somehow I don’t think we will be using ammonia.

Somehow I think you're wrong (again). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur-iodine_cycle) You're making the assumption that our current method of hydrogen production is the one and only way we will ever make it, which is incorrect.


Can you imagine the inevitable fuel spills?

I fail to see how it could be any worse than the fuel spills we have now. Remember the Exxon-Valdez?

timb
2009-Sep-26, 01:03 AM
I fail to see how it could be any worse than the fuel spills we have now. Remember the Exxon-Valdez?

The irony.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 01:47 AM
Nonsense. The moon has no LO2.

The "O" stands for oxygen.

danscope
2009-Sep-26, 02:04 AM
There is a better chance for 8 track tapes to become the next music platform
than there is going to the moon and extracting 'anything'. You are lucky to put two men there for a very brief time at all, much less a spactacular
mining facility .
Surely this remains as a spactacular joke published in the Sun or the WWnews. Really.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 02:38 AM
There is a better chance for 8 track tapes to become the next music platform
than there is going to the moon and extracting 'anything'. You are lucky to put two men there for a very brief time at all, much less a spactacular
mining facility .
Surely this remains as a spactacular joke published in the Sun or the WWnews. Really.This is a science forum.

astromark
2009-Sep-26, 02:54 AM
Reading the reports so far would have me extracting about a litre of water from a tonne of lunar ragolith... So no thats never going to be realistic to extract. Mars would seem to be a better bet. Actual water Ice. No contest. As much as I want to see men back on the Moon with permanently maned space basses and observatories and science research:(I must except the budget is just too big. The answer is with robotics.. So NO... Finding the small traces of water molecules and HO does not suggest a sudden injection of funds and thus Lunar missions.

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-26, 03:40 AM
There is a better chance for 8 track tapes to become the next music platform
than there is going to the moon and extracting 'anything'. You are lucky to put two men there for a very brief time at all, much less a spactacular
mining facility .


Oxygen extraction is pretty straightforward and doesn't require a spectacular mining facility. As for hydrogen, we'll see. My hunch is that we're going to be finding a lot more lunar water. I suspect researchers are going to be a lot more open to the evidence now that the game has changed.

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-26, 03:56 AM
...about a ~10 day elliptical orbit with perigee at LEO altitude and apogee near the Moon...

It obviously wouldn't be a stable orbit.
Correct. Neither is L2.

The instability is more of a feature than a flaw, as it allows you to enter/leave with a small push--if you're willing to wait for the feedback effects to take effect. For a manned spacecraft, you're unlikely to want to wait so long but it can be useful for unmanned spacecraft and bulk cargo.

So far noone has specified what it is that the moon will supply cheaper than Earth.
Maybe oxygen, but I don't know...I suspect that aeroscooping oxygen and nitrogen from Earth's atmosphere would be better. It costs more energy this way, but you avoid mucking around with solid ores and chemistry and refining hardware.

But there are a lot of other potentially interesting possibilities. Maybe some of them will pan out.

For instance, it may be possible to directly use lunar regolith as aeroramjet fuel. An aeroramjet is essentially a cylindrical spacecraft with a conical ramscoop in the front, a central tunnel tube, and a bell nozzle in the rear. It doesn't use any sort of chemical reaction to produce thrust (such combustion doesn't take place fast enough anyway--see the challenges with scramjets). Instead, it just injects inert propellant into the gas stream.

An aeroramjet essentially sacrifices the inert propellant for increased speed. It ultimately transfers some of the orbital energy from the propellant to the payload. There are a lot of technical challenges with the concept, of course, but the potential payoff is that cheap lunar regolith could be used as fuel with minimal processing.

(But honestly...even with the aeroramjet concept I suspect it's better to scoop up propellant from Earth's atmosphere. It costs a lot of energy that way, but you ultimately get liquid nitrogen fuel which is logistically more convenient than moon powder.)

djellison
2009-Sep-26, 09:43 AM
So Warren,

You want to take swathes of LH2 and LO2 from the moon up to L2.

That's great. Having built a very very significant infrastructure on the moon to produce these resources that would involve many very large launches, and an LV then on the moon to launch these resources into L2 (and in doing so - uses plenty of it - what was the mass fraction of the LEM-ascent stage). Then, some L2 hovering fuel depot takes it.

Brilliant.

Then what?

Are we talking this century?

I don't think so.

This is a science forum. No a science-fiction forum.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 02:02 PM
Doug, it seems farfetched to you because you are not up on the recent literature. Wingo et al. (2009, 6) (http://www.spudislunarresources.com/Opinion_Editorial/status_quo.pdf) say that a reusable SSTO version of the NASA Altair could deliver 25 tons of propellant to LLO per launch; the more scaled down reusable DTAL proposed recently by ULA (Zegler et al. 2009, 25 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf)) could deliver at least 7 tons per launch to L2. Your propaganda would look less uninformed if you could show exactly how the work done in 2009 by people like Wingo and Spudis and Zegler and Kutter etc. go horribly wrong, rather than simply pointing out the mass fraction of the Apollo LEM ascent stage as if that meant anything.

aquitaine
2009-Sep-26, 02:15 PM
The irony.


I don't get it, please elaborate.

djellison
2009-Sep-26, 02:22 PM
Your propaganda

Grow up Warren - I'm speaking my mind - I have no agenda here. I'm just looking at the facts, and the ultimate aim of NASA as stated by its administrator.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 03:20 PM
Bolden???

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 03:30 PM
Iirc the ultimate aim was stated by Griffin. I'm somehow not familiar with Bolden's opinion

Romanus
2009-Sep-26, 03:43 PM
As others have said, finding the Mother Lode itself on the Moon probably wouldn't make going there practical or solvent (and on the Moon, water might as well be gold).

It isn't water, minerals, or even money keeping us from the Moon and Mars; it's will.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 03:45 PM
The ultimate aim was stated by President Bush. Griffin twisted it into a back-door Mars mission. Griffin is no longer NASA administrator.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 03:51 PM
... for good

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 03:55 PM
As others have said, finding the Mother Lode itself on the Moon probably wouldn't make going there practical or solvent.The price of gold is ~$32K USD per kg.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 03:57 PM
... for goodYes indeed!

djellison
2009-Sep-26, 04:43 PM
So none of you have read the findings of the Augustine commission ( which explicitly states Mars as the ultimate aim of NASA ) - and that echos, exactly, what Bolden said when introduced to NASA, as broadcast on NASA TV.

Moot point anyway - a surficial atomic smattering of hydrogen not a useful resource, unless you go mining dozens of square KM's to get a few tons of it. That's not something we'll be doing in this 'generation' of exploration, if ever.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 04:58 PM
Augustine said something like that the goal was to spread human civilization into the solar system. Useless mush.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 05:01 PM
a surficial atomic smattering of hydrogen not a useful resource, unless you go mining dozens of square KM's to get a few tons of it. That's not something we'll be doing in this 'generation' of exploration, if ever.
Now I wonder whether you've read the old literature on the Moon. The new data only measured the top mm. The old data went down to 1/2 m.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 05:04 PM
What Bolden said was that he wishes to see people on Mars during his lifetime. So far, so good.

However, the Augustine commission found that going to Mars first is a bad idea. Yes, Mars is the ultimate goal, but this is not what's going to see anyway. Flexible path and Moon first recommended.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 05:13 PM
The very idea that Mars is the "ultimate goal" is nonsensical. "Ultimate" means the same as:

1. last; furthest or farthest; ending a process or series: the ultimate point in a journey; the ultimate style in hats.
2. maximum; decisive; conclusive: the ultimate authority; the ultimate weapon.
3. highest; not subsidiary: ultimate goal in life.
4. basic; fundamental; representing a limit beyond which further progress, as in investigation or analysis, is impossible: the ultimate particle; ultimate principles.
5. final; total: the ultimate consequences; the ultimate cost of a project.
6. not to be improved upon or surpassed; greatest; unsurpassed: the ultimate vacation spot; the ultimate stupidity.

As if once we get to Mars, space exploration can then end. "Ultimate" is disingenuous code, i.e., propaganda, for "let's not waste resources on the Moon." Mars advocates have done more than the Gil Scott Herons of this world to destroy the HSF space program.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 05:25 PM
Why nonsensical? It's the only realistic destination for the moment. Other planets/satellites are too far away (Jupiter, Saturn). Venus is quite hot, reaching Mercury requires a huge delta-V change.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 05:32 PM
The Moon is a realistic destination. Mars is not--not yet anyway. Also, in English, "ultimate" does not mean the same as "realistic".

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 05:43 PM
I know - there are similar words in Bulgarian.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 07:07 PM
Луната е крайната цел.

Луната е на реалистични цел!

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 07:11 PM
Exactly. Mars, not the Moon is the final, ultimate or whatever you say destination.

I for example don't believe that any trips to the outer Solar system are possible for the next 50-100 years, so Mars is the farthest possible destination. And it's the final - ultimate destination.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-26, 07:15 PM
Exactly. Mars, not the Moon is the final, ultimate or whatever you say destination.

I for example don't believe that any trips to the outer Solar system are possible for the next 50-100 years, so Mars is the farthest possible destination. And it's the final - ultimate destination.

OK, fine. You win. Let us then agree that the Moon should be the next destination. Certainly, Mars should not be the only destination!

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-26, 07:19 PM
Yes.

I try not to dream a lot - after all, I don't want to be disappointed in the end. I have hopes that I will see people on the Moon and Mars during my lifetime, but who knows? We may even see people beyond the orbit of Mars, but who knows?

Even if Mars is the ultimate destination, there's a lot to do there. I do dare to dream about Martian colonies. They will happen for sure... some day

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-26, 08:49 PM
So Warren,

You want to take swathes of LH2 and LO2 from the moon up to L2.

That's great. Having built a very very significant infrastructure on the moon to produce these resources that would involve many very large launches, and an LV then on the moon to launch these resources into L2 (and in doing so - uses plenty of it - what was the mass fraction of the LEM-ascent stage). Then, some L2 hovering fuel depot takes it.


Oxygen extraction is straightforward. It doesn't take a huge installation to begin development of in-situ oxygen extraction, and that can reasonably progress to supplying orbital fuel depots.

Regarding hydrogen, we'll see. There was just the recent evidence that the hydrogen issue wasn't what was commonly thought, and there is good reason to think there is significant water in some craters. It is far too early to make any firm statements on what could (or couldn't) be done there.



Are we talking this century?

I don't think so.


If we keep going in "business as usual" mode, no. We'll be stuck with robots, and maybe a few insanely expensive crewed "one shots" that don't lead to any lasting infrastructure. Personally, I'm not interested in sending a few people to Mars, only to see it all die again, as happened with Apollo.


This is a science forum. No a science-fiction forum.

We live in a science fiction world. You're knocking this because it isn't what you want to do. That's all.

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-26, 08:58 PM
OK, fine. You win. Let us then agree that the Moon should be the next destination. Certainly, Mars should not be the only destination!

We're in agreement on this one. Shocking, I know. :)

I like Mars, I want Mars to be a goal, but I can't understand the attitude of ignoring everything else for a few Mars missions.

timb
2009-Sep-26, 09:24 PM
The "O" stands for oxygen.

The "L" stands for liquid, the "2" means it is in its native molecular form. It's not there.

timb
2009-Sep-26, 09:26 PM
I don't get it, please elaborate.

Ammonia in the eyes makes you blind.

djellison
2009-Sep-26, 10:20 PM
Bush went 'Moon'.

Without making any scientific case for why.

Someone, please, show me the scientific case for why we should be sending people back to the moon. We've not even begun to test the limits of what is possible via robotic telepresence on the Moon yet. No one has sent a rover in 30 years. Stereo HDTV with Thermal/IR cameras etc. The possibilities are huge. And because the one way light time is so short, they can be driven, in real time, from Earth - with huge downlink bandwidth. Why is THIS not being done before figuring out if, and where, we should be spending tens of billions of dollars on people?

I concur, entirely, with what Squyres said to the Augustine commission. Send people, sure, IF, IF it adds significantly to the scientific payoff.

That case has quite clearly been made for Mars. I've not seen it for the Moon - not even slightly.

Can someone here make the case for it? Please?

Neverfly
2009-Sep-26, 11:57 PM
djellison,

If every discovery could be justified ahead of time with knowledge of how it would turn out--- Would we ever get anything done?

If every adventure could be justified ahead of time with knowledge of how it would turn out--- Would we ever go on one?

Given time, I'm sure a great many posters can give a great many excellent reasons to return to the Moon.
Time to look up some figures etc.

Yes, robotics are a great option.
Rovers exploring the Moon are a great option.

And should be used as well.

But, for myself, as a taxpayer, I would vote Yes on my tax dollars sending a man to the Moon and to Mars.

Even if Nothing Of Value was found.

Because there is more to value than a Bucket of stuff, sometimes.

What a fantastic thing we did in 1969!
An amazing and incredible accomplishment!
And for what? A space race? What a lame reason... and yet... With nations agreeing and peaceful talks between former enemies we can all look back and share in that experience.

And maybe it won't pay off tomorrow.

Maybe it won't pay off in fifty or a hundred years.

But it will pay off. It will pay off for all of humanity in the centuries and millenia to come.

It will pay off, if our descendants can look back and be grateful that we were not afraid to venture into the unknown.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-27, 02:34 AM
Bush went 'Moon'.

Without making any scientific case for why.That's your fundamental mistake. It's not about science.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-27, 03:00 AM
Warren Platts is right. Well, even ISS can't be judged on scientific grounds very well, but they built it just bcause it's important to learn how to live in space.

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-27, 03:09 AM
I concur, entirely, with what Squyres said to the Augustine commission. Send people, sure, IF, IF it adds significantly to the scientific payoff.

That case has quite clearly been made for Mars. I've not seen it for the Moon - not even slightly.

Can someone here make the case for it? Please?

My case is that it I believe it is very important for the human race to become a spacefaring species. Among many other things, I think that it is important that we have the ability to deflect asteroids, and if we stay in the robot/occasional expensive crewed mission mode, we might be surprised one of these days with another Tunguska.

The moon is close. For people, it is far easier to get there than Mars. It's a place where people can learn to live on another world, but if they make mistakes, they can get home quickly. It has important resources. It is reasonable to develop lunar resources if we are going to develop a sustainable space infrastructure. There would be plenty of science to learn there too, but that isn't the key reason to go there.

Sure, we go on to Mars, but do it in a way that can be sustained, not something that is likely to be stopped on political whim. For me, the science goals are important but secondary to the key goal of developing a permanent human presence in space.

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-27, 05:56 AM
My case is that it I believe it is very important for the human race to become a spacefaring species.
I would agree with this, but I personally don't think a lunar base is a good way to do it. I see the future of human life in space in space colonies rather than planetary bases.

The moon is close. For people, it is far easier to get there than Mars. It's a place where people can learn to live on another world, but if they make mistakes, they can get home quickly.
Since I assume our future lies in space colonies rather than planetary bases, I see orbital space stations to be even better...

It has important resources. It is reasonable to develop lunar resources if we are going to develop a sustainable space infrastructure.
...but of course, the big issue is that orbital space is exceedingly devoid of material resources. There's plenty of solar power, of course, but practically no "stuff".

A lunar industrial base might be useful for raw resources; these may be transported to orbit to supply space stations. However, the industrial mining hardware doesn't need to be manned. And if it's not manned, then the safety factor of being able to quickly return to Earth is not a defining criteria. Thus, you could instead mine resources from Deimos or Phobos, which requires less delta-v than the Moon.

There's even the possibility of getting all of the supplies from Earth. Aeroscoop satellites could mine Earth's upper atmosphere for nitrogen and oxygen. We could progressively develop aeroscoop technology until we have a fleet of aeroscoops capable of gobbling up artificial "clouds" of water and other substances sprayed from balloons/sounding rockets.

timb
2009-Sep-27, 09:54 AM
My case is that it I believe it is very important for the human race to become a spacefaring species. Among many other things, I think that it is important that we have the ability to deflect asteroids, and if we stay in the robot/occasional expensive crewed mission mode, we might be surprised one of these days with another Tunguska.


We might be surprised anyway. How does large (such as 200, anything bigger is just too implausible) numbers of people in space protect us from asteroid impacts? are they going to link arms and block its path? Not that Tunguska exactly devastated early 20th century civilization.


The moon is close. For people, it is far easier to get there than Mars. It's a place where people can learn to live on another world, but if they make mistakes, they can get home quickly. It has important resources. It is reasonable to develop lunar resources if we are going to develop a sustainable space infrastructure. There would be plenty of science to learn there too, but that isn't the key reason to go there.

Sure, we go on to Mars, but do it in a way that can be sustained, not something that is likely to be stopped on political whim. For me, the science goals are important but secondary to the key goal of developing a permanent human presence in space.

Why should that be a key goal? and if it is, what makes you think we have the technology to support it now? We can't build sustainable bases in Antarctica now. The idea that we can do so on the moon is fantasy. Why not aim to establish a genuine moon colony in 100 years?

djellison
2009-Sep-27, 10:30 AM
That's your fundamental mistake. It's not about science.

What IS is about then, exactly?

If it's about prestige, inspiration, excitement, etc - then how is the Moon a better target than Mars?

You put people on the Moon in, say, 2020 (which is optimistic even now) - the people of the world will be going "Errr - didn't we do that 50 years ago? - Why'd it take so damn long this time?"

They will not, I'm afraid, be impressed.

John Jaksich
2009-Sep-27, 10:49 AM
After reading most of the replies and statements -- as well as rebuttals-- one insight that I think would be incumbent upon all of us is that: during the 1960's and 70's - while there was a "vigorous" (?) infusion of capital into the space-race and the means for educating the scientists, engineers, technicians, etc, etc, ...

there was a "vicious" ebb of employment and capital infusion in the late 70's for subsequent space exploration...

one might argue that the spin-offs and subsequent benefits to mankind as a whole -- generously paid for our investments---but there was a "cost" to those who were employed in the aerospace industry-- can anyone remember the general malaise of the late 1970's and early 80's --- I may have been a young man -- but I certainly recall it.

My general point is, if we want to earnestly invest in space exploration as well as the means of getting there-- one country cannot do it alone... as was done during the 1960's and 1970's.

I, genuinely, believe in science, exploration and advancement-- but we need to put the horse in front of the cart and not the other way around...

*********************

Please note to moderators:

If you feel that this post is offensive or off-topic --pls delete

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-27, 11:10 AM
A lunar station will be very inspiring. When I look at the sky, I see no International Space Station. But I see the Moon. It would be great one day to look at the Moon and say to ourselves: "There are people living there"

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-27, 12:02 PM
I get little shivers every time I look up at that orb and I think, 'People have been there'. It is just, so, wow.
Building infrastructure is expensive, yes, but it makes things easier in the long run. Imagine if, instead of roads, we had to move everything by big off road vehicles. It would be inefficient and expensive and even impossible in many areas. But would that be a reason to give up on manned wheeled transport? Hells no, you build roads. So far, we have gone camping. We went camping on the moon and we have been camping in low earth orbit for almost 50 years.
Now it's time to build roads.
Why? Because this old world can only give so much. If we are to sustain a technological civilisation, we are going to to, sooner or later, need resources from other sources. Unfortunatly, if we wait until absolutely need it, we may not have the surplus resources to develop the infrastructure to do so. As for manned mining operations, they probably won't need to be very highly manned, but a good boot to kick things can be invaluable (http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1000/fv00955.htm).

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-27, 12:06 PM
The ISS could had been a great "road". A right architecture to assemble craft to go there. Now it's a turkey.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-27, 01:03 PM
What IS is about then, exactly?The national interests of the United States.

________________________
"If God wanted man to become a space-faring species, He would have given man a Moon." - Krafft Ehricke

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-27, 01:08 PM
We can't build sustainable bases in Antarctica now. The idea that we can do so on the moon is fantasy.This is just false misinformation. There have been continously manned bases in Antarctica numbering thousands of people for decades now. Do they require imports? Does the USA require imports? I guess the largest economy in the world isn't sustainable either. I guess that means you're barking up the wrong tree. If you really want to be defeatist, pick a better argument.
Why not aim to establish a genuine moon colony in 100 years?Because that would in effect cede the Moon to someone else.

________________________
"If God wanted man to become a space-faring species, He would have given man a Moon." - Krafft Ehricke

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-27, 01:22 PM
A lunar station will be very inspiring. When I look at the sky, I see no International Space Station. But I see the Moon. It would be great one day to look at the Moon and say to ourselves: "There are people living there"My thoughts exactly. There won't be the frenzied hype that accompanied Neil Armstrong's first step, but the space program does not need to depend on the existence of frenzied hype.

________________________
"If God wanted man to become a space-faring species, He would have given man a Moon." - Krafft Ehricke

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-27, 03:42 PM
A lunar station will be very inspiring. When I look at the sky, I see no International Space Station.
You just don't know where to look. I've seen the space station up there by accident. I was thinking, "Wow, that plane is moving really fast...and it doesn't have any blinking lights..."

It's pretty visible compared to other things in the sky. Maybe not as big and bright as the Moon, but about as big and bright as Jupiter.

Cruithne3753
2009-Sep-27, 06:45 PM
You just don't know where to look. I've seen the space station up there by accident. I was thinking, "Wow, that plane is moving really fast...and it doesn't have any blinking lights..."

It was a friend's 40th birthday a few weeks ago and a party of us was in a local park to release 40 flying Chinese lanterns.

I wondered offhand whether ISS was going to be going be visible that evening, and indeed it was, a few hours after the shuttle had separated, which was a bonus. I was trying to point it out to someone who thought I was on about a police station! Some people... :wall:

Glom
2009-Sep-27, 08:12 PM
Lots of good threads in this forum at moment. If only I could keep up with them all.

What happened to the helium-3? Have we seen any? Couldn't that be the missing link? With water around, plus a power source, you have abundant fuel potential.

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-28, 02:56 AM
I would agree with this, but I personally don't think a lunar base is a good way to do it. I see the future of human life in space in space colonies rather than planetary bases.

Since I assume our future lies in space colonies rather than planetary bases, I see orbital space stations to be even better...

...but of course, the big issue is that orbital space is exceedingly devoid of material resources. There's plenty of solar power, of course, but practically no "stuff".

A lunar industrial base might be useful for raw resources; these may be transported to orbit to supply space stations. However, the industrial mining hardware doesn't need to be manned.


If it turns out that a combination of orbital habitats and purely automated mining stations is the most economic and practical option, I'm not going to complain, but I suspect that there is room for both orbital habitats and habitats on worlds. I am arguing that the moon is nearby, has resources, and is a good place to learn, but I'm not particularly concerned about a moon base as a goal in itself. The issue for me is what it could do, not just to say there is a moon base.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-28, 05:09 AM
If it turns out that a combination of orbital habitats and purely automated mining stations is the most economic and practical option, I'm not going to complain, but I suspect that there is room for both orbital habitats and habitats on worlds. I am arguing that the moon is nearby, has resources, and is a good place to learn, but I'm not particularly concerned about a moon base as a goal in itself. The issue for me is what it could do, not just to say there is a moon base.

I think it's more a matter of steps.

IsaacKuo's suggestion being a step and the lunar base being a step. Given time, Both have their practical uses.
Much time would be needed, as the costs incurred can be enormous.
But in the centuries to come, both of these options are more than possible.
And this allows us to expand into the solar system and tap the resources available rather than live with the limited resources here.
It will be a necessity for our descendants for us to make the plunge.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-28, 10:59 AM
In the centuries to come, . . . it will be a necessity for our descendants for us to make the plunge.

Have you been reading up on what's been happening the last few years, let alone the last few weeks? Or are you suggesting that the ULA's recent proposal, to name but one example--that we could have a permanently manned base on the Moon by 2018 using EELV's within the current NASA budget--is hopelessly unrealistic? Or are you suggesting the the current HSF NASA budget should be spent on something besides manned space exploration?

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 12:52 PM
The national interests of the United States.


That is a DoD issue.

Again - please make the case for returning people to the moon.

It can't be that hard if we're throwing tens of billions at it.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 01:06 PM
Let's say it this way: USA visited the Moon 40 years ago. If we don't do anything then December 2022 will come without people flying to our natural satellite. People will lose faith in the USA, they will continue claiming that US astronauts never walked on the Moon. Unbelievers are about 6% now, they can be 50% and more in 2022.

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 01:20 PM
So people should be sent back to the moon to convince people that people were sent to the moon 40 years ago?

What possible good is that? If people honestly think Apollo was faked, how will a new expedition convinced them both that Apollo was real, and the new expedition is not a fake as well.

Of all the possible justifications for a return to the moon, that has to be one of very worst I've heard.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-28, 01:21 PM
That is a DoD issue.There are more dimensions to a country's national interests than are encompassed by its military's bailiwick.


Again - please make the case for returning people to the moon.

It can't be that hard if we're throwing tens of billions at it.
Skin in the game.


Let's say it this way: USA visited the Moon 40 years ago. If we don't do anything then December 2022 will come without people flying to our natural satellite. People will lose faith in the USA, they will continue claiming that US astronauts never walked on the Moon. Unbelievers are about 6% now, they can be 50% and more in 2022. I agree. The longer we dilly-dally, the more fantastic Apollo seems, and the more apparent that the USA's best days are behind it.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 01:33 PM
Doug, the Moon Hoax Theory exists because of the abrupt ending of project Apollo. Yes, most of the arguments of the hoax morons are plainly silly - no stars, flag waiving, no blast crater. These arguments are indeed silly and not even worth discussing them.

But the question why it was possible then and not possible now is very valid. No, new Moon landings won't convince hardcore believers. But we should think about our generation. I wasn't born when people walked on the Moon. And by the time people return on the Moon all moonwalkers may be almost surely dead. The astronauts are about 80 years old now and if NASA keeps the current course, these people will be over 100 years old.

And when the last living person who walked on the Moon dies, this will be one of the saddest days ever. Then Warren Platts says:


I agree. The longer we dilly-dally, the more fantastic Apollo seems

Apollo looks fantastic to many people even now. Even people who aren't conspiracy nuts and don't believe in conspriacy theories shake their heads in disbelief.

I for example remember the times when I had a computer with 700MHz Celeron CPU, 128 MB Ram, 8 MB integrated video card. I worked with this computer until recently and even now I wonder how it was possible to do anything useful with it. My father tells me that there were times when a Pravetz 8 computer (a famous computer manifactured in Bulgaria) that had no hard drive, 8Mhz CPU and (I don't remember exactly) several kilobytes of RAM was actually cool and very useful. How? I can't imagine.

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 01:46 PM
the more apparent that the USA's best days are behind it.

It's taking longer and costing more the second time around. Does that not confirm and indeed strengthen the argument that the USA's best days are behind it? Wouldn't the only way to prove that argument wrong be to do something BETTER?


Doug, the Moon Hoax Theory exists because of the abrupt ending of project Apollo..

No it doesn't. It exists because people love a conspiracy, love a conspiracy that involves government even more, and love a conspiracy that involves the government and billions of dollars and thousands of people even more than that. It's cultural vandalism (and excellent phrase I first heard from Jim O'berg). We should be going back because Neil is getting on a bit? How is that a reason, exactly?

Come on - someone give me a good reason to go back. So far, it's been pitiful.

In 1965, the Apollo Era - the World Land Speed Record was set at 600.842mph after an epic couple of years of competition. The kids inspired by that race in the '60s are now in their 50's. They're the managers of aerospace and automotive engineering projects. Today - now - Bloodhound SSC is aiming to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists here in the UK. Would it do that if it only did 600 mph? Hell no - we did that 40 years ago. It's going to go A THOUSAND miles an hour.

Repeating what our parents did - is that the best we can do?

Seriously?

rommel543
2009-Sep-28, 01:50 PM
I had the fortunate chance to have a discussion with a former shuttle astronaut who started at the end of the Apollo program. His comment regarding the US space program is that we're going to go on our happy way putting people in NEO and watch the China and India walk on the moon.

I'm of the opinion that it shouldn't be just once country alone working on this but kind of like the ISS with a collaboration of countries working together to get there.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 01:58 PM
Come on - someone give me a good reason to go back. So far, it's been pitiful.

You should know what Steve Squires said a couple of years ago. The amount of science conducted by MERs can be conducted by people. Several EVAs are needed for that and it will take about a week.

We are going back to work and live on the Moon. Man, this will be a huge boon for science. Unlike the ISS which is a boondoggle for taxpayers, the Moon is a heaven body. You can go there, dig into the surface, look for subsurface ice. You can go there, put a radio telescope on the back side and conduct great science in radio silence.


Repeating what our parents did - is that the best we can do?

This won't be a repeat. We will put sophisticated and complicated instruments on the surface, go to places where Apollo astronauts were unable to go.

samkent
2009-Sep-28, 02:00 PM
Collaboration...

Would you accept Russian toilets on the Moon?


Lets let China go to the Moon. Let them spend/waste all their billions. Then they will see we were right 40 years ago.
With current technology the Moon is nothing but a money pit.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 02:02 PM
With current technology the Moon is nothing but a money pit.

Yesterday's technology missed the water.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-28, 02:23 PM
It's taking longer and costing more the second time around. Does that not confirm and indeed strengthen the argument that the USA's best days are behind it? Wouldn't the only way to prove that argument wrong be to do something BETTER?Like going to Mars. That would be like skipping Jamestown and Plymouth Rock in order to do Botany Bay instead. The ULA proposal would be just as fast, cost less, do more, last longer, and be safer than Apollo. I call that BETTER.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-28, 02:26 PM
Lets let China go to the Moon. Let them spend/waste all their billions. NASA has a budget. That budget is not going away. Since the money will be spent in any case, it should be spent on returning to the Moon permanently.

thoth II
2009-Sep-28, 02:28 PM
Of course, according to RCH, it doesn't matter because the water , he says, is percolating up from buried civilizations on the moon, seems very likely doesn't it?

I kind of wish I hadn't lived to this ATM dominated media part of history. Only here at BAUT am I finding an island of sanity.

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 02:32 PM
You should know what Steve Squires said a couple of years ago. .

Absolutely - I know he's been out there comparing people and robots. Read the last line of his book - I know that by heart as well. I also know what Squyres said to the Aug Com just a few weeks ago.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/376592main_08%20-%20Squyres%20Briefing.pdf

Let me pull out the key points


The first point I would like to make is that most of the missions that address the important questions in planetary science would not benefit from the presence of human explorers


However, there is an important subset of planetary exploration that can benefit from human space flight. These are missions to the surfaces of solid bodies whose surface conditions are not too hostile for humans


Because the capabilities of humans most surpass those of robots in complex environments, the scientific value that humans add is in proportion to the complexity of the environment to be explored.



All of this complexity means that human explorers can, in principle, contribute more to the scientific exploration of Mars than they can to any other body in the solar system for the foreseeable future

And then this, they key point, and it's this very quote that got me thinking about this issue and had me asking why we're planning to send people back to the moon..


However, it is my personal opinion that most of the really important lunar science can be done robotically, for the reasons I have outlined above.

and he closes with this


But if science is to be served well by a program of human exploration, then science must be a full partner in planning and executing that program. And if science is going to be one of the major goals of human exploration, not just an add-on,then care should be taken to concentrate the human explorers' efforts in the scientifically complex settings where they can contribute most.

I couldn't agree more.


That would be like skipping Jamestown and Plymouth Rock in order to do Botany Bay instead.

Err - using your analogy - we've already DONE Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. What was Apollo? Thus, now, surely, it is time for Botany Bay? In this bad analogy - Jamestown and Plymouth Rock are dead. There's no plants, no fish, no crops. Botany bay has most of the resources not only to sustain people there, but also provide the supplies for the return journey. Oh boy, I hate crap analogies.

Still - no case for returning to the moon. I've tried to make one myself, as returning to the moon would be cheaper and easier than going on the Mars, that much is obvious. But as yet - I've been unable to think of, nor has anyone provided a compelling justification for a return to the moon. Bush said 'Go' and the world said 'OK'. Right now - is the time to stop and ask 'Why?'

That's all I'm asking.

And Warren - you seem to want to pigeon hole me, you're making out I'm against stuff I've not even commented on. If you want my opinion regarding EELV and lunar exploration - might I suggest you google for 'hit me with your rocket stick' to see my comments (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000718/) from three years ago.

You have made this statement

it should be spent on returning to the Moon permanently.

Again - I'm asking - why. Tens, possibly hundreds of billions, to build a moon base. Such a thing would be interesting and exciting to us space geeks. That is not enough. Justify it. Tell me why I should get behind it. Tell me why I should write to my politicians here in the UK and in the EU asking them to get involved and back such a project. I can't think of a single justification for that cost.

I'm not saying anything extraordinary here. This isn't an 'out there' fringe theory or crack pot plan. I'm just attempting to inject some common sense here. All this talk of HOW to send people back to the moon, and no one explaining WHY.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-28, 04:01 PM
Doug, I'm not trying to pidgeon-hole you. I know where you're coming from: you think HSF should be about science mainly, and that the best such science could be conducted on Mars, and you're afraid that if we return to the Moon first, then there will be no money left over for a mission to Mars--meaning of course that you'll probably never see a Mars mission in your lifetime, in which case you're going to die unhappily. ;)

I would like to see a mission to Mars as well. Who wouldn't? But you said it yourself: returning to the Moon would be cheaper and easier than going to Mars. As it is, we're pushing the envelope just to get back to the Moon. Since we can barely, just barely, get back to the Moon with the budget that Congress is willing to grant, then that logically entails that we simply cannot afford to go to Mars. Therefore, no matter how much wonderful science could be done on Mars, that's rather beside the point.

However, that said, I think you would have us short sell the science potential of the Moon. For one thing, lunar science will illuminate the early history of the entire solar system better than Mars will, because erosion on Mars, like on Earth, has wiped away the early geological history. Whereas on the Moon, the earliest stages are well preserved.

But again, like I said before, science isn't the main reason for going back to the Moon. Science is an "add-on". The main reason is national interest, skin in the game, use and occupation. In other words, the main idea is to be a stakeholder. There may never be any economic benefit from the Moon, but if there is, we want to be there when and if that happens. No doubt you find such a possibility to be highly unlikely, but then Jamestown probably seemed like a boondoggle at the time. Therefore, the reason you personally should get behind the lunar base idea is that spending NASA's HSF budget--which will get spent on something, but most likely not Mars--on Moon bases is in the best national interest of the USA, and because of the special relationship that the UK and the US have always had, since you are a loyal British subject, that should be reason enough for you. And if any other international partners want to get it in on the act, the more the merrier is what I say. (Although I would caution NASA to ensure that all critical path components be under its control in order that the entire project can't be held hostage to unforeseen geopolitical unpleasantness.)

And once a Moon-Earth infrastructure is in place, the cost of going to Mars suddenly becomes much less. The development costs for a lander, for example, will have mostly been taken care of, and there will be fuel depots filled with cheap lunar oxygen located near the edge of the Earth's gravity well. Then instead of being 30 years away, the Mars mission will only be 15 years away! Who knows, you might still get to die happy! :)

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 04:11 PM
Doug, I'm not trying to pidgeon-hole you....
I know where you're coming from:
you think
you're afraid
you'll probably never
you would
the reason you
you might

You seem to know about what I think, am afraid etc. Remarkable. Patent your mind reading technology now, before someone else gets it.

Still - you've not supplied a reason why we should be going back to the moon - and you've fallen foul of the 'lunar infrastructure' myth for going to Mars. And the work of designing a Mars lander will be 'mainly done' by building a moon lander? Err - no. Utterly utterly different requirements. If you want to get ready to go to Mars - then let's get ready to go to Mars.

Going to the Moon, is not that. It's not..well...anything. I've asked and asked for a reason and nothing substantial has been forthcoming.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 04:33 PM
We don't know how to land on Mars. That's it.

We know how to reach Mars. We know how to orbit Mars. What we don't know is how to land big things on Mars. I hope you guys are aware what hypersonic transition problem means and understand that we should develop new technologies.

Otherwise, the Moon vs Mars debate us useless and hocking loogies doesn't do anything good :)

I grew up with MERs. I remember what a great year 2003 was. I love Mars. But... it's just not possible. It will be possible if we start developing new technologies. But not now.

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 04:42 PM
We don't know how to land on Mars. That's it.

So we don't YET know how to land on Mars is a reason to go to the Moon? REally? Has someone left some blueprints in Plato crater?

We didn't know how to land on the moon in Sept 1962. 7 years later, we'd done it.

You don't solve the entry problems of Mars by going to the Moon.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 04:46 PM
The situation in 1962 was quite favourable. They had to do it. At all cost.

Today it's different. They won't give the money required to send people on Mars.

But I do expect to see a Phobos landing in my lifetime.

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-28, 04:49 PM
I grew up with MERs. I remember what a great year 2003 was. I love Mars. But... it's just not possible. It will be possible if we start developing new technologies. But not now.
Chariots are impossible if no one had invented wheels.
Not now, yes. But if we actually researched the technology to do so, we will almost certainly find the means to do so. It's not like piercing the light barrier, where there is hard theoretical limits, it's a technological problem.
Well, let's get to work on the technology.

samkent
2009-Sep-28, 04:54 PM
Why to go back to the Moon

That par 5 hole would only take 3 shots.

If you put the cat out for the night, you won’t have to feed him in the morning.

That all night keger party would last for weeks and never wake the neighbors.

You can flick the cigarette butt and not worry about starting a forest fire..

Raccoons would never tear your trash bags all over the front yard.

No issues with handicapped parking spots at the mall.

That beer bottle thrown off the rover would land in someones back yard and not litter the road.

Dwane the Dog Bounty hunter doesn’t have a branch office there.

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-28, 04:55 PM
Come on, we know how to land on Mars. We have decades of successful experience with Mars reentry aeroshells and various methods of landing (combinations of parachutes, retrorockets, and so on). With Mars Phoenix, we have perfected the retrorocket landing technique.

There are plenty of significant technological challenges involved in a manned mission to Mars, but figuring out how to land isn't one of them.

danscope
2009-Sep-28, 05:16 PM
Look.......the Moon has no atmosphere. Nothing.Nada. 0.0000atmosphere.
There is no chance whatsoever for aerobraking.Zip. Mars has little...a little
bit of something to slow down an incomming vehicle of sorts. It would at least help. And of course the gravity is different, a good deal different.
The only thing about the moon is that it is relatively close by. If there is a
major problem, you might be able to rescue people in a few days...
(Provided you have a back-up ship and crew ready to go). Mars shall enjoy no such luxury...ever. The best you could do would be to have a ship in orbit with a ready to go lander to either bring in parts and supplies or take people home.
None of this speculation is cheap, folks. Not by a long shot.
Luna and Mars don't relate. .
Dan

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 05:29 PM
Some of you aren't aware of the problem.

Yes, the Moon has a little bit of something to slow us down. The bad news is that it works well for small landers. However two big problems arouse when you try to land something big.

1. You need a huge chute that has to open on time

2. Your speed has to be low enough to start the engines and this shouldn't happen too close to the ground.

Here's a detailed arcitle:

http://www.universetoday.com/2007/07/17/the-mars-landing-approach-getting-large-payloads-to-the-surface-of-the-red-planet/

I don't see a way to overcome this unless you use inflatables and deployables.

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-28, 05:44 PM
That article predates Mars Phoenix, which massively advanced the state of the art. You could even say it was a game-changer.

I don't think you're ever going to see inflatables on another Mars mission, that's how significant Mars Phoenix was. The retrorocket approach requires less mass and is much gentler on the payload than inflatables--if you can perfect the technique. Which we did with the success of Mars Phoenix.

And if you're landing retro-rocket landers instead of haphazardly bouncing around airbag payloads, then you can land multiple smaller landers instead of just one big one. You don't need a single huge lander with all of the supplies for a multi-month mission. You can send the supplies down first, and then later land the manned crew module.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 05:47 PM
That article indeed predates Mars Phoenix, but Phoenix is quite small, anyway.

Why do you think they invented the skycrane? Because it looks sexy? No. Because MSL is the biggest Mars lander ever made. And neither retrorockets nor airbags will help

samkent
2009-Sep-28, 05:51 PM
No doubt you find such a possibility to be highly unlikely, but then Jamestown probably seemed like a boondoggle at the time.

Correct me if I am wrong but they didn’t need money and ships from England just to breathe in Jamestown.

nokton
2009-Sep-28, 05:58 PM
Some of you aren't aware of the problem.

Yes, the Moon has a little bit of something to slow us down. The bad news is that it works well for small landers. However two big problems arouse when you try to land something big.

1. You need a huge chute that has to open on time

2. Your speed has to be low enough to start the engines and this shouldn't happen too close to the ground.

Here's a detailed arcitle:

http://www.universetoday.com/2007/07/17/the-mars-landing-approach-getting-large-payloads-to-the-surface-of-the-red-planet/

I don't see a way to overcome this unless you use inflatables and deployables.

The way to overcome the problem is with different technology, and different thinking.
We are so backward thinking, we are blind to new ways of doing things.
Propulsion is based on chemical technology, fusion propulsion is not beyond our
capability if we put our minds to it. Likewise anti gravity technology has been
demonstrated in experiments that used an aluminium structure to levitate when
an electrical field was applied
Nokton.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 06:00 PM
We are so backward thinking, we are blind to new ways of doing things.
Propulsion is based on chemical technology, fusion propulsion is not beyond our
capability if we put our minds to it. Likewise anti gravity technology has been
demonstrated in experiments that used an aluminium structure to levitate when
an electrical field was applied
Nokton.

Excuse me, but I think this is not the right forum to suggest this, I think. This should go to "Against mainstream"

IsaacKuo
2009-Sep-28, 06:08 PM
Why do you think they invented the skycrane? Because it looks sexy? No. Because MSL is the biggest Mars lander ever made. And neither retrorockets nor airbags will help
I thought it was because they could avoid the mass penalty of a landing platform and the potential risks involved in leaving the landing platform.

For a manned mission, these problems are moot.

Why not use retrorockets like Mars Phoenix? Well, unlike Mars Phoenix, MSL is a mobile rover. You wouldn't want to lug around the dead weight of retrorocket thrusters and empty fuel tanks, would you? Of course not. You're going to discard the retrorockets and fuel tanks anyway. Once you've decided on that much, placing those retrorockets on the end of a line simplifies clean disposal and deployment of hardware (such as solar panels, and so on).

Skycrane in and of itself does not improve landing capabilities compared to retrorockets. Skycrane USES retrorockets. Those retrorockets are even canted outward, slightly reducing the available thrust. But for certain missions like MSL, the skycrane system can offer compelling benefits.

For a manned mission, it's not clear that you'd use skycrane for anything. You're not going to discard your landing thrusters...you need them to take off again later. And assuming you're bringing a rover along, you don't really need to worry about it getting stuck while leaving the landing ramp. There won't be a landing ramp. The rover will be delivered in "kit" form, and assembled by the human crew (like the lunar rover).

djellison
2009-Sep-28, 06:10 PM
That article indeed predates Mars Phoenix, but Phoenix is quite small, anyway.

Why do you think they invented the skycrane? Because it looks sexy? No. Because MSL is the biggest Mars lander ever made. And neither retrorockets nor airbags will help

Err - Skycrane IS retrorockets. That's all it is. The complex sky crane technique is simply to avoid landing the rover on top of a lot of fuel tanks.

samkent
2009-Sep-28, 06:11 PM
Likewise anti gravity technology has been
demonstrated in experiments that used an aluminium structure to levitate when
an electrical field was applied

That electrical field you mention is the same as rubbing a balloon on your hair. Youtube science.

Sticks
2009-Sep-28, 06:24 PM
Likewise anti gravity technology has been
demonstrated in experiments that used an aluminium structure to levitate when an electrical field was applied
Nokton.

Nokton Anti gravity proposals, like Zvezdichko suggested belong in the Against the Mainstream section. Putting forward ATM ideas outside of that section can lead to suspensions or bannings. Let this be a warning.

Zvezdichko
2009-Sep-28, 06:31 PM
Err - Skycrane IS retrorockets. That's all it is. The complex sky crane technique is simply to avoid landing the rover on top of a lot of fuel tanks.

Correct, Doug. Point taken.

marsbug
2009-Sep-28, 09:24 PM
I don't understand some of the above discussion; Both the moon and mars are complex worlds with unique characters and mysteries, but aside from mars having some potential for past life, why would the rationale for sending people to one not apply for the other? Mars has some atmosphere but I don't understand why that would make a significant difference to people, its so thin as to essentially be a vacuum from a human survival point of view.

I don't mean to be awkward, I just found some of the above discussion a bit vauge on what the practical differences being discussed are and wanted to ask for some clarification.

bebe7
2009-Sep-28, 09:29 PM
I should say that if we can get a precision landing on Mars that should help to pave the way for HSF to Mars.

Bebe

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-28, 09:36 PM
You seem to know about what I think, am afraid etc. Remarkable. Patent your mind reading technology now, before someone else gets it.Wow. Maybe so.


Still - you've not supplied a reason why we should be going back to the moon - and you've fallen foul of the 'lunar infrastructure' myth for going to Mars. And the work of designing a Mars lander will be 'mainly done' by building a moon lander? Err - no. Utterly utterly different requirements. If you want to get ready to go to Mars - then let's get ready to go to Mars.Lunar fuel depots would be a big help. You cannot rationally deny that. Also the ULA paper I keep citing but no one reads says that the horizontal "Altair" they propose would work in some endoatmospheric environments.


Going to the Moon, is not that. It's not..well...anything. I've asked and asked for a reason and nothing substantial has been forthcoming.I've given you the reasons: the same reasons mentioned by President Bush: spending NASA's HSF budget on going back to the Moon serves the national interests of the USA better than any other practicable HSF project. Granted, that's a parochial explanation. But how will going to Mars instead better serve the national interests of the USA? The promise of short-lived, frenzied media-hype 30 years in the future isn't going to cut it.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-28, 09:37 PM
I should say that if we can get a precision landing on Mars that should help to pave the way for HSF to Mars.

Bebe

I'm reminded of the Airborne cadence we used in the Army:
"Look out below, cuz I'm coming through..."

Van Rijn
2009-Sep-29, 09:05 AM
I don't understand some of the above discussion; Both the moon and mars are complex worlds with unique characters and mysteries, but aside from mars having some potential for past life, why would the rationale for sending people to one not apply for the other? Mars has some atmosphere but I don't understand why that would make a significant difference to people, its so thin as to essentially be a vacuum from a human survival point of view.

I don't mean to be awkward, I just found some of the above discussion a bit vauge on what the practical differences being discussed are and wanted to ask for some clarification.

I think it boils down to people having different goals and different assumptions.

Some people are focused on Mars, some on the Moon, some have a different focus from either of those. Some think that science is the key goal, others think that developing human space infrastructure is the key goal. Some think we should (or can only) continue in essentially the same way we have been for the last few decades, others think that is a dead end.

danscope
2009-Sep-29, 05:12 PM
Maybe the point is that with truly unlimited funds....$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, you can probably do most anything,
and like one chinese philosopher once said" If you dig a hole deep enough,
there will always be somebody that wants to jump in."
So I imagine that there are always a few unstable malcontents that want to blast off for mars with no hope of returning or survival. Who knows.
But those who are truly aware of the nature of technology as it stands today and what it can do and the directions it takes ...in view of the nature of our financial situation , will recognise the pressing needs elsewhere, and that matters of state take precedence over matters of state (with appologies to Mel Brooks). And when people talk about blasting atomic bombs to push you out in space, you lose your educated audience.
Keep your feet on the ground and be patient. And see what robots can do.
People are expensive.
Best regards,
Dan

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-29, 05:55 PM
The idea that robots are "cheap" is a myth". Robots are expensive. The budget for NASA's unmanned spaceflight program is comparable to the entire NSF budget. As it is there are more probes flying around right now than there is money to keep track of them.

The Jim
2009-Sep-29, 06:22 PM
The idea that robots are "cheap" is a myth". Robots are expensive. The budget for NASA's unmanned spaceflight program is comparable to the entire NSF budget. As it is there are more probes flying around right now than there is money to keep track of them.

Incorrect, The HSF budget is many times greater than the unmanned budget and returns much more science and information.

wrong on the second point too

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-29, 07:15 PM
All I know is what the NASA spreadsheet says: it's got roughly ~$5 billion listed for "Science" and that's where the unmanned probes are mostly funded, and about $10 billion for "Exploration" which includes Constellation and Advanced Capabilities (which a little lunar robotic precursor money) and "Space Operations"--Shuttle, ISS, Space and Flight support. So Constellation, Advanced Capabilities, Shuttle, ISS, and Flight Operations get roughly twice the "Science" money. I guess the question is how much of the "Science" budget should be counted as in the service of manned missions or unmanned missions. Granted, a lot of that money goes to fund science projects all over the place, but if they are analyzing data from unmanned missions, I would charge that as a cost of unmanned space flight. But maybe that's not a fair means to assess cost. As for science done, I agree that unmanned exploration currently returns much more science; but that's partly a function of the fact that humans have been confined to LEO for decades now where they cannot be used to their fullest advantage. The budget says there are about 57 unmanned missions going so far (and about 32 planned). Obviously those missions are funded, so they have enough money, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that some functional probes have been shut down in order to free up funds for other, newer probes. E.g.:

http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2008/05/nasa_to_pull_plug_on_gravity_p.html


“Bottom line here is that NASA funds are too tight, so some operating missions are being reviewed for descoping or shut down,” says Sigurðsson, who works at Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. “Looks like GP-B [Gravity Probe B] will close shop, and expect RXTE to shut down in early 2009 as tentatively scheduled.” ... According to [New Scientist], data from GP-B was “unexpectedly noisy” due to solar flares and the team wanted more money to try and clean it up.

Which is not to suggest that this is necessarily the way things should be. It seems kind of a waste to send up a probe and not drive it into the ground.

marsbug
2009-Sep-29, 07:39 PM
Maybe the point is that with truly unlimited funds....$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, you can probably do most anything,
and like one chinese philosopher once said" If you dig a hole deep enough,
there will always be somebody that wants to jump in."
So I imagine that there are always a few unstable malcontents that want to blast off for mars with no hope of returning or survival. Who knows.
But those who are truly aware of the nature of technology as it stands today and what it can do and the directions it takes ...in view of the nature of our financial situation , will recognise the pressing needs elsewhere, and that matters of state take precedence over matters of state (with appologies to Mel Brooks). And when people talk about blasting atomic bombs to push you out in space, you lose your educated audience.
Keep your feet on the ground and be patient. And see what robots can do.
People are expensive.
Best regards,
Dan

Human spaceflight is an amazing achievement, and I'd like to see it continue and expand, so future generations can enjoy it, hopefully in person much more often than today. I'm willing to put my voice, and my tax money towards it. Why does it need more justification than that if a lot of people feel the same way?

EDIT: My apologies for my part in dragging this thread off topic, but I feel strongly on this. Our world needs badly to believe in itself right now, and nothing says 'I believe in myself' like landing on the moon (or even mars!).

bebe7
2009-Sep-29, 07:46 PM
Interesting that the best description of a spinning black hole was given in 1963 by the New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr, using Einstein’s equations of gravity. But there is a quirky feature to his solution. It predicts that if one fell into a black hole, one might be sucked down a tunnel (called the “Einstein-Rosen bridge”) and shot out a “white hole” in a parallel universe! Kerr showed that a spinning black hole would collapse not into a point, but to a “ring of fire.” Because the ring was spinning rapidly, centrifugal forces would keep it from collapsing. Remarkably, a space probe fired directly through the ring would not be crushed into oblivion, but might actually emerge unscratched on the other side of the Einstein-Rosen bridge, in a parallel universe. This “wormhole” may connect two parallel universes, or even distant parts of the same universe.

Bebe

“We in the back are all agreed that your theory is crazy. But what divides us is whether your theory is crazy enough!” Niels Bohr

ravens_cry
2009-Sep-29, 07:54 PM
I think what with negative energy, they found that a black hole can be it's own white hole. At the very least, no white holes have been discovered so far. If I remember right, there was some thought quasars might be white holes at one time.

antoniseb
2009-Sep-29, 07:59 PM
Interesting that the best description of a spinning black hole was given in 1963 by the New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr, ...

Hi bebe7, you are pretty new here, so perhaps you didn't notice how off-topic your post here was. Please try to stick to topic in the future, and start your own topics if you have something new.

djellison
2009-Sep-29, 10:59 PM
Which is not to suggest that this is necessarily the way things should be. It seems kind of a waste to send up a probe and not drive it into the ground.

Gravity Probe B is a story all of its own - there's a thread all about it in this place.

RXTE is still doing its work. That money may, at some point, be better spent on newer, more capable x-ray facilities.

FWIW - MER (Spirit and Opportunity) runs on around $20m/year. Cassini about $80m/year. In the grand scheme of things - NOT a lot of money.

By all means demonstrate, with facts and examples that "As it is there are more probes flying around right now than there is money to keep track of them."

Probes I can think of?

Spitzer - now enjoying being run into the ground since it's coolent ran out
SOHO - redefining run into the ground
MER - LITERALLY run into the ground.
Cassini - Extended mission with further extensions planned
Stardust - returned comet samples and the flyby bus sent off to fly past another comet
Deep Impact - not only did it's primary mission, but was used as a space telescope during cruise for another comet flyby in the future
Voyager - still going
Galex - extended
NEAR - did all the useful science it could and was then landed
Lunar Prospector - literally, again, run into the ground for great science
MGS - massive mission extensions till it died
MODY - still extended
Hubble - extension extension extension
Chandra - 10 years on and still going strong

Funds are tight for extended missions - of that there is no doubt - but it is right and proper that missions should have to fight for and justify their budgets. I see no examples of good science being cut short because of a lack of money. Please do provide some. I would refer you to Squyres's contribution to the Aug.Com as I posted yesterday.

Warren Platts
2009-Sep-30, 12:17 PM
The article said these others were in danger of running out of funding, though you mentioned Gravity Probe-B. I don't know what they do. I would guess they are still capable of some good science, it's just that they're lower down on the priority list.

6. WMAP
7. XMM
8. INTEGRAL
9. RXTE
10. Gravity Probe-B

As for figuring the cost of probes, if we take the total "Science" budget (~$4.5 billion USD) and divide by the number of missions in operation and in development (~90), that's only about $50 million USD per mission per year on average. Which is relatively "cheap", considering that that's about 1/10th of the advertised cost of a Shuttle mission. But when they're all added up, because there are so many unmanned missions, it's not exactly chump change. But I'm still not sure I'm cyphering this correctly. Doug (and Jim), you know better than me: is $4.5 to $5 billion per year about the correct figure for what NASA spends in total for the unmanned side of the program?

djellison
2009-Sep-30, 01:41 PM
6. WMAP
7. XMM
8. INTEGRAL
9. RXTE
10. Gravity Probe-B

WMAP's job is quite specific. Map the CMB. At some point - it will have mapped the CMB as well as it is possible for WMAP to do it. It's still functioning right now - but I imagine at some point they will say "OK - we're done" and turn it off. That's common sense. It was designed for a primary mission of two years. Currently in its 8th year and still going.

XMM-Newton is an ESA Xray telescope. Still going strong, the next observing cycle AO deadline is 10 days away. Operations are funded out to December 2012 currently.

Integral is an ESA/RSA/NASA colaboration. Still going strong. Primary mission was 2 years. Nominal 2 years - extended to 31 December 2012

RXTE, still going strong. Primary mission of 2 years. Hoped to do 5. Nearly 14 years old and still going.

GPB - did it's job, didn't do it very well, mission finished. As I said, there's a thread in this forum all about it - way outside my scientific comfort zone. From what I can gather, GPB turns out to have just been a bad idea.

I still don't know where you get the idea that we can't track all these things. Ulysses, for example. It was supposed to die about 18 months ago, but they found the money, and the engineering genius, to get another year out of it. Even their 'end of mission' T-Shirts and patches had the wrong year on them.

It's hard to filter out what $ is actually spent on unmanned science. A VERY large chunk of it gets messed up with Hubble and its servicing missions which are not exactly a 2 cent deal.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/344612main_Agency_Summary_Final_updates_5_6_09_R2. pdf

That infers about $4.4B for 2010.

Constellation, ISS, Shuttle etc add up to about $10.1B

I would say it makes more sense to consider them on a mission by mission basis. MSL is, for sure, a hugely expensive mission - but it pushes engineering a LONG way forward for Mars exploration, and its instruments are utterly amazing. Remember - each big flagship mission feed forward to help future missions as well. Magellan - used a spare Voyager HGA. Stardust used spare Cassini optics, that were in turn spare Voyager spare optics (true story - I was very surprised). Spare Cassini RTG.... went to New Horizons. And many of these missions break the engineering ground for the small ands medium sized missions such as Galex etc. Part of that $4.4B is the Earth observing stuff - Aqua, Terra, Aura etc etc.

samkent
2009-Sep-30, 03:27 PM
I'm willing to put my voice, and my tax money towards it.

So lets run some numbers here.

In 2003 there were 131 million individual tax returns filed. If 5 percent (optimistic) of these returns are space nut returns and are willing to cough up an additional $100, that would be an extra $650 million. That’s not going to get you anywhere close to the Moon.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-30, 04:56 PM
So lets run some numbers here.

In 2003 there were 131 million individual tax returns filed. If 5 percent (optimistic) of these returns are space nut returns and are willing to cough up an additional $100, that would be an extra $650 million. That’s not going to get you anywhere close to the Moon.

Omahgosh! yur rite! I like totally fergot that income tax is the nations only source of revenue!

Glom
2009-Sep-30, 05:39 PM
Hi bebe7, you are pretty new here, so perhaps you didn't notice how off-topic your post here was. Please try to stick to topic in the future, and start your own topics if you have something new.

Indeed. Everyone over here (http://www.bautforum.com/astronomy/94254-black-rings.html) for such a discussion.

timb
2009-Oct-01, 06:11 AM
So lets run some numbers here.

In 2003 there were 131 million individual tax returns filed. If 5 percent (optimistic) of these returns are space nut returns and are willing to cough up an additional $100, that would be an extra $650 million. That’s not going to get you anywhere close to the Moon.

To be fair you should let the non-spacenuts tick a box for a refund of the money that would have otherwise been spent on manned space flight.

danscope
2009-Oct-01, 03:57 PM
Yes...... a good proposal you make. Survey the taxpayers we should.
See the future you shall.
Dan

nokton
2009-Oct-01, 05:53 PM
Interesting that the best description of a spinning black hole was given in 1963 by the New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr, using Einstein’s equations of gravity. But there is a quirky feature to his solution. It predicts that if one fell into a black hole, one might be sucked down a tunnel (called the “Einstein-Rosen bridge”) and shot out a “white hole” in a parallel universe! Kerr showed that a spinning black hole would collapse not into a point, but to a “ring of fire.” Because the ring was spinning rapidly, centrifugal forces would keep it from collapsing. Remarkably, a space probe fired directly through the ring would not be crushed into oblivion, but might actually emerge unscratched on the other side of the Einstein-Rosen bridge, in a parallel universe. This “wormhole” may connect two parallel universes, or even distant parts of the same universe.

Bebe

“We in the back are all agreed that your theory is crazy. But what divides us is whether your theory is crazy enough!” Niels Bohr

Hi Bebe, my only problem with the above is that blackholes grow in size. I am not familiar
with the math here, but reason dictates to me that if a black hole is loosing mass to
another universe it would compromise its growth in this universe, so the supermassive
black holes at the centre of galaxies would never have formed.
Nokton

nokton
2009-Oct-01, 06:21 PM
I think what with negative energy, they found that a black hole can be it's own white hole. At the very least, no white holes have been discovered so far. If I remember right, there was some thought quasars might be white holes at one time.
With negative energy there is no discernable radiation, why should there be? The
electron spin is reversed, as is the charge, ergo, dark energy, a repulsive force driving
the expansion of the universe in between the mass of galaxies.
Dark energy does not exist in high gravitational fields, dark matter precludes it.
Nokton.

Superluminal
2009-Oct-01, 08:13 PM
Back to the OP. From what I understand the amount of wate is like a couple of gallons per ton at the poles and a teaspoon or so at the equator. I'm afraid that isn't going to get many "Joe Sixpacks" too excited about going to the moon. We may need another, "beat the Russians" type of slogan to get people motivated.

If JFK, in his famous "go to the moon." speech, had said,"Let's go to the moon and look for some really old rocks so we can learn about the origin of the moon and the solar system," Apollo would still be on the drawing boards. Unfortunatly, the average person needs more than pur science to be willing to spend large amounts of money on something.

danscope
2009-Oct-01, 08:29 PM
Even Joe sixpack sees the need to make energy on our own shores rather than galavanting to mars. We have so many serious infrstructure problems that are "pressing" that make human space flight miniscule. This is the PR problem that you will never beat down and turn around.
Simply put: You have to pay your bills before you go to disneyland.
America is growing up. And we "will" pay our bills and get out of the hole.
Grandiose plans to go to the moon and mars won't figure prominently in the face of these severe tasks. It remains a simple reality.
The question is moot.

Neverfly
2009-Oct-01, 08:31 PM
Back to the OP. From what I understand the amount of wate is like a couple of gallons per ton at the poles and a teaspoon or so at the equator. I'm afraid that isn't going to get many "Joe Sixpacks" too excited about going to the moon. We may need another, "beat the Russians" type of slogan to get people motivated.

If JFK, in his famous "go to the moon." speech, had said,"Let's go to the moon and look for some really old rocks so we can learn about the origin of the moon and the solar system," Apollo would still be on the drawing boards. Unfortunatly, the average person needs more than pur science to be willing to spend large amounts of money on something.

Let's photoshop a picture of Gorbachev and Mao se Dung shaking hands on the Moon and release it to the press.

Warren Platts
2009-Oct-01, 10:26 PM
Even Joe sixpack sees the need to make energy on our own shores rather than galavanting to mars. We have so many serious infrstructure problems that are "pressing" that make human space flight miniscule. This is the PR problem that you will never beat down and turn around.
Simply put: You have to pay your bills before you go to disneyland.
America is growing up. And we "will" pay our bills and get out of the hole.
Grandiose plans to go to the moon and mars won't figure prominently in the face of these severe tasks. It remains a simple reality.
The question is moot.
Moot? I don't think so. The United States has made a collective decision to spend about $10 billion USD per year on human space flight. That is enough money to return humans to the Moon permanently by 2018, and keep the ISS extended until 2020. I don't know whether that counts as "grandiose" or not, but it is possible, if the program is managed properly.

danscope
2009-Oct-02, 01:24 AM
I see those funds spent on repair of existing satelites in LEO. That's something needs doing by man in space.
The moon? For what... PR? shrug.... Been there, done that...got the Tee shirt. Got the patch. Got the video. Got the samples. Done.

Warren Platts
2009-Oct-02, 03:06 PM
I see those funds spent on repair of existing satelites in LEO. That's something needs doing by man in space.
It's cheaper to just replace them than to send people to fix them.

The moon? For what... PR? shrug.... Been there, done that...got the Tee shirt. Got the patch. Got the video. Got the samples. Done.Because the Moon is something besides empty vacuum, mainly.

nokton
2009-Oct-02, 05:01 PM
Even Joe sixpack sees the need to make energy on our own shores rather than galavanting to mars. We have so many serious infrstructure problems that are "pressing" that make human space flight miniscule. This is the PR problem that you will never beat down and turn around.
Simply put: You have to pay your bills before you go to disneyland.
America is growing up. And we "will" pay our bills and get out of the hole.
Grandiose plans to go to the moon and mars won't figure prominently in the face of these severe tasks. It remains a simple reality.
The question is moot.

I have no contention with the above, but, to look at a bigger scenario, 7 billion
people, and the number growing, on this small planet. They all need feeding, they
all need homes and space, they all need transport.
Our planet has finite resources which are fast drying up.
Global warming may turn out to be a panacea in the short term, why, because
of the vast amounts of fossil fuels under the poles, also, when the millions of
acres now under permafrost thaw out, we will have that land to produce food
for a species on the point of extinction through starvation and thirst.
And thinking of a bill that you have no currency to pay, makes my point.
Nokton.

bebe7
2009-Oct-02, 10:07 PM
Hi bebe7, you are pretty new here, so perhaps you didn't notice how off-topic your post here was. Please try to stick to topic in the future, and start your own topics if you have something new.

Hi...Actually, I thought I was on topic considering that I was meaning to use the Black Hole as a Worm Hole for HSF. Just read an interesting article from NASA on a hypothetical Wormhole Induction Propelled Spacecraft.

Bebe

"I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet." Stephen Hawking

danscope
2009-Oct-03, 02:31 AM
The budget will ultimately tell what can be done and what will wait.
No question. And it's interesting to ask the tough and tougher questions,
because later on and sooner than we think, people will be asking tougher questions like..."How many windmills can we build for every launch?"
It remains to be seen just what sort of news has to come...about the moon....to stir so much interest that we would pay to return , even for a
nostalgia parade one time, and well, does the discovery of vapour in some sort of concrete on luna qualify to draw us there? There shall be questions
about how much we spend on space, and priorities. Only now those priorities
have to compete with what needs be here.
There will always be a budget for space, and it will be increasingly defined by pressing need and scrutinized with renewed zeal .
I don't think any private companies are going to and returning man to the moon. ....Anyone else?
I think some of the low hanging fruit is gone.
Where is the next big pile of money comming from?


Dan

Warren Platts
2009-Oct-03, 02:42 AM
The budget will ultimately tell what can be done and what will wait.Yeah, no kidding. $10 billion USD per year.

And it's interesting to ask the tough and tougher questions,
because later on and sooner than we think, people will be asking tougher questions like..."How many solar panels can we build for every launch?"


It remains to be seen just what sort of news has to come...about the moon....to stir so much interest that we would pay to return , even for a
nostalgia parade one time, and well, does the discovery of vapour in some sort of concrete on luna qualify to draw us there?
If one's knowledge of Luna is 0, then increasing one's knowledge by a factor of 10 still equals 0.



I think some of the low hanging fruit is gone.
Where is the next big pile of money comming from?
DanThe low hanging fruit hasn't been touched yet. And we don't need a new pile of money. The current budget is sufficient.

nokton
2009-Oct-03, 04:30 PM
The budget will ultimately tell what can be done and what will wait.
No question. And it's interesting to ask the tough and tougher questions,
because later on and sooner than we think, people will be asking tougher questions like..."How many windmills can we build for every launch?"
It remains to be seen just what sort of news has to come...about the moon....to stir so much interest that we would pay to return , even for a
nostalgia parade one time, and well, does the discovery of vapour in some sort of concrete on luna qualify to draw us there? There shall be questions
about how much we spend on space, and priorities. Only now those priorities
have to compete with what needs be here.
There will always be a budget for space, and it will be increasingly defined by pressing need and scrutinized with renewed zeal .
I don't think any private companies are going to and returning man to the moon. ....Anyone else?
I think some of the low hanging fruit is gone.
Where is the next big pile of money comming from?


Dan
Hi Dan,
Calculate the amount spent on cosmetics and pet food in the USA before
you contest the amount spent by NASA on our understanding of the universe,
and where we fit into it as intelligent observers.
In many ways, if it wasn't for NASA, we would still be in a dark age of suspicion
and folklore.
Nokton

samkent
2009-Oct-03, 05:25 PM
Calculate the amount spent on cosmetics and pet food in the USA before
you contest the amount spent by NASA on our understanding of the universe,
and where we fit into it as intelligent observers.

Cosmetics and pet food make life bearable for the rest of us left behind on the ground.


Global warming may turn out to be a panacea in the short term, why, because
of the vast amounts of fossil fuels under the poles, also, when the millions of
acres now under permafrost thaw out, we will have that land to produce food
for a species on the point of extinction through starvation and thirst.

And who’s going to feed America when it turns into a larger version of Mexico?

Sticks
2009-Oct-03, 05:37 PM
And who’s going to feed America when it turns into a larger version of Mexico?


nokton and samkent this thread is not about global warming. Please desist from this thread hijack

danscope
2009-Oct-03, 11:54 PM
The question of micrograms of water as an impetus to going back to the moon for fun is questionable. Remember: we are 'borrowing' at increasing interests and at taxpayer's expense these "10 billions of dollars".
The nature of scrutiny dedicated to esoteric exploration is going to be increasingly more severe. It will have to compete with the rationalized work in LEO.
And replacing batteries and bearings is cheaper than grinding a mirror for 10 years. (Some satelites are 'cheaper' to re-launch new ones.... 'some' . )
You may have been able to convince the last "rah-rah" croud of the great PR in going to the moon, but it will be a "New Ball Game" with new umpires and a change of rules.
Be ready for it. It is just a reality check.
Best regards,
Dan

eburacum45
2009-Oct-04, 08:51 PM
Lots of good threads in this forum at moment. If only I could keep up with them all.

What happened to the helium-3? Have we seen any? Couldn't that be the missing link? With water around, plus a power source, you have abundant fuel potential.
The He3 is spread even more thinly than the water; and it seems both come from the same source (the Sun). I think that it may be possible to harvest the He3 (and the hydrogen) but only as a byproduct of larger scale mining activity. The Moon's surface represents a source of silicon, aluminium, oxygen, iron, titanium, and in some places rare earth elements and even fissile materials.

None of this is valuable enough to send to the Earth market (we've got plenty of all of them, except He3) but it would be useful for any industry on the surface of the Moon or in space. That is a real problem- to exploit this thinly spread hydrogen and He3 it would be neccessary to have large scale mining on the Moon.

And any large scale mining on the Moon would require a market in space for all the other things that the Moon can provide; space-sourced iron, aluminium, silicon, and so on. This market doesnt exist yet. I think it will, one day, but it won't happen overnight.

bebe7
2009-Oct-05, 07:25 PM
Interesting point Nokton, quite possibly the Universe that is parallel may be full of anti matter.

In 1974, British physicist Stephen Hawking worked out the exact theoretical model for how a black hole could emit black body radiation.

In a simplified version of the explanation, Hawking predicted that energy fluctuations from the vacuum causes the generation of particle-antiparticle pairs near the event horizon of the black hole. One of the particles falls into the black hole while the other escapes, before they have an opportunity to annihilate each other. The net result is that, to someone viewing the black hole, it would appear that a particle had been emitted.

Since the particle that is emitted has positive energy, the particle that gets absorbed by the black hole has a negative energy relative to the outside universe. This results in the black hole losing energy, and thus mass (because E = mc2).

Smaller primordial black holes can actually emit more energy than they absorb, which results in them losing net mass. Larger black holes, such as those that are one solar mass, absorb more cosmic radiation than they emit through Hawking radiation.

marsbug
2009-Oct-06, 12:48 PM
So lets run some numbers here.

In 2003 there were 131 million individual tax returns filed. If 5 percent (optimistic) of these returns are space nut returns and are willing to cough up an additional $100, that would be an extra $650 million. That’s not going to get you anywhere close to the Moon.

I agree with Neverfly, by that logic the US is a hell of lot poorer than we've been led to believe! My point is that if there are a lot of people supporting a space project (ISS, moon return whatever) that is a justification for it in itself. And according to a recent Gallup poll (http://www.gallup.com/poll/121736/Majority-Americans-Say-Space-Program-Costs-Justified.aspx#)a lot of people do support the current space program. To quote the polls conclusions:


Americans remain broadly supportive of space exploration and government funding of it. In fact, Americans are somewhat more likely to believe the benefits of the space program justify its costs at the 40th anniversary of the moon landing than they were at the 10th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries.

Although support for keeping NASA funding at its present level or increasing it is lower now than it has been in the past, the fact that 6 in 10 Americans hold this view in the midst of a recession suggests the public is firmly committed to the space program.

It's not an optimistic 5% of space 'nuts' who support the current program samkent, it's over half the population of the US as of july 2009. I realise that 'supports the space program' does not have to mean 'supports manned lunar missions', but the current space program does include a manned return to the moon, and everyone knows that. Do you have evidence that in spite of over half of americans supporting the space program 95% of them don't support a return to the moon? If so please direct me to it!

samkent
2009-Oct-06, 04:22 PM
It's not an optimistic 5% of space 'nuts' who support the current program samkent, it's over half the population of the US as of july 2009.

I don’t have any links to prove the following but I think the logic is sound.

Americans would support an increases in
Social Security benefits.
Medicare benefits
Unemployment benefits
Federal college grants
Local School funding
Federal highway funds

On and on

The key is whether they are willing to take more money out of their own pockets to fund all of these wonderful things.

What would be interesting is if the population directly had to balance the federal check book by their own votes.

The percentage of people 65 or older looks to be about 20%
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8877/Chapter3.6.1.shtml

Do they share the same excitement about another Moon mission as someone in their 20’s?

With the US un employment at about 10%, I doubt you could get any of them to decrease their benefits to further support the space effort.

Sorry to say that support depends on who’s pocket it comes from.

WalrusLike
2009-Oct-13, 02:20 AM
Does anyone know if the lava tubes that are postulated to exist on the moon are likely to widely located? I wonder if we are lucky enough to have a lava tube near a lunar ice deposit? (yes I know that both are merely possibilities... none found so far...)

A dream... but not impossible. If we look hard we might find that we have a place with endless solar energy, water, and a radiation-proof, easily sealed, well-insulated location for a long term presence on a world offering a number of scientific opportunities.

Just idly hoping...

timb
2009-Oct-13, 02:37 AM
The He3 is spread even more thinly than the water; and it seems both come from the same source (the Sun). I think that it may be possible to harvest the He3 (and the hydrogen) but only as a byproduct of larger scale mining activity. The Moon's surface represents a source of silicon, aluminium, oxygen, iron, titanium, and in some places rare earth elements and even fissile materials.

None of this is valuable enough to send to the Earth market (we've got plenty of all of them, except He3) but it would be useful for any industry on the surface of the Moon or in space. That is a real problem- to exploit this thinly spread hydrogen and He3 it would be neccessary to have large scale mining on the Moon.


Not that 3He is of enormous value. The story about its being the perfect fuel for fusion reactors (if there were any) is bunk. The easiest istopes to fuse are those with relatively low charge, such as tritium. The confinement problems are much greater with 3He fusion than with 2H and 3H. So far the latter confinement problems have not been economically solved.

Glom
2009-Oct-14, 11:29 AM
Not that 3He is of enormous value. The story about its being the perfect fuel for fusion reactors (if there were any) is bunk. The easiest istopes to fuse are those with relatively low charge, such as tritium. The confinement problems are much greater with 3He fusion than with 2H and 3H. So far the latter confinement problems have not been economically solved.

So we're going about it the right way, what with Lithium-Deuterium?

I forget though, is the second stage of the proton-proton cycle the fusion of deuterium and a proton to form deuterium or helium-3?

Is the Sun a crappy fusion reactor?

IsaacKuo
2009-Oct-14, 11:47 AM
Depending on your criteria, the Sun is indeed a crappy fusion reactor. The p-p fusion cycle that powers it is incredibly slow...look at how many billions of years it takes for it to burn up its fuel! Ponder how long it takes for a proton to sit around in that incredibly hot cooker before it gets around to reacting.