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Thread: NASA's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #31
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    Let us agree to disagree here. My take on Japan's and South Korea's moon missions are due to what China and India have done.

    On human space flight my immediate hope lies on China. We probably have to wait another 2 to 4 years before China indicates their next steps in space. Right now it is the sample return from the moon and their Space Station.

    See India only seriously do manned space flight in the 2020s. By that time they would have the GSLV MkIII operational and be working on their GSLV MKIV and MKV. They would also be the 4th largest economy in the world and have the $$$ to spend on their manned space program
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Let us agree to disagree here. My take on Japan's and South Korea's moon missions are due to what China and India have done.
    Maybe South Korea has some incentive, but Japan's lunar exploration program started in 2007 with plans to land a rover and eventually a man on the moon. And that's with a much smaller budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    On human space flight my immediate hope lies on China. We probably have to wait another 2 to 4 years before China indicates their next steps in space. Right now it is the sample return from the moon and their Space Station.
    See India only seriously do manned space flight in the 2020s. By that time they would have the GSLV MkIII operational and be working on their GSLV MKIV and MKV. They would also be the 4th largest economy in the world and have the $$$ to spend on their manned space program
    Speculate all you want but I want to see official statements, projects and estimated timelines, not discussions, hopes and speculations.
    I'm not saying they won't, but there's no evidence of it...yet.

  3. #33
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    Just see what China is doing here on earth to support a future moon base. They are experimenting with growing crops on the moon that will survive the harsh radiation environment there. They have built a self contained habitat where 80% of the human needs were generated within the habitat. That is only information on what has been published. There must be other R&D going on that we do not know about.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Maybe South Korea has some incentive, but Japan's lunar exploration program started in 2007 with plans to land a rover and eventually a man on the moon. And that's with a much smaller budget.
    According to CNN report dated April 23ed, 2015 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has proposed a lunar rover to land on the moon in 2018. They do go on to say that this is Japan's attempt to play catchup to its Asian neighbors China and India.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/23/te...ander-planned/

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), divulged the plan to an expert panel, including members of the cabinet and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on Monday.

    "This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before the plan is formally approved," a JAXA spokesperson told reporters.

    If it is approved, the agency will reportedly use its Epsilon solid-fuel rocket technology to carry and deploy a SLIM probe -- the acronym stands for "Smart Lander for Investigating Moon" -- on the surface of the celestial body.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    They do go on to say that this is Japan's attempt to play catchup to its Asian neighbors China and India.
    That's the reporter's words, and says "could be"
    If China did have an effect on Japan's plans, then it is an acceleration of their plans if it wasn't already in the works.

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    I recall that roscosmos had a plan for an unmanned lunar science station that included ISRU experiments, multiple rovers, and an ongoing sample return effort. As with most of their plans it vanished rather quickly, but I suspect it was a more attainable goal than a manned base. Howver I recall the justification for concentrating all the bases functions in one spot to be quite weak...

  7. #37
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    Looks like NASA's plans for Mars includes manned flights in Cislunar Space and that includes habitation modules. Even if they have no intention of landing on the moon, it does not stop their other international partners using the habitats as stepping stones to do manned landing and exploring on the moon.

    After all the head of NASA has gone on record as saying - "We're going to spend a 10-year period of time between 2020 to 2030 in cis-lunar space," Bolden said, "trying to establish an infrastructure in lunar orbit from which we can help entrepreneurs, international partners and the like who want to get down to the surface of the moon."
    NASA "can't lead it," Bolden added. "But I hope you'll let me have at least one astronaut on the mission that goes down to the surface of the moon … because there is invaluable experience to be gained from doing that."

    So part of the bargain to get the seat could be sharing the habitats.

    http://spacenews.com/nasa-developing...pace-in-2020s/

    While NASA does not yet have specific plans for human missions beyond 2021, the agency is in the early stages of developing a sequence of missions in cislunar space in the 2020s to prepare for later missions to Mars.

    Those plans, which could involve both international and commercial partners, would test out habitation modules and other technologies on missions around the moon ranging from several weeks to a year.

    “The concepts that we’re working on today call for us to begin in the early ’20s with a set of missions involving Orion to get some early experience in cislunar space, leading to a series of longer missions,” said Skip Hatfield, manager of the Development Projects Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, during a session of the Humans to Mars Summit here May 6.

  8. #38
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    Today's Space Review carries an article "Planning the proving ground of cislunar space". It covers about the same ground as the above post #37 from spacenews.com but goes into more details on the duration of missions (starts with one to two months missions building up to one year). The other concern they have is the new habitat module (unlike the ISS which is continuously occupied) is the long dormancy period between flights. They do also mention that their international partners might undertake missions on the moon, using the habitat module as a stepping stone.

    I see this as very positive news for human missions in BEO for the 2020s. We have firm plans from a host of nations for robotic missions to the moon, stating from 2017. With the US giving a platform for manned habitat in cislunar space in the 2020s, let us hope that the other nations will also come up with some firm indications that might satisfy NEOWatcher ("I want to see official statements, projects and estimated timelines")

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2768/1

    All the proposed cislunar missions are still in their conceptual study phases, and Hatfield said it was would likely be a couple of years before plans firmed up and potential partnerships identified. That fits into the planning schedules of major potential partners like Europe and Japan, he said. “We have, maybe, something next fall that might affect our budget,” he added, alluding to the November 2016 presidential election.

    At the same time, though, there was at least a mild sense of urgency about the planning for those missions. “NASA does not have any official plan beyond 2021,” Hopkins said, referring to the first crewed SLS/Orion mission, Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2). While there are notional plans for EM-3 and beyond, NASA hasn’t committed to specific missions, or schedules, for them.

    And those missions are, in some respects, just around the corner. “The ’20s sound like a long time away,” Hatfield said. “They’re really not, from a development standpoint.”
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2015-Jun-09 at 09:33 AM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    let us hope that the other nations will also come up with some firm indications that might satisfy NEOWatcher ("I want to see official statements, projects and estimated timelines")


    Actually; I agree that this is a step. It is NASA studying visions rather than just some NASA lobbyist pushing an agenda.
    And, like Hatfield, it's time they start planning. A 6 year plan is shortsighted in the space industry, and it's something that many of us hear have been griping about.

    There is still a long way to go. These are just options being discussed rather than actual plans. And; whatever they do come up with (hopefully soon) there is still the matter of funding. If we can get something approved early in a political administration, there's a chance that it might evolve enough to bridge the gap to the next one.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post


    Actually; I agree that this is a step. It is NASA studying visions rather than just some NASA lobbyist pushing an agenda.
    And, like Hatfield, it's time they start planning. A 6 year plan is shortsighted in the space industry, and it's something that many of us hear have been griping about.

    There is still a long way to go. These are just options being discussed rather than actual plans. And; whatever they do come up with (hopefully soon) there is still the matter of funding. If we can get something approved early in a political administration, there's a chance that it might evolve enough to bridge the gap to the next one.
    And you still do not trust ESA's incoming head who wants to build a moon base

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Speculate all you want but I want to see official statements, projects and estimated timelines, not discussions, hopes and speculations.
    I'm not saying they won't, but there's no evidence of it...yet.
    Remembered reading it but could not find it till now

    Does the words of "Zhang Yuhua, deputy general director and deputy general designer of the Chang’e-3 probe system" considered a official statement by you.

    In addition to manned lunar landing technology, we are also working on the construction of a lunar base, which will be used for new energy development and living space expansion,” said Zhang at a speech at the Shanghai Science Communication Forum. Her speech dealt with what’s next in China’s lunar exploration program.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    And you still do not trust ESA's incoming head who wants to build a moon base
    Where did I say I didn't "trust" anything.
    I "trust" that he wants one, what I don't see is any plans or studies moving toward one.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Remembered reading it but could not find it till now

    Does the words of "Zhang Yuhua, deputy general director and deputy general designer of the Chang’e-3 probe system" considered a official statement by you.
    I was referring to India.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I was referring to India.
    As their manned flight will not take off till 2019/20, I do not expect anything from them till the mid/late 2020s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    As their manned flight will not take off till 2019/20, I do not expect anything from them till the mid/late 2020s.
    Fair enough. I looked back and see that you did say that.
    But; It got a little clouded to me with discussions of various countries and rovers.

    I'd like to keep to the topic of this thread... NASA's plans.

  16. #46
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    NASA is looking at ways to harvest water on the moon.

    http://www.popsci.com/solar-distille...-moon-settlers

    The clear plastic domes could be placed over parts of the lunar surface to capture water vapor and provide a surface for it to condense on. After it freezes, astronauts could scrape off the frost and melt it for drinking water.

    Livengood’s team used data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to calculate that, in some places, a dome covering one square meter of lunar regolith could produce 190 milliliters of water per day. (That’s about 6.5 fluid ounces, or approximately half of a can of soda.) It’s a lot less than lunar settlers could dig up at the poles, Livengood told New Scientist, but it doesn’t take any back-breaking labor to get to it.

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    NASA is not going back to the moon but comes out with these neat ideas on extending their reach on the moon surface. Like this inflatable tent for camping on the moon

    http://www.popsci.com/camping-moon

    Hang time has always been a problem on the moon. The Apollo program landed a dozen men there from 1969 to 1972, but they spent a total of only three days and six hours actually walking the surface. That’s because they couldn’t stray from their lunar lander and its life support. To help future moon men and moon women extend their stays and their range, and to make the most of their time exploring, aerospace engineers at MIT have now designed lightweight, packable, inflatable habitats.

    The mobile overnight habitat, designed to fit aboard a no-frills lunar rover, is made up of an inflatable pod that sleeps two; a reflective shield to prevent the sun’s rays from roasting explorers; life support systems on the rover that will supply oxygen, water and food, maintain the habitat's temperature, scrub out carbon dioxide, and remove excess humidity; and a flexible roll-out solar array to supply the shelter’s power and recharge the rover's batteries. When packed, the entire system, would take up roughly half as much space as an average refrigerator, says Samuel Schreiner, one of the MIT engineers.

  18. #48
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    That's not a NASA idea, it's an MIT idea.
    Interesting idea, but I wonder how it compares to the truck idea.

    The previous lunar truck seemed overly bloated and heavy, but it had some advantages over this one.
    It would have eliminated the dust issue, allow for excursions of several days, and eliminated any lengthy setup or decompression issues.

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That's not a NASA idea, it's an MIT idea.
    Interesting idea, but I wonder how it compares to the truck idea.
    You are right there. In my mind MIT was an extension of the many labs that NASA runs but as you say it is an independent university.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2015-Jun-14 at 12:17 AM.

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    You are right there. In my mind MIT was an extension of the many labs that NASA runs but as you say it an independent university.
    Maybe you confused it with JPL which is managed by CalTech. I don't think there's any other relationships with NASA like that.

    Technology schools are always coming up with independent projects like this. It's part of the educational research. Often times they do come up with technology that can be used or adapted by government or commercial projects.

  21. #51
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    Well well well - NASA might have part of the moon swamping with their rovers.

    http://www.popsci.com/nasa-advances-...ncept-phase-ii

    Announced yesterday, NASA is moving ahead with funding to study several ambitious space research projects, including one that would transform an inhospitable lunar crater into a habitat for robots — and eventually, human explorers. Located on the moon’s South Pole, Shackleton Crater isn’t just prime real estate for terraforming experiments, it’s Optimus Prime real estate. NASA wants to fill the crater with solar-powered transformers, and then use the fleet of robots to turn the crater into a miniature hospitable environment.

    Shackleton Crater is uniquely qualified as a location for terraforming in the small scale. Named after the famous explorer of Earth’s own south pole, the crater covers about 130 square miles, or roughly twice the size of Washington, DC. It is surrounded on all sides by peaks that rise over 14,000 feet above the surface of the crater. Inside this moon-bowl, scientists have already found water, which is essential for any future human habitation.

  22. #52
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    Another proposal for NASA to build a Radio Telescope on Far Side of the Moon using robots. It will need astronauts in NASA's Orion spacecraft position in the Lagrange Point 2 (L2) to operate them.

    http://www.space.com/30084-moon-far-...telescope.html

    Researchers are making strides on a radio telescope array that would be unfurled on the far side of the moon by an unmanned rover operated by nearby astronauts.

    The rover would be commanded by astronauts in NASA's Orion spacecraft, which would be hovering in a gravitationally stable spot near the lunar far side called Earth-moon Lagrange Point 2 (L2). Now, a university team has developed a system that mimics rover control to recognize potential problems with human-telerobotic operations, such as time lags and communication quality.

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    Shackleton Crater isn’t just prime real estate for terraforming experiments, it’s Optimus Prime real estate. NASA wants to fill the crater with solar-powered transformers
    Last I checked, just now:
    Shackleton is an impact crater that lies at the south pole of the Moon. The peaks along the crater's rim are exposed to almost continual sunlight, while the interior is perpetually in shadow (Crater of eternal darkness).
    How many solar cells does it take to power a robot in a "Crater of eternal darkness"?

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    "Terraforming experiments"? Wow, that's a poorly written article.

    From the article, the idea is to have a controllable mirror in sunlight to direct light onto a rover in the crater, keeping it warmer and providing energy for solar cells, but that's hardly terraforming. Also, I wonder if it would really be a good idea to warm up the surface around a rover? It might cause outgassing, dust may be lifted and settle on the solar panels, the wheels may sink into the surface, etc. And certainly you wouldn't want to do that too much, as whatever volatiles are there would be potentially an important resource.

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    This may be of interest to some of you
    http://arc.aiaa.org/action/showMulti...%2F6.2013-3920

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    Quote Originally Posted by marsbug View Post
    You'll have to forgive my scepticism, I've picked up the impression (perhaps wrongly) that the people writing the proposals are rather more free to follow their hearts and science than those who do the choosing - who must take into account the political and budgetary side of things.
    When I started this thread I started with NASA having two proposals - Lunar Flashlight and Resource Prospector Mission (RPM) and it was highlighted to me that they were only proposals with a long way to go before getting the go ahead for resources to actually do it.

    Looks like those doing the proposals have a bit more resources then writing pretty proposals. In the case of the Resource Prospector rover, they have actually built a prototype and are putting it through its paces on a test site dubbed the “rock yard” at the Johnson Space Center.

    http://spacenews.com/nasa-tests-luna...ng-real-thing/

    The prototype of a rover designed to search for water ice at the poles of the moon passed a series of tests on Earth in August as project officials seek to line up funding and potential partnerships for the mission.

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    It was a good while ago so I don't remember for sure, but this reads to me like the point I was trying to make was that the writing of Lunar science proposals to NASA is not a good indication that NASA want's to go in the direction of Lunar exploration. NASA accepting those proposals would be. It's not clear to me from the article if the proposal has been accepted - although it sorta reads like it might have been, it doesn't explicitly state it anywhere. Also, when quoting me you missed the part where I said I hoped NASA do intend to return to the Moon. I meant that as much as the rest. I'm not trying to pour cold water on your hopes just for kicks, I'm just trying to cushion against the possibility of future dissapointments. Even if this isn't an accepted NASA project yet, well done to Dan Andrews and his team for what they've accomplished so far, and good luck for the future.

  28. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsbug View Post
    It was a good while ago so I don't remember for sure, but this reads to me like the point I was trying to make was that the writing of Lunar science proposals to NASA is not a good indication that NASA want's to go in the direction of Lunar exploration. NASA accepting those proposals would be. It's not clear to me from the article if the proposal has been accepted - although it sorta reads like it might have been, it doesn't explicitly state it anywhere. Also, when quoting me you missed the part where I said I hoped NASA do intend to return to the Moon. I meant that as much as the rest. I'm not trying to pour cold water on your hopes just for kicks, I'm just trying to cushion against the possibility of future dissapointments. Even if this isn't an accepted NASA project yet, well done to Dan Andrews and his team for what they've accomplished so far, and good luck for the future.
    It was discussed in the first 5 post of this thread back in April.

    It does agree with what you were saying but it looks like they can spend some money to be able to demonstrate prove of concept. In this case it also includes talking to the Japanese space agency to do a joint project. It is basically to piggyback on their launcher and lander. If that is agreed then to go with that proposal to NASA. International projects have a higher chance of getting approval.

    I do hope they make progress.

  29. 2015-Sep-26, 07:50 PM
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  30. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That's not a NASA idea, it's an MIT idea.
    Interesting idea, but I wonder how it compares to the truck idea.

    The previous lunar truck seemed overly bloated and heavy, but it had some advantages over this one.
    It would have eliminated the dust issue, allow for excursions of several days, and eliminated any lengthy setup or decompression issues.
    I don't mind heavy. Take this more capable concept: http://www.wired.com/2013/01/lunar-campsite-1991-2/ The LESA outpost.

    Here is a plan that seems reasonable http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/pub/SLS-Moon-200715.pdf

    That's as bare bones as it needs to get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I don't mind heavy. Take this more capable concept: http://www.wired.com/2013/01/lunar-campsite-1991-2/ The LESA outpost.
    That concept is for a base.
    What triggered the post is the ability to travel farther from the base post. Whether it be a large rover that can sustain the astronauts for a couple of days, or setting up a tent while out and about.

    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Here is a plan that seems reasonable http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/pub/SLS-Moon-200715.pdf
    Plan for what? The only mention of a rover is that SLS can carry one.

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