Changes to Lunar Plans

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radarredux

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NASA's earlier efforts emphasized building an outpost on the edge of Shackleton crater at the Lunar south pole by assembling multiple small modules delivered with each new astronaut crew.<br /><br />Apparently NASA is now looking at wider range of options, maybe deemphasizing the Shackleton location and using a single large habitat delivered fully assembled via one unmanned cargo launch (reminds me of the pictures from Bigelow). NASA also seems to be putting more emphasis on a more capable rover capability with the ability of going out on 960 km trips over 14 days! IMHO, this new approach seems more amenable to science, as the astronauts can go to the scientifically interesting locations instead of just doing science that is available around Shackleton.<br /><br />MSNBC has an article with a picture of cool rover concept. One thing I like about this approach is that it leaves the majority of the spacesuit outside the rover and thus minimizing the Lunar dust that would get inside the rover.<br /><br />SpaceRef also has an article with more details.
 
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docm

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Apparently the suits work a bit like a lab glove box; you crawl in/out of the suit from inside the hab, which presents two different problems depending on implementation.<br /><br />If they work lie the lab suits in Andromeda Strain the connecting tubes will be unsupported and very vulnerable to damage. This choice is very unlikely.<br /><br />If the suit has a two-way hatch on its back then the problem will be seal integrity due to regolith etc. IMO this is the only viable option, but as noted the seals will be a pain. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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billslugg

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I am lost on this spacesuit concept. The back of your suit is integral to the habitat. You climb into the suit and here you are hanging 3 feet off the ground. You can't walk or even reach the surface. Why the suit? Why not just a window? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">The back of your suit is integral to the habitat.</font>/i><br /><br />You climb into the suit, close the back of it, and then <i>disconnect</i> from the rover. Then you can walk around, pick up stuff, or whatever. Then when you return, you lean your back against the rover, an air-tight seal is made, the back of the suit opens up, and then you climb back out into the rover.<br /><br />I think a key to all of this is that with good manipulating arms on the rover, and small satellite rovers operated remotely from the main rover, the astronauts would rarely need to put on the suit.</i>
 
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billslugg

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OK - I gotcha! I agree they should be able to minimize EVA's by use of manipulating arms and such. You would only need the suits to go out and change a tire, that kind of stuff. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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Deep ocean exploration generally works this way, with robot arms.
 
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willpittenger

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I have some concerns with the system. First, when you connect up, you are doing so blind. The connection is behind you where you can't see. It might help if the system could come down and pick the suit (and you) up adjusting in the process for your exact position. Second, I still don't see how the suit keeps the fines out of the habitat. All it would appear to take is fines on the back of the suit. Apollo astronauts were falling over all the time. Constellation astronauts will do the same. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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docm

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I totally agree. Nice idea, but logically flawed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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Hey! I posted an image sort of like this suit in the SciFi forum here a few months back. Except MY version had enough space in the back that a wearer could pull their arms into the suit and scratch their nose, eat a sandwitch or wipe a sneeze off the vizor. (edit: Also my version could solve the 'blind' issue. The top half could be designed to turn at the waist so the spaceman could face entirely backwards and manipulate the hatch)<br /><br />Did anyone write an article on MSNBC or even comment?? NO! <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />(edit2: one way to minimise contamination would be that the rear of the space suit hatch is never exposed to the cabin. Rather it melds with the cabin hatch in such a way that the surface exposed to the luna environment is sandwitched away. Another option is that the area is brushed or airblasted before opening, much easier to clean a flat hard surface than a man-shaped cloth one.)<br /><br />How self-sufficient can the rover be made? I like the idea of it carrying equipment between sites and examining potential sites, controlled from earth.<br /><br />If it tips over on the side with the suits, that would be a ****** <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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dreada5

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>All it would appear to take is fines on the back of the suit.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Yeah but isn't the idea that a small access area on the back of the suit will transfer far less fines than bringing an entire, fines-laden suit into a human-occupied, pressurized module? <br /><br />Plus perhaps the design of the access area on the back of the suit can be optimised (ie. a flat-panel?) for easy, automated vacuum cleaning in separate air-lock, prior to ingress/egress???
 
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holmec

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It can be compensated with lasers, computers and audio indicators. Backing up to connect with a rover would be a challenge to develop, but with the right computer support it should be a breeze to do the actual connection. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Yeah but isn't the idea that a small access area on the back of the suit will transfer far less fines than bringing an entire, fines-laden suit into a human-occupied, pressurized module? ><br /><br />Exactly right.<br /><br />Plus, look at just how tiny that two-man rover concept is. The means used for deploying the EVA suits eliminates the need for a man-sized airlock and eliminates the need for EVA suit storage inside that tiny pressurized rover.<br /><br />This whole rover concept looks very similar to the Sprite concept -- a Delta IV heavy launched, two-man pressurized lunar rover, with external EVA suit berthing.<br /><br />http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:W5AH3EowVmcJ:www.sop.usra.edu/rasc-al/forum_2005/projects/undergraduate/maryland/paper.pdf+sprite+lunar+rover&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us&ie=UTF-8
 
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gunsandrockets

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<NASA's earlier efforts emphasized building an outpost on the edge of Shackleton crater at the Lunar south pole by assembling multiple small modules delivered with each new astronaut crew. <br />Apparently NASA is now looking at wider range of options, ... using a single large habitat delivered fully assembled via one unmanned cargo launch /><br /><br />It's about time. In an earlier thread back when NASA first proposed a lunar base built up by leaving small amounts of cargo (about 5 tonne chunks as I recall) behind from each manned sortie, I voiced my objection to that plan and suggested that instead NASA should send a large fully assembled hab via an unmanned cargo mission prior to the first manned landing. <br /><br />Besides, wasn't the whole damned point of the Ares V and a large Lunar Lander the abilty to land over 20 tonnes of cargo at a time upon the surface of the moon? Why bother developing that capability if it wasn't even going to be used? (at least according to the first lunar-base plan released by NASA)
 
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willpittenger

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Unfortunately, the space taken up by the suits eliminates spaces for windows that could be used by the crew to see how close the rover is to something.<br /><br />BTW: Please give your URLs some text so your posts don't exceed the width of my screen. It would be appreciated. I already asked once via PM. Please don't make me bring in a moderator. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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The code for that is<br />[<font color="yellow">URL=http://www.google.com</font>Link to google[<font color="yellow">/URL</font><br />to produce the result <br />Link to google <br /><br />However Im not havng a problem with long links.<br /><br />I like the idea of sending a large habitat first, but it would be great if some use could be found for each luna descent stage also. Are any planned, eg tankage?
 
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j05h

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SPRITE has the advantage of putting the external suit-mounts on the rear deck of the rover. The lop-sided design just proposed looks less functional (not that it wouldn't work) and might have viewport issues. I'd put the suits on a rear deck, or angled sidewards at the rear with the docking hatch between them directly rear. <br /><br />Between miniaturized cameras and a well designed mechanical interface, I don't see any problems with reconnecting a rear-entry suit to the rover. A saddle or guide-rails would be needed for proper alignment. The NASA render shows a "handcuff" object that looks like part of guidance system.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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holmec

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My question is how would they deliver these 'large modules'?<br /><br />If you just use Ares V then you need some thruster with propellant to enter lunar orbit, and that would restrict available weight for your lander/cargo.<br /><br />If you use both Ares V and Ares I, you can maximize your cargo ferrying ability. IE launch Ares V with TLI booster, and lander with cargo, then launch Ares I with some more cargo and a service module for lunar orbit insertion. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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radarredux

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There are a full set of 90 slides from NASA's presentation available now (PDF file). A lot more detail than what was in the news media.
 
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davf

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Thanks for that link! Probably the most info I've seen to date and very exciting stuff!
 
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j05h

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Thanks for the pdf, RR! The proposed rover is much more robust than the picture given to the media. Rear-deck access to the spacesuits, with Aux rover controls outside, an airlock/stormshelter and fixings for attachments. Good stuff. <br /><br />I'd also recommend viewing the mobile Hab images with ATHLETE legs. <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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holmec

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Ditto on the Thanks.<br /><br />Curious about long duration space suits.<br /><br />I wonder if NASA would implement the hard shell suits used by deep sea underwater exploration to have permanent suits on the moon. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> Curious about long duration space suits.<br />I wonder if NASA would implement the hard shell suits used by deep sea underwater exploration to have permanent suits on the moon.</i><br /><br />I'm curious about that, too. The Mark III suit is semi-rigid with a hard torso and balloon limbs. Phil Nuytten's underwater hardsuits have been the basis of at least 2 spacesuit concepts, the AX 5 and a new one based on the swimmable ExoSuit. The Nuytco home page has a photo of Phil in the AX 5.<br /><br />Hardsuits would probably need extensive dust sealing, but that is going to be needed regardless of suit tech. Hardsuits are potentially much, much tougher than cloth or hybrid suits. They also can be higher pressure which allows zero-prebreath. t/space seems to agree that rotary-joint hardsuits are suitable for Luna. <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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crix

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I'm a bit surprised to see them touting ATHLETE so much. I see some of the benefits but there are just so many places for the "fines" (was that the lingo in some Heinlein novel or something? I like it.) to damage the mechanisms. <br /><br />Page 12 in that PDF is a really important one, imo. It shows all the things that will be built by private businesses.
 
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j05h

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"fines" is a geological term. ATHLETE legs, like any joint, would need extensive sealing and protection.<br /><br />Page 12 is interesting, too.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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