Location of Moon Base - Discuss.

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flynn

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Heres an Artical from <i>NewScientist</i><br /><br /><font size="6"><b>Sunny spot picked out for future lunar base</b></font><br /><font size="2">18:00 13 April 2005 <br />NewScientist.com news service <br />Maggie McKee </font><br /><br />http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7263<br /><br />Parts of the Moon's north pole may be constantly bathed in sunlight, making it the ideal place to build a future human colony, say scientists.<br /><br />US President George W Bush announced a plan in 2004 to build a permanent lunar base from which people can explore the moon, and then go on to Mars. But the Moon's environment is harsh. Without an appreciable atmosphere to distribute heat, most lunar regions swing from -180°C to 100°C as the Moon rotates in and out of sunlight every 29.5 days.<br /><br />But the Moon's poles are thought to be less extreme. Unlike Earth, the Moon spins nearly vertically with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun and so the poles never experience a sunset - the Sun just skims around the horizon as the Moon rotates. This constant light should provide stable temperatures of about -50°C and a steady source of energy - crucial requirements for any future lunar base.<br /><br />But mountains and craters on the Moon can blot out some of that light. Indeed, the ridge around a 2500-kilometre-wide crater at the Moon's south pole helps to cast long shadows over the region. These shadows were discovered in 1999 by a team using data from a US spacecraft called Clementine that orbited the Moon for 71 days in 1994. <br /><br />Now, the same team has analysed the Clementine data for the north pole. Planetary scientists led by Ben Bussey at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, US, located a section along the rim of a 73-km-wide crater called Peary, near the Moon's north pole, that appears to be constantly illuminated.<br /><br /><b>Seasons and shade</b><</safety_wrapper> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#800080">"All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring" - <strong>Chuck Palahniuk</strong>.</font> </div>
 
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grooble

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I wonder if they'll build there. Personally i'm looking forward to 2008 on, you'll have year nasa and other nations moon missions, virgin galactic, spacex, it'll be great to see the progress by the end of this decade.<br /><br />
 
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JonClarke

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Permanent energy is a definite plus, and maybe nearby ices. I had not considered the more benign thermal environment. radiation protection during a solar storm would be easier too. You presumably would just need a shelter behind a berm rather than thick overhead protection of placing the shelter underground.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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flynn

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I've always thought the best plan was to take some earth sorry regolith moving equiptment and bury or tunnel yourself a shelter. Better for radiation protection and micrometeorites that could really put a dent in your day. I'd like to see the whole project looking towards beings a perminant base on the moon, Shipping down capsules just screams "temporary" to me. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#800080">"All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring" - <strong>Chuck Palahniuk</strong>.</font> </div>
 
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tap_sa

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<font color="yellow">"Permanent energy is a definite plus"</font><br /><br />This permanent energy may be quite impractical to tap. In the spots supposed to be permanently lit the sun shines from very low angle. That means you have to tilt your solar panel or mirror almost vertical. So in order not to shadow one panel with another you have to stack them vertically and/or order into a row (which you have to slowly rotate to keep towards the sun as moon spins). First bases might get sufficient power this way but when we start to talk about several megawatts and more, something else is required. Maybe a circular powergrid around the moons equator which the sunny side would always feed while panels on the dark sade would have a breather.<br />
 
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flynn

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This could be the way to go.<br /><br />http://www.newscientist.com/channel/mech-tech/dn6892<br /><br />Set up a field a couple of miles away (leave plenty of room for expansion and clear of any resupply capsules coming and going.) Early days are probably going to require a reactor of some sort anyway (small and easy to decommission yet power up in an emergency would be nice). It does leave the shallow angle problem but there should be plenty of crater walls they could be set up on. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#800080">"All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring" - <strong>Chuck Palahniuk</strong>.</font> </div>
 
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tap_sa

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I remember but required area is quite big anyway. Assuming 20% panel efficiency and 1MW energy need you need almost 3600m<sup>2</sup>. That's pretty big structure to rotate. Set of masts has the same problem than set of anything, unless they change position they will occassionally shade each other (separating their distance helps though).<br /><br />Solar dynamic solution might be worth considering. Mirror ought to be much lighter than solar panel, a huge concentrating mirror on circular tracks heating a hot sink/boiler in the center of the tracks. The boiler and all machinery after that would be static, hence no need for additonal engineering due to rotating, slip rings and such. Required mirror area would be lower because total efficiency should be much higher than solar cells'.<br /><br />disclaimer: the megawatt energy requirement is just a SWAG, maybe initial need is much lower. But eventually it will be megawatt, someday gigawatt etc.
 
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nacnud

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Four masts linked in the shape of a Mercedes badge, or a Y, you get the idea? Hang the cloth from linking the tops of the masts. Half of the cell are always in shade but it saves a lot of mechanism involved in turning the sails.<br /><br />You might want to hide the photovoltaic in the event of a solar storm, in which case dig a trench under the wire and attach a roll of cells in the trench to a rope that goes over the wire attached to the top of the masts. Kind of like an upside down roller blind.<br />
 
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quasar2

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i thought of something similar to use as a landing pad in the mtns. this because of qualms about mtns dangerous to land in/on. of course it would have to be much stronger. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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tap_sa

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Neat idea, I like the solar storm stowing option. I wonder what properties that solar cloth has, efficiency, mass per area, will it cope in space conditions.<br /><br />Flynn's link was interesting too, even if they didn't make the whole cell using moon ingredients, but most of mass anyway. I think RTG would be a good emergency back-up. The political/treehugger opposition is not insurmountable, it's idiot-proof technology with decades of successful operating history. RTG is not very efficient to produce electricity but in the event of emergency the hapless moon-settlers need mostly heating, and that RTG offers plenty. Same argument goes for first Mars-settlers too.
 
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nacnud

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I agree, long term a full on fission power station is a great idea, but what to use while we build up the capabilities of installing one on the moon?<br /><br />You still have to explore the whole moon and a fission reactor is a lot of mass to carry around. For the first missions I would think more on terms of camping trips rather than building housing estates. <br /><br />Have a permanently manned base at one of the poles and a exploration camp that changes location following the science/resources.<br /><br />It might be possible to run the camp like a mini Zubrin Mars mission, have the robotic mission land one (or more) Luna day before the manned Lander. Robotically set up solar cells and a plant for manufacturing oxygen from the Luna regolith. When the manned Lander catches up a Luna day later it carries with it extra fuel. The astronauts bounce around in the sunlight having fun^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H doing serious sciencey stuff. When it comes time to leave add the oxygen generated from the regolith to the propellant tanks and of the manned Lander and take some of the fuel from the manned Lander and give it to the robotic station. Fly the people back home and send the robots somewhere that the sun is just coming up...<br />
 
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tap_sa

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Then we do what we probably do elsewhere on the moon anyway, extract hydrogen and oxygen from the regolith and make our water from that. In every 1000 tons of regolith there is about 50kg of hydrogen, 100kg of carbon and nitrogen each, so we get 450kg of water plus other important volatiles. Extraction is pretty straightforward, put moondust into a closed vessel, heat up, collect gases.<br /><br />AFAIK it's pretty much sure there's a lot of hydrogen on the poles, in what form is not certain nor precise location, but water ice is pretty much the strongest contender.
 
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flynn

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And as the artical points out the less extreme temperatures, possible power benefits added to the possible presence of water make the poles a desirable location <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#800080">"All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring" - <strong>Chuck Palahniuk</strong>.</font> </div>
 
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quasar2

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how bout another location? near one or more of the old sites. so we have 2 choices then, & we`ve had threads about these before. the main choices being: easy landings on the nearside & imho meltdown or use the old equipment or a more unknown & dangerous area w/ possible greater resources. how bout this? make an easy manned landing on the "first" mission, i don`t think this will be more than a week long. it will have plenty o`water for that length of time. in a way we `d be starting over. i don`t see why it wouldn`t be possible for a manned mission to carry an unmanned hopper probe. this could be built from melted down old equipment. the reverse could true too. a manned mission @ the poles could send probe to the old equipment. we have an excellent thread on a fairly cheap mission, it shouldn`t be hard to dig up. "Mir as part of ISS" thread. it`s truly sad there hasn`t even been a Manned Lunar FlyBy all these years. & many people may not even be aware no one has broken orbit either since Ap 17. & what we`d best do this time is bury what equipment we can for future missions becuz ya never know. if Apollo equipment had been buried there may have been a bit more of a chance some could be used in our time. as it is, it may be too meteor-damaged. & i`ve been informed the alloys wouldn`t match ours nowadays, does anyone have a solution to that? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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starbaby57

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I can't imagine having a manned base at either pole. The terrain is so incredibly rugged that explorers would be hemmed in to a relatively small area. Any mid-latitude location would provide access to hundreds of thousands of square miles of real estate while a robotic processing facility could manufacture ice blocks to catapult into the vicinity of the manned base during the lunar night for recovery during the day.
 
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JonClarke

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Responding to several points here:<br /><br />Flynn<br /><br />earth moving is expensive and needs heavy and specialised equipment. You want to do the minimum possible. Burying module smeans they have to be strong enough to have regolith tipped on top of them. Putting roofs over them means a strong enough support structure to support tonnes. A berm 2 m high surrounding a small crater (10 m across) that houses the shelter would be far less work.<br /><br />Micrometeorites have not proved a hazard in LEO or anywhere else. Protection similar to that for earth orbiting spacecraft should be adequate. in fact the overal risk is lower, there is no space junk and only half the area will be exposed.<br /><br />Tap_Sa<br /><br />Why would you want 1 MW of power? We are talking about bases, not settlements. Fifty kW would be able to start with, 100 will support quite a large facility<br /><br />One interesting idea that has not been mentioned is thermo-electric. The temperature difference between permanantly lit and permanantly shaded areas is ~300 degrees, this is a larger thermerature difference that exists in RTGs, for example. Maybe not for the main power supply, but a useful emergency backup.<br /><br />Anvel<br /><br />Laning inside a shaded crater means flying across a brightly lit landscape and landing in a black hole. Not impossible, but tricky. Landing outside is much easier, especially as the terrain is rugged by lunar, not terrestrial standards.<br /><br />Starbaby57<br /><br />How rugged is it at the poles? Is it worse that the Apollo 15, 16, 17 sites? They were alsohighland areas and both landed safely and explored quite large areas. Unless the Peary rim it is a lot worse I don't see this is a problem. remember that lunar mountains, even the most rugged, are generally quite smooth and low angle compared to terrestrial ones.<br /><br />General<br /><br />We all tend to be grandiose in our plans. When thinking about setting up a base on the moon we must think small, low ma <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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quasar2

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pre-crash i mentioned OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion)a couple times. obviously it would have to be w/o the ocean tho, before anyone mentions that. yes a MoonBase will be small, likely for the next 50 yrs. we still don`t really know how much water we`ll get from recycling urine &/or sweat. so we may not need as much as many estimates. let`s remember we can still hard-land things on the Lunar Surface. everything doesn`t have to be soft-landed. i didn`t suggest this to the right people when Mir was due for demise. but Mir could`ve been crashed on the Lunar surface. & this should go for any artifact which couild affordably be crashed. i wonder how much water there was on or around Mir or other artifacts? if & when the time comes we certainly wouldn`t wanna burn ISS in the atmosphere. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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quasar2

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i think if anything Lunar & Mars Crews will enhance each other. we`re somehow locked into this rigidity that Mars crew can fend for themselves, they don`t need anything from anyone, except Earth. Moon uses: slingshotting, braking, old equipment recycling, a place to go for those who can`t afford Mars or won`t live long enough, regolith, retirement/vacation for MarsCrew. these merits alone are worth it. for all we know, The Moon may be only other place MarsCrew & certainly martian-Born children could go. i`ve never bought into the idea they could handle returnin to Earth`s gravity. & if that`s the case are we prepared for Permanent Mars inhabitants? we`ve fallen into this idea MarsCrew will constantly be working or doing science. this has never been & never will be the case w/ any humans. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"...but Mir could`ve been crashed on the Lunar surface"</font><br /><br />Um... no!!!!<br /><br />The reason Mir re-entered Earth's atmosphere to burn up was because they didn't have the propellant for corrective burns to keep it in LEO anymore (or the funds to send up more). If it didn't have the propellant for that -- where exactly was it going to get the propellant to get to the moon?<br /><br />Do you have any idea how much dv you're talking about? On second thought -- scratch the question -- the answer is 'No'.
 
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quasar2

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i`m aware of the facts surrouinding Mir. you see, these need to be lessons we need to be learning about what we`re wasting in space. why don`t we keep extra propellant on hand? or have a contingency plan for boost into higher orbit. or send artifacts to higher orbit in the first place? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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quasar2

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a possible Lunar or Lpoint Human outpost. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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aakriti

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moon's base should be located in moon's orbit and not on it's surface. it'll be more beneficial . that too on la grangian point 5.
 
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tap_sa

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<p>"I'm going to assume your numbers are correct, Tap_Sa"<br /><br />Permanent, Wikipedia. Unfortunately couldn't find link to NASA site but I recon these two sites are under constant peer review and if there were any grave errors they would be corrected quickly.<br /><br />"Do you know what an enormous excavation a thousand tons of regolith would make?"<br /><br />It isn't so enormous that you might first think. Moving a thousand tons of moon regolith doesn't take hundreds of tons machinery. Given enough time an astronaut with a shovel can do it. When I was 15 years old I made 30 tons of concrete by shoveling equal amout of sand and cement into a concrete mill. It took about one week. The trick is to do the job in small batches, then all it requires is a small machine, repetition and patience.<br /><br />1000 tons of moon is about 300m3 of regolith. That's 10 meters wide, 30 meters long and one meter deep dig. You can substitute meters with yards and add about 10% to each length if metric system doesn't give a clear picture. If we process this in one cubic meter batches, each taking an hour, then it's 300 hours and we are done. Less than two weeks, about one lunar 'day'. <br /><br />The process is quite simple so it should be easy to automate. A tracked vehicle having some sort of excavator like toothed auger in the front, eating regolith and moving it to a pressure vessel, concentrating mirror used to heat up the batch, pumps/plumbing/tanks to collect the volatiles and then dump the processed regolith behind you.<br /><br />1000 tons yields about 450kg of water which is 119/99 gallon, depending on are they US or Imperial, 2.63 petroleum barrels. You get about twice amount of carbon and nitrogen, both which are very important if you want to grow something.<br /><br /></p>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"i`m aware of the facts surrouinding Mir"</font><br /><br />Then you're not comprehending what those facts mean. Your question is equivalent to asking why a fisherman who normally uses a little Bass boat in the St. Johns River in Florida doesn't bother to keep on board enough gasoline in case he decides to go fishing at the Great Barrier Reef (Australia... in case you're geographically challenged).<br /><br />Even if dropping Mir on the lunar surface made sense (it doesn't), there is <b>NO WAY</b> that enough propellant could have been stored for the station-keeping thrusters to shift it from LEO to a lunar impact. There are so many problems with the concept that it's difficult to pick a starting point -- but the propellant issue seems a good one.<br /><br />For one thing -- if they *had* sufficient propellant to shift Mir to the moon -- then <b>they would never have left LEO in the first place</b> because they would have had sufficient propellant to keep Mir in LEO for a few decades.
 
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