Lunar ice and NASA's Constellation project

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Crossover_Maniac

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If there is highly compelling evidence of water ice on the lunar poles, should NASA design missions around a Zubrin-like plan to make rocket fuel from lunar ice and there by reduce the cost of missions to the moon? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Feel the Hope-nosis </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<p>There are lots of studies that assume this.&nbsp; But until we know there is ice there and how much&nbsp;we can't plan missions round it.&nbsp; And if we plan missions to closely round it we can only go to those places with ice, which are at best a few locations round the poles.&nbsp; </p><p>A better approach is what is taken.&nbsp; Design and build a system that goes to the Moon, if useful amounts of water are found, modify the system as required.</p><p>Jon</p> <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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kyle_baron

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>If there is highly compelling evidence of water ice on the lunar poles, should NASA design missions around a Zubrin-like plan to make rocket fuel from lunar ice and there by reduce the cost of missions to the moon? <br />Posted by Crossover_Maniac</DIV></p><p><strong>The ice is going to be under 2" of lunar dust.&nbsp; Very similar to what Phoenix found on Mars.&nbsp; The explorers won't find an ice skating rink under the dust (like one poster said).&nbsp; Oxygen and water will be the 1st priority for a lunar base.&nbsp; Rocket fuel comes much much later.</strong></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="4"><strong></strong></font></p> </div>
 
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Crossover_Maniac

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>There are lots of studies that assume this.&nbsp; But until we know there is ice there and how much&nbsp;we can't plan missions round it.&nbsp; And if we plan missions to closely round it we can only go to those places with ice, which are at best a few locations round the poles.&nbsp; A better approach is what is taken.&nbsp; Design and build a system that goes to the Moon, if useful amounts of water are found, modify the system as required.Jon <br /> Posted by jonclarke</DIV></p><p>Which is why a probe should be sent to the poles to determine if there is water ice on the Moon before making final plans on a mission. </p><p>
<strong><strong>The ice is going to be under 2" of lunar dust.&nbsp; Very similar to what Phoenix found on Mars.&nbsp; The explorers won't find an ice skating rink under the dust (like one poster said).&nbsp; Oxygen and water will be the 1st priority for a lunar base.&nbsp; Rocket fuel comes much much later.</strong></strong></p><p>Posted by kyle_baron
</p><p>But most of the launch cost comes from the weight of the fuel.&nbsp; The Progress-60 carried to the ISS 45 kg of air and 420 kg of water for a three-man crew that lasted for 126 days. Assuming the crew gets its O2 supply from lunar water via electrolysis like it would get its fuel, that would mean that a half of a metric ton of water is needed to provide for the needs of three people over period of four months or 1.23 kg of H2O per person per day. OTOH, the lunar module, just to get two people on the moon and off of it weighed over 14 metric tons, the majority of its weight in fuel. Though it helps that lunar ice will provide LOX/H2 (Isp=440 seconds) as opposed to the N2O4/Aerozine 50 (Isp=290 seconds) fuel that was used in the lunar module, it still means that majority of the mass for a manned mission to the moon will be fuel. And fuel will still be needed for the return to earth, which can also be retrieved from lunar ice if there is any there. IOW: the bulk of the weight sent to the moon for a manned lunar mission will be fuel and it would greately help if the fuel came from the moon instead.&nbsp; </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Feel the Hope-nosis </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Which is why a probe should be sent to the poles to determine if there is water ice on the Moon before making final plans on a mission.</DIV></p><p>There is more than one probe planned. As far as I&nbsp;know, the first probe likely to provide more information will be the Chandrayaan-1 probe which is already around the moon and&nbsp;includes an instrument from NASA&nbsp;called 'miniSAR' for this purpose, I think.</p><p>another will be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Reconnaissance_Orbiter<br /></p>
 
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Crossover_Maniac

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<font size="3">http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090108-am-pisces-hawaii.html</font><p><font size="3">&nbsp;</font></p><p><font size="3"><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'></font><font size="2"><font><font face="arial"><font face="arial"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">A NASA-developed rover called SCARAB showed how a prospecting rover could dig beneath the dusty lunar surface to process soil in order to extract oxygen. A similar rover on the moon could look for water ice and volatile gases such as hydrogen, helium and nitrogen in the permanently shadowed craters of the moon's poles.</span></font></font></font></font></p><p><font size="3">I hope NASA will look further into the prospect of finding water on the moon.</font></p><font size="3"><br /> Posted by space.com</DIV></font><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Feel the Hope-nosis </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090108-am-pisces-hawaii.html <br />Posted by Crossover_Maniac</DIV><br /><br />Well, they've been looking for a while. I'm just not aware of any unequivocal evidence yet. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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