NASA Lost On The Moon!

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SpaceKiwi

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Water is indeed an important consideration, but we are not talking about quenching the thirst of the population of New York! I seem to remember reading on SDC somewhere about the prospects for finding water ice in craters permanently in shadow, or at the poles. You are not going to need huge acqifers to establish a human presence on the Moon in the initials stages at least. Fractions of a percentage point is going to be more than plenty to keep a small "Moonbase" going. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em><font size="2" color="#ff0000">Who is this superhero?  Henry, the mild-mannered janitor ... could be!</font></em></p><p><em><font size="2">-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</font></em></p><p><font size="5">Bring Back The Black!</font></p> </div>
 
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halman

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starfhury,<br /><br />Hear, hear! Glad to have someone voice a consenting point of view! I think that it is imperative to convince Congress, your mom, and the Capitans Of Industry that if this country is going to have a future, it is going to have to invest in making it happen. Investment of the type that is considered 'public works', like dams, canals, bridges, etc.<br /><br />Only these public works will be launch systems, space stations, bases on the Moon, and deep space vehicles. we cannot sit back and wait for the public sector to develop the means to transport mass to the Moon. The government is supposed to figure that out, perfect it, and then hand the system off to a group of investers, who promptly re-invent the whole thing, making the system in question 10 times more efficient.<br /><br />Some people complain about 'all the money we are spending' opening up space. They complain about any money which is not spent on their pet peeve, irregardless of the consequences. We as a nation have been lax about investing in the future. We have the oppurtunity to make up for it now, when a few hundred billion invested over 20 or 30 years would completely change the dynamic of space utilization. Yeah, you heard me right, a few hundred billion. What we are likely to spend in Iraq over a 5 year period. What the Department Of Defense is spending every year. If we don't begin investing in making the future happen, the DOD is going to have nothing to defend <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">" ...the rings of Saturn are mostly water ice. Once we have established a robotic system of collecting and shipping water across the Solar System..."</font><br /><br />If we're shipping water via interplanetary transfer vehicles -- then the asteroid belt is almost assuredly a better bet. If I'm recalling correctly (and what I read wasn't scientific theory being presented as scientific fact) it's been fairly well established that a significant percentage of them contain water ice.
 
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quasar2

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this is for all. people need to become more aware of the fact that urine @least can be recycled. recycling sweat may prove a bit more complicated. feces could be used for compost. if recycled urine is factored into calculations for water requirements, the figure for water needs simply goes down. now people also need to be more aware of the fact there is oxygen lockedup in moon rocks. what i`d like to know is wouldn`t there be a large supply of hydrogen somewhere in the Lunar vicinity? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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halman

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quasar2,<br /><br />From what I understand, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, yet it seems to be fairly rare in the inner planets. Of course, the bulk of the hydrogen in the Solar System is in the Sun, but the outer gas giants are rich with hydrogen. In regards to free hydrogen, the element is so reactive that finding it in its pure state is very rare. The gas giants are mostly hydrocarbons, where hydrogen has mixed with carbon to produce an incredible slew of compounds.<br /><br />Trying fo find raw hydrogen to produce water with is likely to be a frustarting job. But water appears to be much more common than was thought just a few decades ago, when it was imagined that all oxygen was a result of the activity of life forms. I am not sure, but I believe that oxygen is the ash from one of the stellar combustion processes, just as helium is the ash from the hydrogen fusion reaction. As stars age, they begin to burn heavier elements, which produces heavier ash.<br /><br />So there is actually a lot of water in the Solar System. Deciding which source is the most economical to mine is one the steps to be taken after the first Lunar base has been built. In spite of the rabid enthusiasim for for sending humans to Mars as soon as possible, there are many other things which would be a better utilization of our resources. Finding a cheap source of water would make certain forms of propulsion much more feasible, and any kind of terra forming is going to require substantial amounts if the process is to be done rapidly.<br /><br />We have an incredible amount to learn about our own neighborhood, the Solar System. Exploring and catalouging resources is very high on the list of priorities, at least in my book. From where I am standing, the fascination with Mars stems largely from the idea that someday humans might be able to live there without artificial environments. When one considers how much of the surface of the Earth is inhospitable to a naked human, d <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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halman

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mrmorris,<br /><br />I have been ridiculed for suggesting that a survey of the Asteroid Belt might be more important than an immediate human mission to Mars, in part because the density of the belt makes prospecting there an expensive proposition. There is just too much empty space, the reasoning goes. Of course, actually landing (touching?) on an asteroid is not essential to getting a good idea of what it is made of, but being within a few thousand kilometers does make the process much easier.<br /><br />But to identify asteroids rich with ice, collect them, and then seperate the rock from the ice seems to me to be a very intensive and unproductive process compared to mining the rings of Saturn. The percentage of water ice in the ring fragments is very high, from what I understand, probably because Saturn happens to be in the part of the giant centerfuge we call the Solar System where water collected.<br /><br />Transporting the ice poses some interesting problems, but I believe that wrapping the fragments with a reflective foil, or perhaps spraying a reflective coating on, would hinder the sublimation enough so that the losses will be minimal. There shouldn't be any need to enclose the ice in containers if the ice can be accelerated gradually enough to prevent fragmentation.<br /><br />A small alteration of the fragments velocity in theory would result in its eventual arrival in the inner Solar System. This may take some practice, I suspect, and establishing a robotic system to perform this task will keep a lot of people busy for a while. But, in time, a steady flow of fragments hundreds of meters on a side could be created, (if there are in fact fragments that big,) and enourmous amounts of water could be moved in the course of a couple of centuries.<br /><br />One of the reasons why it is so important to get a Moon base up and running is to figure out how much water is actually required to support a given number of people in a closed-loop life support system. There <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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halman

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stutch,<br /><br />Your idea is no more out of place than mine, and they both illustrate the ease in which people overlook immediate difficulties when thinking about grand schemes. With this thread, I am hoping to raise awareness that there is still almost no concensus about what to do next. Many people believe that we should be on our way to distant planets, or building massive hotels in orbit, or whatever.<br /><br />But after watching the space program for over 30 years, I know that we are in danger of losing everything. We have no launch vehicle capable of putting a 1 ton payload on the Moon softly enough that it will be usable when we find it. We have no plan for a new spaceship to get people to the Moon from Low Earth Orbit, we have no design for a Lunar Mobile Survey Vehicle, we pretty much don't have anything at all, except a few broken down old prototype space shuttles and one incomplete space station.<br /><br />Sometimes, it is much easier to dream about a time far enough away that solutions to our problems can be ignored, because they will have been figured out by someone else by the time what WE want to do will arrive.<br /><br />For some reasen, I find it hard to believe that chasing down Near Earth Objects will require less delta V than a mission to the Moon. Perhaps, if only one NEO is to be visited, but do we have any idea how much water we will find when we do lasso one? My proposal for mining the rings of Saturn is only useful if large amounts of water are going to be needed. I mainly expressed the idea to illustrate that going to Mars to harvest water may not be the best way to use our propelant.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"But to identify asteroids rich with ice, collect them, and then seperate the rock from the ice seems to me to be a very intensive and unproductive process compared to mining the rings of Saturn."</font><br /><br />Everyone (including myself) tends to get tunnel-vision of one sort or another when projecting "What will work" in terms of future projects. There are dozens of potential means for getting water supplies to the moon. Each has their own set of pros and cons.<br /><br />Using Saturn's rings solves one problem: we know there's ice in large quantities there. It introduces a reasonably significant problem: that ice is at least 9AUs from where we need it to be. <br /><br />The asteroid belt, by comparison is only 1-3 AUs from where we need it. This would reduce the deltaV and time required to move the ice. Of course it introduces the problem of <b>identifying</b> ice-bearing asteroids as you say, but I have an enormous amount of difficulty believing that is a harder problem to overcome than the deltaV from Saturn. By the time we're at a point where transporting ice from the asteroid belt -- or Saturn -- is feasible, it should be simplicity itself to have an armada of space observatories tracking and cataloging asteroids by composition.<br /><br />If we actually end up making outposts and colonies on the moon such that significant quantities of water are required, I suspect that the water infusion will come from several different sources. Relatively small quantities (tens to hundreds of gallons) will come from NASA outpost landings. Hopefully a *very* efficient recycling system will be implemented from the very outset (Human milestone -- first lunar septic tank constructed), and every mission will continue to add to the available water supply.<br /><br />For larger amounts -- who knows? Ice at the poles is obviously the optimum bet at the moment. Failing that -- given current technologies -- the most economical way of getting si
 
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quasar2

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yes, that`s the probably the most important aspect of future Outerspace development: closed-loop systems. once we gather together a formula, then & only then can we calculate water needs. i think also what we hafta keep in mind is suit improvements. it may be necessary for crew to live in their suits for a week. we won`t be using anything close to apollo suits & they`ll need to be mass produced instead of custommade. i think all Space Agencies starting now should standardize suit design. we had an old thread about standards for space. the industrial revolution wouldn`t have been possible without standardization of parts. this is one of our current hinderences in Outerspace. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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igorsboss

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<font color="yellow">Just dip in your tube, warm it up and suck.</font><br /><br />Teeny tiny detail: sucking on a straw requires ambient atmospheric pressure.
 
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nacnud

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<img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> that might be a problem, would capilary action work instead?
 
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dan_casale

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<br /> />>Just dip in your tube, warm it up and suck.<br /><br /> />Teeny tiny detail: sucking on a straw requires ambient atmospheric pressure.<br /><br />Which you will have when you heat up the asteroid. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />One of the primary reasons that I have heard for going to the moon is to get propellents. L1 will be the gas station of the future.
 
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spacester

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"Teeny tiny detail . . ."<br /><br />Aha! Someone is paying attention! I was wondering if anybody would spot that suction on a straw part.<br /><br />You don't suppose I (ActivistModerate is the same human as spacester, that was an oops, AM is supposed to stay in Free Space) would post something like that without doing my homework, do you? Let's see if I can find that reference again, it's on my other PC . . . *googles* . . . no, I'm out of time, will try to find it this evening. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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halman

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Dan_Casale,<br /><br />When you say, "One of the primary reasons that I have heard for going to the moon is to get propellents." I think, "Why is it that going to our nearest neighbor in space has to be justified?" I have always thought that space exploration is a natural extension of the same drive which pushed people to learn how to live in the extreme north, the Australian Outback, the Sahara, the Ghobi, and all the other extreme environments that have 'natives'.<br /><br />We explore new areas, find resources which are valuable, learn how to extract them, refine them, process them, and export them. Eventually, the area is no longer a 'frontier', it is 'home'. In the process, we discover things that we didn't realize were valuable, learn things we didn't know we needed to learn. Eventually, wealth is created by the addition of resources and knowledge to the total available to the race. This new wealth spurs further exploration, and the process continues.<br /><br />Learning to survive on the Moon means learning how to survive in space. When money is being made by using the resources on the Moon, we will almost certainly continue to expand out into the Solar System. At this point in time, the United States has the resources to establish the first outpost in this new frontier. In the process, new industries will be created, new jobs, and the economy revitalized. But Congress has got to support this project, and the only way to generate that support is let Congress know what you want.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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halman

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orrery21,<br /><br />As much as I want to see a space elevator constructed, I have to advocate creating a Lunar base first. We have the technology in hand to get to the Moon and create the first human outpost on another body. Once that is accomplished, the private sector will begin investment in mining and processing Lunar regolith. Space stations will be needed to create products in zero gravity using Lunar resources. The number of launches to support all of this will keep increasing, providing the financial incentive to build an Earth Orbiting Elevator, which will accelerate the development of carbon nanotube manufacturing. As the EOE is extended, the practicality of a true space elevator will become apparent.<br /><br />We must take small steps, at first, until the economy of space industrialization gets on its feet. Once we have a secure base on the Moon, it will be much more difficult to derail the progress of exploration and development. But all of our effort at this time should be focused on getting that base built, so that any person looking at the Moon will know that there are people living and working up there. That psychological threshold will be the true beginning of the Space Age. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"...I believe the Space Elevator can be constructed in the 15-20 year time frame at a fraction of the cost..." </font><br /><br />I don't know what you're using as a basis of comparison for your fraction -- but the SE itself is going to require some heavy-duty lifting of its own. Even if you were to make the optimistic assumption that the materials and technologies for the SE will be available in the next 15-20 years, then those materials still have to be lofted to orbit. Unlike Jack's beanstalk -- an SE has to be built from the top down. Soooo an initiative that develops or refines launch capabilities and orbital construction techniques for Moon/Mars missions would seem to be a boon to SE development... once we have the materials to begin development. <br /><br /><font color="yellow">"Furthermore, we must unite the space activists behind a single vision." </font><br /><br />And if that united vision doesn't involve an SE? Will you follow along with everyone else -- or is your vision the only one that you feel is worth uniting behind? <br /><br /><font color="yellow">"It will immediately save us trillions of dollars over the next several decades" </font><br /><br />Change 'immediately' to 'eventually'. Again -- assuming we had the materials to build one <b>right now</b> -- it would cost many many billions over a decade or two to build. Those many many billions would be in the place of most/all current projects. After the (be realistic) two decades of construction, if the SE were <b>completely</b> free to run, it would still take another two decades (at least) to pay for the launches that were required to build it. Once it was paid off (forty years from now given my optimistic assumption about materials) -- it would start producing net gain. NASA's current budget is in the realm of 16 billion per year -- much of which is towards launches, but by no means all. Taking a WAG -- we'll say 10 billion a year is towards the cost
 
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arobie

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Orrery, earlier on, before the crash, I ran some numbers on the space elevator. Taking into account for how much it can carry in one load, how long one trip to the top of the elevator and back would take, and how many tons of stuff we would need to put up into space and on the moon, I came to the conclusion that it would actually not be the best way to go. It would take to long to get everything up there.<br /><br />I wish I could just show it to you, but it was lost. I'll run the numbers again if I can get the information I need. I used the information on the space elevators talked about in the space.com articles and in the popular science articles.<br /><br />Halman, could you give me an estimate on how many tons we would need to get up into space for the first part of the vision, getting to the moon?
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"the author believes that it will be built & completed by the year 2020. "</font><br /><br />Whatever the author is having -- I'll take a double.
 
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mrmorris

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<br />Excitement, newspaper articles and meetings in D.C. are all good -- but that's not the same thing as completing a space elevator in fifteen years when the technology to do so doesn't exist. Feel free in 2020 to post a message on this board to the effect of 'Neener Neener Neener' if Dr. Edwards proves to be prophetic.
 
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quasar2

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i happen 2 not have much faith in it either. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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arobie

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If it is indeed built, <br />How tall will it be? <br />How much weight can it carry in one load? <br />How fast does the elevator travel going up? <br />How fast does it travel going down?<br />And can I get some estimates about how many tons we would need to get from earths surface up into space for the first part of the vision, the moon base?
 
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arobie

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<font color="yellow">It would be able to carry 20 Ton loads at first,"</font><br /><br />Are you sure? I heard the figure of a 5-ton load from here.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">"and once a few more ribbons are added, a 100 tons"</font><br /><br />Do you mean a few more layers of ribbons added to that elevator, or a few more elevators built?<br /><br /><font color="yellow">"The elevator "climber" climbs up, it does not come down unless its bringing something down."</font><br /><br />Where does it go? Does that mean they have to build a new 'climber' every time they need to use it? That doesn't make sense. Will you clear that up for me?<br /><br /><font color="yellow">"I believe the time period is 70 hours "</font><br /><br />Ok that sounds good. Out of curiousity, do you know how fast it goes? I would like to know.
 
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spacester

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A Space Elevator would be fabulous. Or in fact <i>it will</i> be fabulous, who knows, and it's certainly worth supporting. But either way, it's never going to be the be-all and end-all of spaceflight. <br /><br />I doubt that everything we do in space will be with hardware sent up the elevator and only the elevator. There will always be launch vehicles. People will get a taste for it during the upcoming tourism phase, for one thing. So manned flight will still be preferred to a long ride up the ribbon.<br /><br />But mainly, it seems to me that if it is successful, it will be constantly booked. With every habitat that goes up the ribbon, a customer is created for resupply services, but the elevator is booked with more valuable hardware. So you do resupply on CATS launchers.<br /><br />Then there's orbital inclination. Space elevators only work on the equator, but business will be done on other inclinations, for the views if nothing else. So the plane change (costly) from the equator is added to the SE cost, compared to CATS launching. The likely outcome is a competitive situation with overlapping capability, which would be great.<br /><br />Build the SE, go for it, more power to you! Shoot, build a couple of them. But while you're working on that, we need to get launch costs down and see how close we can get to CATS when we really try with the technology we've got in hand. Meanwhile, manned access to space will be progressing thanks to private tourism vehicles. Then we put some hotels up there, so we've got things rolling when the SE comes on line and boom! We're a Spacefaring Civilization. (If the SE doesn't work, we just keep moving forward with our CATS launchers.)<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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