POLL: Nuclear-Powered Moon Bases?

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Should Moon Bases Be Nuclear-Powered?

  • Duh! It's the cheapest, most effective way to go.

    Votes: 65 83.3%
  • One word: solar (plus two more words: no clouds!).

    Votes: 11 14.1%
  • This is nuts! We must not export such dangerous and dirty technology to another world.

    Votes: 2 2.6%

  • Total voters
    78
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Not open for further replies.
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neilsox

Guest
We likely can develop a nuclear reactor for space with almost no shielding and cutting a lot of other safety features that add weight. Problems are 1 very high development costs partly because testing on Earth's surface has to be with robots or waldos inside a very costly containment building 2 launching the reactor has many problems as no humans can be in the launch pad, and the launch pad will be at least slightly contaminated after the launch 3 A failure of the launch vehicle shortly after lift off could be as bad as Chernobyl. 4 maintenance on the moon or other space location also needs to be by waldo or robot, unless someone will accept a high risk of death from cancer. 5 An asteroid habitat could possibly mine and enrich the uranium, build the unshielded reactors and launch them to their new location. This limits the hazard to the few humans in the asteroid, instead of 6.6 billion humans on Earth. Neil
 
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TC_sc

Guest
MeteorWayne":3k19o7pq said:
MOD HAT ON***

hoser, lets try and cut back on the rhetoric a little bit here. While politics is an inevitible part of the NASA funding process, it is NOT the focus of the thread. Please stick to the topic, and take any political discussions to Free Space.

MOD Hat OFF***

Meteor Wayne
I saw many post where the solar option was based on politics alone. The green movement is why we are so reluctant to use anything nuclear in space. So I ask, should posters base opinions solely on science?

Back to the thread. We need to develop nuclear for space. the only way to practically test a reactor is with a permanent outpost on the moon. We are building this base for testing purposes, to develop technologies for Mars. Few disagree that we must have nuclear on Mars because of the dust and storms. What better place to test a reactor like this than tucked safely away on the moon?

We need a reactor and/or other nuclear options if we are to explore the solar system. There is a political battle to fight before we can do this.
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Another comment I have is that the space nuclear reactor they are talking about right now is 140 kW, but that is actually less than the power of the ISS solar installation. So it is not as if this is a staggering area for a solar array.

Like I said, you use solar during the 14 days of sunlight, and you make sure that you have significantly more solar energy than you think you need. You store the excess using multiple, redundant storage technologies. When the 14 days of night comes, you use the stored energy.

Granted, if you plan to have a self sufficient, independent colony on the Moon, you might eventually want heavy industry, for which nuclear power might be necessary.

However, I do not agree that the Moon is the right place for such things. I see the Moon as primarily a scientific base. For example, the "dark side" (remember it still gets the 14 days of light, it just never faces the Earth) would be an excellent place to do radio astronomy, visible astronomy, and perhaps infrared astronomy. Many of the benefits of the Hubble Space Telescope without the drawbacks.

--Brian
 
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Onesnipe

Guest
Seems to me that the primary design criteria for power on any long term facility is going to be human survivability. For that you need an extremely dependable power source. I see that as nuclear as a base core.
This article: http://www.space.com/businesstechnology ... power.html
seems to be describing a trashcan sized nuclear sterling engine using molten metal in heat pipes as heat transfer medium. My understanding of these technologies minimizes the moving parts and substantially increases the reliability of the device to make it essentially a nuclear battery. At this size only a few ounces of fuel would be launched in each device. Additional units could be added as needed, or add greater redundancy. Maybe even have one attached to individual modules: Command and Control, Habitat, Science, etc.
I beleive my understanding to be quite reliable, having served on the USS Eisenhower (CVN69) for 4 years as a nuclear operator. That type of Pressurized-water primary/ Steam-cycle secondary is certainly not suited to non-terrestrial use.

This however does not need to be the only power source. Dependability comes from diversity, does it not? So all of the other mentioned power systems come into play also, solar with battery (possibly placed near radiators of nuclear reactor to keep them warm) and H2/O2 Fuel cells to get through the 2 weeks nights.
This way the most environment independent power source can function at lower power when the others function at their best. Why artificially(politically) limit the reliability/durability of the power (life support) systems of the crew?
Doing everything technically possible to ensure the survivability of the crew seems the root question here.
 
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terranoid

Guest
krash":xeji4rhj said:
Since everyone has been brainwashed to death over how bad nuclear energy is, it will never happen. But nuclear reactors are the cleanest, most effective way to generate power.

Hopefully nobody is going to say that having hundreds of thousands of acres of windmills and solar panels is cleaner...That is such a stupid argument...
The topic was "Nuclear-Powered Moon Bases". Obviously they would be built on the Moon as opposed to Earth. So in that context windmills really doesn't seem appropriate. They would not run on solar wind.
 
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Rado

Guest
by terranoid » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:24 am

krash wrote:
Since everyone has been brainwashed to death over how bad nuclear energy is, it will never happen. But nuclear reactors are the cleanest, most effective way to generate power.

Hopefully nobody is going to say that having hundreds of thousands of acres of windmills and solar panels is cleaner...That is such a stupid argument...

The topic was "Nuclear-Powered Moon Bases". Obviously they would be built on the Moon as opposed to Earth. So in that context windmills really doesn't seem appropriate. They would not run on solar wind.

terranoid,

krash was talking in general terms. What he wanted to say was that thousands of acres of windmills also represent a sort of pollution. Indeed, would you like the view of a thousand windmills through your window. Of course he was aware there was no wind on the moon. Its a basic thing. Post is not totally related to the subject but it carries a message.
 
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road_runner321

Guest
Some would say that this is too dangerous to send to the moon. But a likely outcome of transfering this source of energy to an environement as challenging as the moon is it will allow us to find new, different, and possibly safer, ways of producing nuclear energy. When survival depends on power, the method of production will be examined from all angles. I think the ingenuity of our engineers will result in nuclear generators which will power our future moonbases, and lead to new, better designs which may be used here on Earth.
 
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mythx

Guest
I'm all for nuclear power being used both on Earth, and the moon. I have a question of a technical nature though. On earth nuclear power plants are cooled with water (rivers, lakes, etc.) How would that be achieved on the moon? I'm assuming this has already been worked out, but I'd like to know more about it.
 
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heroineworshipper

Guest
Every resource which must be brought from Earth diminishes the value of a moon base. Nuclear fuel must be replaced every 2 years. A moon base should be as self sufficient as possible.
 
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Brentum

Guest
A few things.

First, if we want a permanently manned lunar base like the ISS, nuclear power is really the only viable solution.

Second, Solar is fine for more of an “outpost” that’s not continuously manned. An outpost with a few hab modules, solar arrays, rovers and equipment, that we’d do 2-week long missions to would be fine, and probably a logical first step. Pick a nice, interesting location, drop a couple of cargo landers there with hab modules, a pressurized rover, and solar arrays, then send humans there to set it up, and then use that as the site for X number of future missions for 2-week says. A good and simple first step.

Third, the polar base theory. Here’s the thing, there’s certain locations at the South Pole at least with crater mountain peaks that are exposed to sunlight –most- of the time. There’s no proof yet of a “Peak of Eternal Light”. But good prospects for peaks of light 70-80% of the time. However, a big problem is how do you get these big, ISS-type solar arrays up to the top of that peak, especially if it’s jagged and steep? You can’t just get it –near- the top, you need it right at the peak so it can track the sun. If it’s on the slope, the sun will go behind the peak for ½ the lunar day, and you are right back to where you would be if you were at the equator. And what if the peak is rocky and jagged (likely), how do you climb it and set up this huge array in a space suit? Maybe a long way down the road, but that seems like a pretty tall order. People seem to think this would be easy, but the only places even at the pole that would have light most of the time are the peaks.
Probably, you’d need at least 2 or 3 redundant arrays located on different high slopes facing in different directions if there was such a location at the pole so that at least one array would have sunlight at all times. But you are talking a lot of power cables to go from these hill and mountain tops to your base. That’s weight, and weight costs money.

So in short, I think at first, a few outposts at various interesting locations on the surface (including the south pole) that would be manned for 14 days at a time solar powered would be a logical first step. (plus you reuse that equipment for several missions which helps save costs too rather than throwing it away each mission) And once you’ve done that and learned much more about living on the lunar surface, you pick a place for a permanent ISS style base, and you almost assuredly make that nuclear powered. Perhaps after that, we could change the structure of lunar missions. Rather than space based missions, they would be staged from that base. Regular cargo landers would land there with supplies and fuel. A reusable crew lander could be used to ferry crews to and from orbit. (you could use a reusable cargo lander too maybe, but transferring cargo in orbit might be a problem), and then you have a surface-to-surface ship that launches from the base, goes sub-orbital and lands at an interesting location. It’d carry a rover, supplies, equipment, and enough fuel to get back to the base.

Another possibility, with all the power a nuclear plant to generate, for fuel, you could transport water to the surface (don’t need to have it pressurized, it’s dense, etc), and then use the nuclear powered electricity to generate your H2 and O2 and use it as fuel for your other ships.
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Onesnipe":yoaan6jh said:
Seems to me that the primary design criteria for power on any long term facility is going to be human survivability. For that you need an extremely dependable power source. I see that as nuclear as a base core.
I do not agree that sunlight on the Moon is not reliable. The Moon gets 14 days of unfiltered, uninterrupted sunlight at a time. Solar should be adequate given that there is redundant energy storage. Solar is used to power satellites all the time. It used for the ISS.

If we were talking about a base on Pluto, I would see the point that some of you are making, claiming that solar is completely unfeasible, but I do not see it in this case.

This article: http://www.space.com/businesstechnology ... power.html
seems to be describing a trashcan sized nuclear sterling engine using molten metal in heat pipes as heat transfer medium. My understanding of these technologies minimizes the moving parts and substantially increases the reliability of the device to make it essentially a nuclear battery.
Well not really, because a nuclear battery -- of which one form is an RTG -- does not involve a chain reaction. This machine would use a chain reaction.

Also, the reactor they're talking about would only produce 40 kW. This amount of power is feasible to generate using solar. The space station has what, 130 kW? So more than double what the reactor would do.

This one would have 100 kW of electrical output. Again, less than what the solar array on the ISS does.

Additional units could be added as needed, or add greater redundancy. Maybe even have one attached to individual modules: Command and Control, Habitat, Science, etc.
I believe my understanding to be quite reliable, having served on the USS Eisenhower (CVN69) for 4 years as a nuclear operator. That type of Pressurized-water primary/ Steam-cycle secondary is certainly not suited to non-terrestrial use.
This however does not need to be the only power source. Dependability comes from diversity, does it not? So all of the other mentioned power systems come into play also, solar with battery (possibly placed near radiators of nuclear reactor to keep them warm) and H2/O2 Fuel cells to get through the 2 weeks nights.
Shipmate -- I was on nuclear submarines as a sonar tech STS3(SS) -- I will just reiterate what I said earlier...on the Moon, solar should be adequate. I haven't seen any arguments as to why solar would not fine there.

What I am saying is essentially this: nuclear power should be used when needed, solar power should be used where adequate.

This way the most environment independent power source can function at lower power when the others function at their best. Why artificially(politically) limit the reliability/durability of the power (life support) systems of the crew?
Why artificially increase the radiation levels, introduce problems with nuclear waste and possibility of reactor meltdown, etc., when solar power is adequate?

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Brentum":3kaljtu5 said:
A few things.

First, if we want a permanently manned lunar base like the ISS, nuclear power is really the only viable solution.
The ISS is designed to be permanently manned, and uses solar power. Its solar array produces more power than the space nuclear reactors currently proposed.

Second, Solar is fine for more of an “outpost” that’s not continuously manned. An outpost with a few hab modules, solar arrays, rovers and equipment, that we’d do 2-week long missions to would be fine, and probably a logical first step. Pick a nice, interesting location, drop a couple of cargo landers there with hab modules, a pressurized rover, and solar arrays, then send humans there to set it up, and then use that as the site for X number of future missions for 2-week says. A good and simple first step.
That's permanent manning; when one crew leaves, another arrives to take their place. I don't know why you would want a base on the Moon that goes for long periods of time without being manned. If you're going to do that, don't send the humans at all, just use computers/robots.

Third, the polar base theory. Here’s the thing, there’s certain locations at the South Pole at least with crater mountain peaks that are exposed to sunlight –most- of the time.
All of you pro-nuclear-Moon people seem to lose sight of the fact that, for any given location on the Moon, it gets sunlight "most of the time" for 2 weeks. So, really, I don't understand how that becomes "unreliable" or whatever.

There are no clouds on the Moon, guys. The sunlight is more intense than on the Earth, also, for the same reason: lack of atmosphere.

several missions which helps save costs too rather than throwing it away each mission) And once you’ve done that and learned much more about living on the lunar surface, you pick a place for a permanent ISS style base, and you almost assuredly make that nuclear powered.
The only time you would need nuclear power on the Moon, in my opinion, is if you're planning on manufacturing heavy metals there, or something else which needs a large amount of power not available with solar. If you're just having a scientific base, or tourist resort, there is no reason for nuclear, imho.

Nuclear would be used on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, Kuiper belt objects, etc. But if you're reasonably close to the Sun you don't really need nuclear for science bases.

A colony -- civilians who intend to start an independent civilization -- on Mars might need nuclear eventually, though not at first. By the time a Mars civilization needs nuclear power, they will probably be able to mine the uranium on Mars itself and fabricate the fuel rods there, so launching a reactor etc. will not be an issue. But I think it will turn out that geothermal will be easier to use on Mars than nuclear.

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Just a couple things I wanted to point out....

The space.com reactor article says that the proposed reactor would only have 40 kW of electrical output. That amount of power is easy to do with solar. That is less than half what the ISS uses.

The Safe Affordable Fission Engine from NASA would only have 100 kW of electrical output.

You guys are making it sound like we're looking at 140 kW of solar vs. 1 MW of nuclear or something, and that's not the case!!!!!!!!!!

Wikipedia says about the ISS solar wings, "These arrays are arranged as four pairs of wings, and each pair is capable of generating nearly 32.8 kW of DC power." So, two of those wings would be more power than you would get from the reactor in the space.com article, and the total amount generated by the ISS is 30 kW more than the SAFE reactor.

--Brian
 
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TC_sc

Guest
neutrino78x":l2e8za2n said:
Just a couple things I wanted to point out....

You guys are making it sound like we're looking at 140 kW of solar vs. 1 MW of nuclear or something, and that's not the case!!!!!!!!!!

Wikipedia says about the ISS solar wings, "These arrays are arranged as four pairs of wings, and each pair is capable of generating nearly 32.8 kW of DC power." So, two of those wings would be more power than you would get from the reactor in the space.com article, and the total amount generated by the ISS is 30 kW more than the SAFE reactor.

--Brian
You have to store that power. You have 14 days of darkness. If you store as hydrogen there are so many loses that you will need to have a lot more solar panels than you think. Then you need a source from which to retrieve the hydrogen. You can use batteries as well, they have a fixed life span and then have to be replaced. As others have stated, the panels will need to be clear of the mountains and be able to rotate to follow the sun. I guess the answers to a lot of this will be answered when we find out how much water is on the moon and how available it is.

I guess in the end, I am for having both, but lean heavily to nuclear. We need the reactor if for nothing but testing.
 
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Booban

Guest
Who wants to work in the dark!

Why should we need the reactor for testing? Does fission reaction happen differently on the moon?

We need the solar power for testing, to test beaming it back to earth!

Why wouldn't the base be in the daylight polar areas? Why would you put a base somewhere where you cant see for 14 days!

I don't think there will be any out of station activities at night time, with 100% daylight, they can operate on the lunar landscape all the time. Rescue, evacuations, emergencies all benefit with daylight.

If there are big chunks of gold bars in the dark places, or something else interesting, then fine, set up whatever you need to go get it. But everything being even, it makes more sense to stay in the 100% daylight area.
 
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mythx

Guest
The more I think about it, the more complex this issue becomes. I still think solar will be determined inadequate if power is required 100% of the time. The following are the factors I think will need to be considered.

Weight - Weight = Cost. The lighter solution will have a significant advantage.

Safety - Let's face it, space is dangerous enough without adding to it. What's more dangerous? The risk of meltdown? or the construction effort to erect and maintain solar arrays?

Reliability - I don't think power outages should be tolerated.

Complexity - At least I hope they balanced approach to the complex vs simple. That usually saves money.

Cost - Do I need to say anything here?

Radiation - The additional solar winds hitting the moon are going to be a significant problem when they create induction fields. Anything that can reduce the cabling footprint I think will have a major advantage.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Re: Who wants to work in the dark!

Booban":2vjynyki said:
Why should we need the reactor for testing? Does fission reaction happen differently on the moon?

We need the solar power for testing, to test beaming it back to earth!

Why wouldn't the base be in the daylight polar areas? Why would you put a base somewhere where you cant see for 14 days!

I don't think there will be any out of station activities at night time, with 100% daylight, they can operate on the lunar landscape all the time. Rescue, evacuations, emergencies all benefit with daylight.

If there are big chunks of gold bars in the dark places, or something else interesting, then fine, set up whatever you need to go get it. But everything being even, it makes more sense to stay in the 100% daylight area.

Perhaps you don't understand. Except for a few places at the poles (actually above the tops of polar crater rims) there is 14 days of sunlight and 14 days of darkness everywhere else on the moon.
 
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Booban

Guest
Moon base at Sunny South Pole ofcourse

Well, I don't understand how small these polar regions are, but I am rather sure they have a flat spot big enough for a moon base. I'm not saying we don't go explore the rest of the moon, but we are going to only have one base so it might as well be where the sun always shines. From there you can launch 2 week sunny forays to the other parts of the moon.

I do understand the polar region at Shackleton crater is where hydrogen was found. We've been on the equator already, the polar region currently seems the most interesting, interesting terrain, so its as good a place as any with the added advantage of constant daylight. Not taking advantage of it would be unreasonable, which makes nuclear power a moot point. Of course you don't add a nuclear reactor to your solar base bathed in constant daylight, that would add unnecessary cost and complexity.

Why set up a base anywhere else? Until they send more robots to find out more, the south polar region is the leading contender.
 
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tampaDreamer

Guest
There's nothing simpler than power-in-a-box. For starters I think you send up a couple of those trashcans. That will give you the power you need for construction and it can be a backup for life support in case of a failure of the solar array. As long as these reactors are the type that can be shutdown and then started back up on demand, they will make an excellent reserve once you get the solar up and running.

Best I can understand, you're going to need a big crane, some drilling equipment, and a decent sized group of personnel to construct the solar arrays on the mountain peak. From what I'm hearing, there isn't a flat space for solar panels, so I think we're going to end up with "panels on a stick" which will be a bit heavier than the ISS versions because 1/6 G isn't nothing.

Anyway, you're going to want to develop the light-weight portable nuclear technology for operations elsewhere on the moon and elsewhere in the solar system.
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
TC_sc":30s4nevl said:
You have to store that power. You have 14 days of darkness. If you store as hydrogen there are so many loses that you will need to have a lot more solar panels than you think. Then you need a source from which to retrieve the hydrogen. You can use batteries as well, they have a fixed life span and then have to be replaced.
Yes, you would have multiple, redundant storage methods. You would have a battery pack, a flywheel, a fuel cell, etc. In any case, this power would be built up over time. The first landing is not going to require 140 kW (not that the nuclear reactors they are talking about could do that; they couldn't, they were talking about a maximum of 100 kW, less than the ISS does with solar). I don't know what you guys think we would be doing on the Moon that would require so much power.

As others have stated, the panels will need to be clear of the mountains and be able to rotate to follow the sun.
They don't have to rotate; I was talking about that house I was living in that was solar powered, their panels didn't rotate. And no, they didn't suddenly get a 90% drop in power at different times of day. Between about 10 am and 6 pm, they got a consistent power output of around 4 or 6 kW or something like that. Point being, as long as the sun is visible and high enough to hit the panel, you don't have to track the sun as such.

There are ways to address that "issue", such as Cylndrical Solar Panels and Flexible Solar Panels.

I guess in the end, I am for having both, but lean heavily to nuclear. We need the reactor if for nothing but testing.
Well like I said, I see the Moon as being just a scientific outpost, and maybe a little tourism, much like Antarctica is today. So that is probably the main reason I wouldn't want to introduce the added issues that come with a nuclear reactor. I do agree that we are going to need spacecraft with reactors on them, eventually.

But, when you need a reactor on a spacecraft, you REALLY need the reactor. In other words, a trashcan sized, 30 cm on a side reactor that gives you 100 kW isn't going to cut it for a craft that actually needs a reactor. 100 kW is easily done with solar.

I think we are going to eventually need a way to make the fuel rods in space, or, as the case may be, on Mars, asteroids, gas giant moons, etc. Yes, that sounds like a far-future idea, and that is how it is intended. I wouldn't feel safe having a nuclear reactor of appreciable size/power being launched on a rocket which would blow up. No, I'm not talking about a nuclear explosion, you know what I mean. dirty bomb.)

--Brian
 
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Booban

Guest
First I thought it wasn't realistic, but I've been reading that NASA is serious about a mobile moon base.

I would imagine then that solar power would not be enough.
 
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HiGh_GuY

Guest
TC_sc":21cvk3ms said:
HiGh_GuY":21cvk3ms said:
[

Give me one reason you think is valid why the moon is a better choice than mars and i'll tell you why the that reason isn't valid. A moon mission being safer/quicker than a MARS mission isn't a valid reason either. Doing something harder will teach us more and we will bennefit from it more.
The valid reason is that we don't, at this point, have the technology to go, reasonably safe, to Mars . At this point it would just be to say we did it. We learn by building an infrastructure on the moon. The moon is the perfect testbed. Trust me, if we don't put an outpost on the moon, someone else will. Why not make it an international effort?

We DO have the technology to go to mars reasonably safe. Is it 100% safe? NO, but space will NEVER be 100% safe. Going to Mars now will be safer than it was going to the moon 40 years ago.


The moon is not a pefect testbed for Mars. Here are 3 of the major differences for a mars trip vs. the moon (some will be used for sure, others are optional): aritificial gravity, radiation shielding (for ship), atmospheric conversion.

Going to mars now will not be just to say we did. You gotta understand that building an infrastructure is not small project regardless of it being on the moon, mars, or any where else. It will take many missions and will build up slowly over time. It will also cost a lot of money. That is why we need to start on mars now, because taking on such a big project on the moon will push back a mars mission for decades, because of time and money issues.

I agree with you, someone else will put an outpust on the moon, if we don't do it first....GOOD, let them. likewise, if we decide to tackle the moon, we'll end up spending decades there, and then someone else WILL put men on mars before us. I'd much rather have mars, than the moon because its more benneficial financially, scientifically, more adventerous, will get more people interested and involved...etc, etc...Nasa should do the things that others won't (CAN't) not the things that others can accomplish. we are the leaders in space and in order to keep it that way, we need to strive to do better things, not what we've already done...and what others can do. We should make the moon an international effort, and commercial. But unlike the ISS where the US supplies a majority of the work and money, we be more in the background, and make mars are primary focus.
________________________________________________________

AS FOR NUCLEAR....I'm all for nuclear in space...what ever gets the job done cheapest and most efficiently. Also, i'm a fan and supporter of MagBeam propulsion which can use solar or nuclear based power, but would REQUIRE nuclear for any flights past mars. Also, the next step after mars, in my opinion is sending humans to either europa or titan. If we develop nuclear now, that will be one less thing to worry about for a mission to any place further out than mars, where sunlight starts to become to weak to make solar worth while.


Jobiwan":21cvk3ms said:
I'm all for nuclear but the waste is a huge problem!!!!!!
Ummm... Why not just send the waste to the sun to burn up?
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Booban":1fqagqiw said:
First I thought it wasn't realistic, but I've been reading that NASA is serious about a mobile moon base.
Mobile moon base? News to me....You would have rovers, of course, but I don't know why you would want the base itself to be mobile, and I haven't heard anything about it.

I would imagine then that solar power would not be enough.
I don't know why you would imagine that, the ISS has 140 kW of solar power, and the space nuclear reactor discussed in this thread only generates 40 kW. There's another small one that might be able to get up to 100 kW, but that's still smaller than what you can do with solar for the same weight.

The only thing nuclear can do that solar can't on the moon is operate during the night, however, that's what energy storage is for. Battery packs, fuel cells, solar thermal storage (during the day, you heat up blocks of lunar soil using mirrors, and store them in a way that they are not exposed to the cold of space, and they will continue to radiate heat for 14 days), flywheels, etc.

I believe the preferred location at this time is near the poles, where you have places that don't have the 14 day night, but still, solar should be quite sufficient on the moon.

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
HiGh_GuY":2chsx8rg said:
We DO have the technology to go to mars reasonably safe. Is it 100% safe? NO, but space will NEVER be 100% safe. Going to Mars now will be safer than it was going to the moon 40 years ago.

The moon is not a pefect testbed for Mars.
I completely agree with you, but I think it is off topic in this thread, so I'll leave that to you guys. ;-)

AS FOR NUCLEAR....I'm all for nuclear in space...what ever gets the job done cheapest and most efficiently.
I agree, but my argument in terms of the Moon is that nuclear is not necessary.

Also, i'm a fan and supporter of MagBeam propulsion which can use solar or nuclear based power, but would REQUIRE nuclear for any flights past mars. Also, the next step after mars, in my opinion is sending humans to either europa or titan. If we develop nuclear now, that will be one less thing to worry about for a mission to any place further out than mars, where sunlight starts to become to weak to make solar worth while.
True, we will eventually need it for deep space missions. But I still say, since the portable nuclear reactor they are talking about is only (maximum) 100 kW, solar is still good enough. I also think we need the ability to make fuel rods and/or whole reactors on Mars (or where ever else we wish to colonize). It saves the expense/danger of shipping large quantities of fissile material from the Earth.

Jobiwan":2chsx8rg said:
I'm all for nuclear but the waste is a huge problem!!!!!!
Ummm... Why not just send the waste to the sun to burn up?
True.

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Here is an example of how you can store the Sun's energy for use at night.

Molten Salt Energy Storage


Another thing that has not been mentioned as far as nuclear on the Moon: during the lunar day, exhausting the heat would be difficult. The surface of the Moon can be 200 degrees centigrade.

What I envision is some kind of folding reflector dish, or possibly just a box with a Fresnel lens on top, in which you would put blocks of salt, also from Earth. During the day, you have them uncovered and pointed toward the Sun, and they get very hot. You also have phtovoltaics generating energy from the Sun. When there is lunar night, you would cover the salt apparatus with some kind of insulating material, and you would have either a solid-state infrared to electric conversion device or a stirling engine.

here's another concept like that, using lunar soil (regolith) instead of molten salt.

Lunar Regolith Energy Storage

--Brian
 
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