Private Moon Exploration

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Swampcat

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<p><strong><font color="#990099">Firm Reveals Ambitious Moon Mission Plan</font></strong></p> <p>A private group planning to launch a moon rover to the famed Apollo 11 landing site in a bid to win a $20 million prize announced an ambitious plan Thursday to send five more spacecraft to explore the lunar poles.</p> <p>The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based firm Astrobotic Technology, Inc., led by Carnegie Mellon University roboticist William "Red" Whittaker, announced plans to launch its first rover to NASA's Tranquility Base in May 2010 to win the Google Lunar X Prize competition, the company announced Thursday.</p> <p>Under the plan, the inaugural flight would be followed by three more privately-funded polar rovers, as well as a lander and a moon dozer, to explore the moon for potential lunar base sites or scan for water ice, according to a white paper released today. Each of the missions is targeted at various high-interest spots on the moon, where Astrobotic probes would observe the lunar surface and the effects of the lunar environment on spacecraft, as well as test technologies for future exploration.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="3" color="#ff9900"><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>------------------------------------------------------------------- </em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."</em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong>Thomas Jefferson</strong></font></p></font> </div>
 
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Swampcat

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<p><strong><font color="#990099">Private Moon Lander Group Teams with NASA</font></strong></p> <p>Keep an eye out for Odyssey Moon Ventures &mdash; one of the contenders in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition &mdash; to announce they have partnered with NASA for development of a robotic lunar lander.</p> <p>This new partnership was established via a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement signed with the NASA Ames Research Center, situated in Silicon Valley. The agreement has NASA providing technical data and engineering support to Odyssey Moon Ventures in support of the private group&rsquo;s effort to develop its &ldquo;MoonOne&rdquo; robotic lander.</p> <p>In return, Odyssey Moon Ventures will reimburse NASA Ames for the cost of providing the technical support and will share its technical data from its engineering tests and actual lunar missions with NASA.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="3" color="#ff9900"><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>------------------------------------------------------------------- </em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."</em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong>Thomas Jefferson</strong></font></p></font> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Private Moon Lander Group Teams with NASA Keep an eye out for Odyssey Moon Ventures &mdash; one of the contenders in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition &mdash; to announce they have partnered with NASA for development of a robotic lunar lander. This new partnership was established via a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement signed with the NASA Ames Research Center, situated in Silicon Valley. The agreement has NASA providing technical data and engineering support to Odyssey Moon Ventures in support of the private group&rsquo;s effort to develop its &ldquo;MoonOne&rdquo; robotic lander. In return, Odyssey Moon Ventures will reimburse NASA Ames for the cost of providing the technical support and will share its technical data from its engineering tests and actual lunar missions with NASA. <br /> Posted by Swampcat</DIV></p><p>Maybe now Jon Clarke will acknowledge the potential for private science as the driver for lunar explorarion. This story is very close to what I've described. Or have tried to describe and discuss until I gave up.</p><p>He wouldn't tolerate this very idea a couple of years ago when I wanted to talk about it. Practically a taboo subject for Mr. Moderator Clarke. </p><p>FWIW, I was talking the 2010 time frame as well.</p><p>sdc: NOT the place to talk about visions of future success. A fine place to relive past glories, but to dream and dream realistically? Not so much. Unless you follow the academia-driven status quo script.</p><p>Had to get that off my chest, no response required, facts are facts and no apologies for my frankness.</p><p>*** </p><p>The Carnegie team is very very good at this stuff. Even better than Johns Hopkins APL even, in my estimation.</p><p>Go Lunar Science and - more importantly - settlement precursor activity! Yeah, baby!</p><p>***</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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danhezee

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<p><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">Space technology and Business is by far my favorite forum. &nbsp;I love reading stuff about the </span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">google</span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span"> x-prize and the NASA centennial challenges. &nbsp;Oh and the successes of NASA COTS programs as well. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">To reply to </span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">spacester</span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span"> even though he </span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">didnt</span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span"> want it, </span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">lol</span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">. &nbsp;Talking to pessimist/devil's </span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">adcovate</span><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span"> can be a good thing, &nbsp;people like that can strengthen your plans and help bring your dreams to reality. &nbsp;What sucks is when you have taken the time to address the pessimist's issues and they still treat your ideas as rubbish without an explanation.</span></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Space technology and Business is by far my favorite forum. &nbsp;I love reading stuff about the google x-prize and the NASA centennial challenges. &nbsp;Oh and the successes of NASA COTS programs as well. &nbsp;To reply to spacester even though he didnt want it, lol. &nbsp;Talking to pessimist/devil's adcovate can be a good thing, &nbsp;people like that can strengthen your plans and help bring your dreams to reality. &nbsp;What sucks is when you have taken the time to address the pessimist's issues and they still treat your ideas as rubbish without an explanation. <br /> Posted by danhezee</DIV></p><p>Bingo. That was my experience.</p><p>After years of good-faith contributions, a cabal took over here as moderators and ruined it for me and many others. </p><p>All Jon would do was appeal to the authority of the past as dictum for the future. Intellectually weak but oh so ready to wield the powers of a mod.</p><p>Is he still around? Is there a list of current moderators?</p><p>***</p><p>What I envision is for the Obama Admin to get behind a Lunar Industrial Park. Not at the exclusion of NASA'a activities, but with an arrangement as described here, assisting private groups - megacorps working alongside wildcatters - to work out settlement technologies.</p><p>Have I told you about the dome?</p><p>All Obama would have to do to get the thing going is to squueze a few $B out of Big Oil, provide seed money and most importantly, provide transportation costs</p><p>Much has made of the role of Air Mail in early aviation.&nbsp; No direct extension of that has appeared, so I conclude that the trick to becoming a spacefaring society is for subsidization of transportation costs.</p><p>Specifically, a program would be pre-funded and would pay for delivery to the lunar surface, by private contractors, of qualified equipment. The agency simply applies criteria, it doesn't work the technologies. First come first served until the money runs out.</p><p>LUNOX</p><p>Regolith sintering and other in situ structural schemes</p><p>Power Landers - Instant utility grid, solar powered</p><p>Plant Growth and possibly animal husbandry - baby rats in 1/6 gee? </p><p>Metals extraction - Aluminum, Titanium</p><p>Glass making&nbsp; - storage vessels, pipelines, habitat sealants</p><p>We used to talk about this stuff all the time until the various improvements were made. </p><p>Notice I left water off the list. </p><p>NASA has this stuff listed. So did we, here at sdc, until the improvements. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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danhezee

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<span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">Well you got my vote to start dicussing things like that agian. &nbsp;What do you think of the artemis project and all the work research they did toward a moon base?</span> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Well you got my vote to start dicussing things like that agian. &nbsp;What do you think of the artemis project and all the work research they did toward a moon base? <br /> Posted by danhezee</DIV></p><p>Artemis was a terific first effort. But it never had a chance because they never had a business plan, let alone a closed case for sustainability.</p><p>The bad part of Artemis is that many of the quick look-sees on the various sub-subjects are now considered to be authoritative documents, which to me betrays the value of Artemis as the pioneering effort it was. There so much more work to be done.</p><p>The first step in developing the moon is, IMO, understanding what the greatest resource offered is.</p><p>It ain't oxygen or water or He3 or metals or glass.</p><p>The most economically viable resource on the moon is</p><p>BEING THERE</p><p>Whether in person or by telepresence.</p><p>So the way to exploit the moon is to GO THERE and DO THINGS.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Artemis was a terific first effort. But it never had a chance because they never had a business plan, let alone a closed case for sustainability.The bad part of Artemis is that many of the quick look-sees on the various sub-subjects are now considered to be authoritative documents, which to me betrays the value of Artemis as the pioneering effort it was. There so much more work to be done.The first step in developing the moon is, IMO, understanding what the greatest resource offered is.It ain't oxygen or water or He3 or metals or glass.The most economically viable resource on the moon isBEING THEREWhether in person or by telepresence.So the way to exploit the moon is to GO THERE and DO THINGS.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by Spacester</DIV></p><p>I agree there is a lot that could be learned by going back to the moon, but I also think our going there in the first place proved the most important point. That being we can go anywhere in Space we want to. If this is exploited by private industry in renewed research and exploration at the moon is great, but, in my opinion, exploration of Mars, asteroids and Comets should be the goal of National and International exploration.&nbsp; NASA showed we can get to the moon and back and live and work there for extended periods, that should be their agenda and they have done it. It's time to move on to other matters rather then fixating on what we have done.</p><p>Case in point would we the ISS, turn it over to industry and private users, keep an International crew to manage the facility but turn the research facilities over to anyone who has a use for it. Hopefully with SpaceX's designs that can be done sooner then later.</p><p>If individuals or industry see an opportunity on the moon then foster their idea but don't waste the time and money that could be used to push the envelope further on a National or International basis. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I agree there is a lot that could be learned by going back to the moon, but I also think our going there in the first place proved the most important point. That being we can go anywhere in Space we want to. If this is exploited by private industry in renewed research and exploration at the moon is great, but, in my opinion, exploration of Mars, asteroids and Comets should be the goal of National and International exploration.&nbsp; NASA showed we can get to the moon and back and live and work there for extended periods, that should be their agenda and they have done it. It's time to move on to other matters rather then fixating on what we have done.Case in point would we the ISS, turn it over to industry and private users, keep an International crew to manage the facility but turn the research facilities over to anyone who has a use for it. Hopefully with SpaceX's designs that can be done sooner then later.If individuals or industry see an opportunity on the moon then foster their idea but don't waste the time and money that could be used to push the envelope further on a National or International basis. <br /> Posted by scottb50</DIV></p><p>Well scott, we are as usual nearly on the same page, but maybe not quite. FWIW I predicted eventual ISS privatization a long time ago, so you know I'm on board with that.</p><p>I don't begrudge anyone their opinion that there are loftier goals then lunar EXPLORATION (other than to hope they would think in a broader context). However, I ask in return that those folks would agree that in terms of Lunar EXPLOITATION there are several very important questions we need answers to. These questions matter to the entire effort to become space-faring, not just to lunatics. :)</p><p>How can we make our space infrastructure plans if we don't know what the availability of water is at the Lunar poles? Do we need to just plan on Earth-sourcing all of it? Even if we go to the NEOs for look for water (my prediction is that's where the answer lies), that knowledge is less actionable if you don't know about the resource at the bottom of the lunar gravity well. We need that resource survey.</p><p>How can we suppose we will Settle Mars if we haven't obtained biological data points for life in reduced - but well above micro - gravity? I love spin-g but there's no real substitute for an actual planetary gravity field. We need those studies on lunar mammals. </p><p>Can we harness the solar energy to provide full time agricultural capability? We need to know what we can grow. </p><p>How can we move forward in any kind of coordinated or even sensible way if we do not know what our nearest neighbor has to offer?</p><p>If you push an envelope too much without providing internal structure, the envelope's bubble bursts. We need to do our homework on the Moon and get a handle on the economic viability of doing business there. </p><p>So yes, NASA needs to go to the poles and see if they can develop the water resource.&nbsp;</p><p>And no, they shouldn't put everything else on hold while they do that.</p><p>My proposal for the Lunar Industrial Park would follow the approach described in the OP stories: NASA would help figure out the technical framework, but this would be a private effort. I get the feeling that folks do not understand the sea change shift in thinking that these new efforts represent. Read it again folks, this is PRIVATE money and the instant profits everyone here supposes must be forthcoming for this to happen? They are unknown and uncertain. Not all private money follows the wall street quarterly report ethos.</p><p>The industrial park should specifically be NOT at the poles. Proving we can live at the poles - go for it NASA! - does not prove we can live elsewhere on the surface. But a NASA-led water resource operation supplying Tranquility Dome's Private Industrial Park is a giant leap towards being Space Faring. I do not want to get pinned down at the poles, let's contemplate roads and pipelines and hoppers from the start.</p><p>A new agency would get the chunk of cash from a one-time tax on Big Oil, say $3 Billion. This money would be used to pay for launch and delivery to the lunar surface. FOB Sea of Tranquility. If you qualify, you fly. First come, first served til the money runs out, and we'll have made an honest effort at instigating the next big economic boom. </p><p>Here's the part that makes this whole idea politically possible: If you ask most any Democrat about space flight, they will cite its value as providing inspiration to the youth of America: steering them to Science and Technology studies and careers. It's the party line. </p><p>So this becomes simple: It's EDUCATION stupid. Provide free transportation for student-built hardware (and subsidized transportation for private industry) and get this space age in gear. </p><p>Get another chunk of money from Big Oil to fund the education side of the program. Let Big Oil do something Big for America, they just might jump at the opportunity. They need Scientists and Engineers for their futures. So: another $5 Billion to endow a fund into perpetuity to maximize assistance for actual teachers in actual classrooms from K-16 with instructional materials and even cold hard cash, whatever makes sense, in support of Math and Science programs, all based on actual current activity at the poles and at the Industrial Park. Oh, and the Amusement Park next door. :)</p><p>You cannot convince me that kids would not go WILD over the idea that the stuff they build, that they actually lay their hands on or program or design or define details, whatever . . . actually going to the moon.</p><p>The IDEA of BEING THERE vicariously is the greatest resource on the moon and that fact will be in place for a long long time. It's just a matter of people realizing it. (IMNSHO) </p><p>I do not believe the sense of wonder at the remoteness and alien character of Selene has been lost just because we visted her a few times. It bugs me that space keeners think that way, cuz I don't think the public shares that cynicism. </p><p>You know that I have the same lofty goals for NEOs and Mars and even LEO, but to me it's just plain silly to think in terms of skipping the moon as we try to become spacefaring.</p><p>And that's the goal we share, right? To see America lead the world towards a SpaceFaring future? </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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danhezee

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<p><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">I think we can get big oil to support the education. &nbsp;However, I dont think we can convince them of the one time tax. &nbsp;Do you have any other ways of raising the capitol?</span></p><p><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">&nbsp;I personally think Big Pharmaciuticals&nbsp;might be willing fund private space? I have heard about zero-g crystals for the leo side of space. &nbsp;I wonder if their are any drugs that can be made in a vacuum and in 1/6th gravity??</span></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Well scott, we are as usual nearly on the same page, but maybe not quite. FWIW I predicted eventual ISS privatization a long time ago, so you know I'm on board with that.I don't begrudge anyone their opinion that there are loftier goals then lunar EXPLORATION (other than to hope they would think in a broader context). However, I ask in return that those folks would agree that in terms of Lunar EXPLOITATION there are several very important questions we need answers to. These questions matter to the entire effort to become space-faring, not just to lunatics. :)How can we make our space infrastructure plans if we don't know what the availability of water is at the Lunar poles? Do we need to just plan on Earth-sourcing all of it? Even if we go to the NEOs for look for water (my prediction is that's where the answer lies), that knowledge is less actionable if you don't know about the resource at the bottom of the lunar gravity well. We need that resource survey.How can we suppose we will Settle Mars if we haven't obtained biological data points for life in reduced - but well above micro - gravity? I love spin-g but there's no real substitute for an actual planetary gravity field. We need those studies on lunar mammals. Can we harness the solar energy to provide full time agricultural capability? We need to know what we can grow. How can we move forward in any kind of coordinated or even sensible way if we do not know what our nearest neighbor has to offer?If you push an envelope too much without providing internal structure, the envelope's bubble bursts. We need to do our homework on the Moon and get a handle on the economic viability of doing business there. So yes, NASA needs to go to the poles and see if they can develop the water resource.&nbsp;And no, they shouldn't put everything else on hold while they do that.My proposal for the Lunar Industrial Park would follow the approach described in the OP stories: NASA would help figure out the technical framework, but this would be a private effort. I get the feeling that folks do not understand the sea change shift in thinking that these new efforts represent. Read it again folks, this is PRIVATE money and the instant profits everyone here supposes must be forthcoming for this to happen? They are unknown and uncertain. Not all private money follows the wall street quarterly report ethos.The industrial park should specifically be NOT at the poles. Proving we can live at the poles - go for it NASA! - does not prove we can live elsewhere on the surface. But a NASA-led water resource operation supplying Tranquility Dome's Private Industrial Park is a giant leap towards being Space Faring. I do not want to get pinned down at the poles, let's contemplate roads and pipelines and hoppers from the start.A new agency would get the chunk of cash from a one-time tax on Big Oil, say $3 Billion. This money would be used to pay for launch and delivery to the lunar surface. FOB Sea of Tranquility. If you qualify, you fly. First come, first served til the money runs out, and we'll have made an honest effort at instigating the next big economic boom. Here's the part that makes this whole idea politically possible: If you ask most any Democrat about space flight, they will cite its value as providing inspiration to the youth of America: steering them to Science and Technology studies and careers. It's the party line. So this becomes simple: It's EDUCATION stupid. Provide free transportation for student-built hardware (and subsidized transportation for private industry) and get this space age in gear. Get another chunk of money from Big Oil to fund the education side of the program. Let Big Oil do something Big for America, they just might jump at the opportunity. They need Scientists and Engineers for their futures. So: another $5 Billion to endow a fund into perpetuity to maximize assistance for actual teachers in actual classrooms from K-16 with instructional materials and even cold hard cash, whatever makes sense, in support of Math and Science programs, all based on actual current activity at the poles and at the Industrial Park. Oh, and the Amusement Park next door. :)You cannot convince me that kids would not go WILD over the idea that the stuff they build, that they actually lay their hands on or program or design or define details, whatever . . . actually going to the moon.The IDEA of BEING THERE vicariously is the greatest resource on the moon and that fact will be in place for a long long time. It's just a matter of people realizing it. (IMNSHO) I do not believe the sense of wonder at the remoteness and alien character of Selene has been lost just because we visted her a few times. It bugs me that space keeners think that way, cuz I don't think the public shares that cynicism. You know that I have the same lofty goals for NEOs and Mars and even LEO, but to me it's just plain silly to think in terms of skipping the moon as we try to become spacefaring.And that's the goal we share, right? To see America lead the world towards a SpaceFaring future? <br /> Posted by Spacester</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Once again I'm not saying there is no reason not to explore the moon, just that I don't see it as a priority when there is so much else that can be done or should be done. Sure it would be nice to know what resources are available on the moon, especially water but the cost of exploiting it and the time spent doing it could be put to better use. The same holds for asteroid and even Mars missions National or International missons should be purely discovery, exploration and research, that they could turn up commercially usable resources would be nice, but that shouldn't be the goal.</p><p>I also think it makes much more sense to take what we need rather then expecting to live off the land, we can place a lot of water in LEO for the mass of equipment needed to recover it and handle in on the moon, as well as having to land on the moon, build launch facilities and escape even the minimal moon gravity. The energy needed to go from LEO to Mars or an asteroid is not much more then to go from LEO to the moon. It makes no sense to stage hundreds of moon missions to establish the facilities to stage a single Mars mission when you could assembles a vehicle in LEO with a fraction of the launches.</p><p>As for other concerns the only way we can research growing food in Space is to do it, the ISS has shown us we can spend time in micro-gravity and a number of people have walked on the moon. Simulated gravity is also pretty simple, the rides at carnivals do it all the time. We have vehicles on Mars that were supposed to last for a couple of months and they're still going a couple of years later the only thing standing in the way is resolving to do it. The only way to answer your concerns is to do it and find out what happens.</p><p>The best analogy I can make is airmail, the military proved it could be done and industry put it to use, now we have Fed Ex and UPS and others. If it had been left to the military we would still be flying biplanes. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Swampcat

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<p>Scottb50, thanks for preserving at least one of Spacester's posts. I didn't start this thread to stir up any controversy, but I have a hard time understanding why TPTB decided to delete his posts. I checked the banned list and Spacester has not been banned. An explanation from one of the moderators or admins would seem to be called for here. Could one of you please help me understand what particular words resulted in Spacester's opinions being censored?</p><p>I don't always agree with Spacester's approach (or his politics), but IMO he is correct in his observation of negative attitudes toward private space efforts by some influential and prolific posters here. I don't believe these posters are totally against private space efforts, but I think they would be happy with severe limitations on what private enterprise is allowed to do off Earth. That is their opinion and I respect that. Unfortunately, I have seen efforts to restrict private launch threads to SB&T and now deletion of&nbsp;a poster's opinions. What is one to think about that?</p><p>One of the things Spacester and I agree on is the use of the Moon as a testing ground for many of the technologies that will be needed to become proficient at living and working off Earth. Sure, it's not necessary to use the Moon for this, but it's pretty darn convenient. And what's wrong with making a little profit and creating jobs along the way? Governments do well at scientific exploration, but exploitation of resources will never happen without private enterprise. The companies I posted articles about are only a couple of the many organizations making efforts, in cooperation with government, to bring about the kind of human spacefaring many of us dream about. I hope they all succeed.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="3" color="#ff9900"><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>------------------------------------------------------------------- </em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."</em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong>Thomas Jefferson</strong></font></p></font> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Scottb50, thanks for preserving at least one of Spacester's posts. I didn't start this thread to stir up any controversy, but I have a hard time understanding why TPTB decided to delete his posts. I checked the banned list and Spacester has not been banned. An explanation from one of the moderators or admins would seem to be called for here. Could one of you please help me understand what particular words resulted in Spacester's opinions being censored?I don't always agree with Spacester's approach (or his politics), but IMO he is correct in his observation of negative attitudes toward private space efforts by some influential and prolific posters here. I don't believe these posters are totally against private space efforts, but I think they would be happy with severe limitations on what private enterprise is allowed to do off Earth. That is their opinion and I respect that. Unfortunately, I have seen efforts to restrict private launch threads to SB&T and now deletion of&nbsp;a poster's opinions. What is one to think about that?One of the things Spacester and I agree on is the use of the Moon as a testing ground for many of the technologies that will be needed to become proficient at living and working off Earth. Sure, it's not necessary to use the Moon for this, but it's pretty darn convenient. And what's wrong with making a little profit and creating jobs along the way? Governments do well at scientific exploration, but exploitation of resources will never happen without private enterprise. The companies I posted articles about are only a couple of the many organizations making efforts, in cooperation with government, to bring about the kind of human spacefaring many of us dream about. I hope they all succeed. <br /> Posted by Swampcat</DIV></p><p>whoa whoa whoa </p><p>hold on there pardner :)</p><p>I don't see anything missing.</p><p>If I've been censored they did it without me knowing about it. </p><p>Seriously, I just reviewed the thread and it's all there. I got my thing off my chest and they let it stand.</p><p>We're all cool here, right? Sorry I didn't come check this thread sooner . . . </p><p>Sorry I injected the controversy. Not an awful lot sorry to tell the truth, but the point's been made and they're letting it stand. Let's do the Obama thing and move forward. <grin> </p><p>***</p><p>So what about my whole thesis that</p><p>BEING THERE</p><p>is the primary resource? </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I think we can get big oil to support the education. &nbsp;However, I dont think we can convince them of the one time tax. &nbsp;Do you have any other ways of raising the capitol?&nbsp;I personally think Big Pharmaciuticals&nbsp;might be willing fund private space? I have heard about zero-g crystals for the leo side of space. &nbsp;I wonder if their are any drugs that can be made in a vacuum and in 1/6th gravity?? <br /> Posted by danhezee</DIV></p><p>Oh for sure, Big Pharm has megabucks, and is used to very long term investment. Good call.</p><p>But between Bigelow and ISS, Big Pharm's needs will soon be met in LEO. It's gonna be exciting, but I don't see Big Pharm in 1/6 gee. </p><p>Many have discounted the potential of protein crystal growth, but my read on the technology is that the limiting factor is just what Big Pharm themselves have said: what they need is reliable access to LEO.</p><p>It's often overlooked IMO that the real key to commerce in LEO is regular, reliable and quick responding access with uncompromised safety and schedule. No one has ever provided that. </p><p>Enter SpaceX and its DragonLab to get you to and from Bigelow stations and hey presto Big Pharm money kicks in . . . starts to maybe lower launch costs . . . a little gummint stimulus (the Lunar Industrial Park), great PR for Big Oil . . . robot builders emerge from the woodwork&nbsp; and onto the lunar surface . . . kids everywhere are driving actual lunar robots . . . </p><p>Barack Obama has a tremendous opportunity in front of him. A guy like him could pull something like this off. His transition team will have space flight and space development on the list, let's see what they come up with.</p><p>Which, actually, is why I've returned . . .&nbsp; </p><p>Barack, buddy, are your people reading this thread? Yes We Can build a foothold on our path to becoming a Space Faring Society. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Firm Reveals Ambitious Moon Mission Plan A private group planning to launch a moon rover to the famed Apollo 11 landing site in a bid to win a $20 million prize announced an ambitious plan Thursday to send five more spacecraft to explore the lunar poles. The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based firm Astrobotic Technology, Inc., led by Carnegie Mellon University roboticist William "Red" Whittaker, announced plans to launch its first rover to NASA's Tranquility Base in May 2010 to win the Google Lunar X Prize competition, the company announced Thursday. Under the plan, the inaugural flight would be followed by three more privately-funded polar rovers, as well as a lander and a moon dozer, to explore the moon for potential lunar base sites or scan for water ice, according to a white paper released today. Each of the missions is targeted at various high-interest spots on the moon, where Astrobotic probes would observe the lunar surface and the effects of the lunar environment on spacecraft, as well as test technologies for future exploration. <br />Posted by Swampcat</DIV></p><p>I think that a private project for such an exploration is a great thing.&nbsp; But I don't see how they intend to recoup their costs.&nbsp; Do you know the source of funding for this undertaking or the justification on a business basis ?&nbsp; $20 million will not cover even the launch costs.&nbsp; Is there someone with deep pockets behind this ?<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I think that a private project for such an exploration is a great thing.&nbsp; But I don't see how they intend to recoup their costs.&nbsp; Do you know the source of funding for this undertaking or the justification on a business basis ?&nbsp; $20 million will not cover even the launch costs.&nbsp; Is there someone with deep pockets behind this ? <br /> Posted by DrRocket</DIV></p><p>(Attempted cross-post from the comments under the story. Whattaya call that part of sdc again?) </p><p>***</p><p>CMU is very very good at this stuff.<br /><br />That business plan looks solid to me.<br /><br />The future revenue stream is not just from the licensing fees for the data they will be providing, its from future missions performed with the capability they establish.<br /><br />That what the GLXP is all about: putting a carrot on a stick, and anybody who can reach the carrot will be in position to do all kinds of things that couldn't be done before. Then, you simply let the future take care of itself.<br /><br />It's all about capability.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Scottb50, thanks for preserving at least one of Spacester's posts. I didn't start this thread to stir up any controversy, but I have a hard time understanding why TPTB decided to delete his posts. I checked the banned list and Spacester has not been banned. An explanation from one of the moderators or admins would seem to be called for here. Could one of you please help me understand what particular words resulted in Spacester's opinions being censored?I don't always agree with Spacester's approach (or his politics), but IMO he is correct in his observation of negative attitudes toward private space efforts by some influential and prolific posters here. I don't believe these posters are totally against private space efforts, but I think they would be happy with severe limitations on what private enterprise is allowed to do off Earth. That is their opinion and I respect that. Unfortunately, I have seen efforts to restrict private launch threads to SB&T and now deletion of&nbsp;a poster's opinions. What is one to think about that?One of the things Spacester and I agree on is the use of the Moon as a testing ground for many of the technologies that will be needed to become proficient at living and working off Earth. Sure, it's not necessary to use the Moon for this, but it's pretty darn convenient. And what's wrong with making a little profit and creating jobs along the way? Governments do well at scientific exploration, but exploitation of resources will never happen without private enterprise. The companies I posted articles about are only a couple of the many organizations making efforts, in cooperation with government, to bring about the kind of human spacefaring many of us dream about. I hope they all succeed. <br /> Posted by Swampcat</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>While spacester can get somehat wound up at times, I have never had a problem with, or understanding any of his posts. Not that I agree completely with him, this thread being a prime example, I think it makes sense to discuss both sides of any situation simply to create an environment that might lead to advancements. A good example would be cars, there are a number of approaches that pretty much reach the same solution to providing transportation, that's why there is Chevrolet and Ford and Chrysler meeting the requirements in their own view of what the market needs. The same holds true for Space transportation and infrastructure, NASA does not have to be the final word and perhaps more then one solution would accomplish the needs of the market or better fit certain applications.</p><p>As for his politics I feel pretty comfortable with spacesters take, I think the posters that oppose his views often try to cause moderator concerns because they know he sometimes shoots first and resons the response second. I also think some of the suspects know this very well.&nbsp; </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>One of the things Spacester and I agree on is the use of the Moon as a testing ground for many of the technologies that will be needed to become proficient at living and working off Earth. Sure, it's not necessary to use the Moon for this, but it's pretty darn convenient. And what's wrong with making a little profit and creating jobs along the way? Governments do well at scientific exploration, but exploitation of resources will never happen without private enterprise....</p><p>Since thhis was the basic idea of the thread to begin with I still stick to my thinking that; 1. The Rovers and ealier Mars explorers have already proven it can be done and running them around on the moon as a further test of their capabilities would not prove there capabilities. It might do a lot of what should be done an lot cheaper then sending people though.</p><p>That the moon is pretty darn convenient is another thing. As I pointed out the biggest expense is getting to LEO, the moon, asteroids and even Mars require nearly the same amount of energy so it would be just as easy to send a vehicle to Mars, test the surface facilities and rovers remotely and then send a manned mission to takeover operation. The only real advantage I can see with testing on the moon is it provides a much harsher environment then Mars and a more similar environment to an asteroid. Either way it would make sense to build additional rovers and deploy them on the moon before we send another manned mission.</p><p>Not that I have no interest in the moon, it's just I don't see it as an essential part of where we spend the money if it is the limiting factor it obviously is. There are no show-stoppers to a manned Mars project and our robotic missions cry for a manned mission to answer the questions as they are asked instead of needing another mission to raise even more questions.&nbsp; </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Swampcat

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Since thhis was the basic idea of the thread to begin with I still stick to my thinking that; 1. The Rovers and ealier Mars explorers have already proven it can be done and running them around on the moon as a further test of their capabilities would not prove there capabilities.</DIV></p><p>Well, you're referring to NASA equipment and NASA got their feet wet, so to speak, on the Moon before they tackled Mars. I'm not aware of any group, country, whatever, that jumped right into doing their thing on Mars first.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>It might do a lot of what should be done an lot cheaper then sending people though.That the moon is pretty darn convenient is another thing. As I pointed out the biggest expense is getting to LEO, the moon, asteroids and even Mars require nearly the same amount of energy so it would be just as easy to send a vehicle to Mars, test the surface facilities and rovers remotely and then send a manned mission to takeover operation. The only real advantage I can see with testing on the moon is it provides a much harsher environment then Mars and a more similar environment to an asteroid. Either way it would make sense to build additional rovers and deploy them on the moon before we send another manned mission.Not that I have no interest in the moon, it's just I don't see it as an essential part of where we spend the money if it is the limiting factor it obviously is. There are no show-stoppers to a manned Mars project and our robotic missions cry for a manned mission to answer the questions as they are asked instead of needing another mission to raise even more questions. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p> Posted by scottb50</DIV></p><p>It's not just the energy cost of getting to the Moon vs. Mars. Travel time to these bodies would impact operations costs. Then there's the communications delays with Mars.</p><p>I'm certainly not trying to suggest that we don't go to Mars. We should go everywhere. (I wish&nbsp;<img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-tongue-out.gif" border="0" alt="Tongue out" title="Tongue out" />.&nbsp;) My point is simply that we're talking about private groups trying to get into this business. Mars may have to wait.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="3" color="#ff9900"><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>------------------------------------------------------------------- </em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."</em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong>Thomas Jefferson</strong></font></p></font> </div>
 
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Swampcat

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I think that a private project for such an exploration is a great thing.&nbsp; But I don't see how they intend to recoup their costs.&nbsp; Do you know the source of funding for this undertaking or the justification on a business basis ?&nbsp; $20 million will not cover even the launch costs.&nbsp; Is there someone with deep pockets behind this ? <br /> Posted by DrRocket</DIV></p><p>Not certain, but keep in mind that one of the founders of Astrobotics is none other than David Gump, President of Transformational Space Corporation, aka t/Space. Astrobotics has already acquired a NASA contract worth about $200k "<span style="font-family:Arial;font-size:12px;line-height:20px" class="Apple-style-span">to develop concepts for moving lunar soil in preparation for the agency&rsquo;s coming Moon outpost." It appears that they're primary income potential is in selling data from their rovers and landers. The timeline they're giving would have them doing a lot of surface surveying around NASA's proposed lunar base site at Shackleton Crater before NASA gets their act together.</span></p><p>Other clues to their business plans can be seen <strong><font color="#990099"">here</font></strong>.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="3" color="#ff9900"><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>------------------------------------------------------------------- </em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong><em>"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."</em></strong></font></p><p><font size="1" color="#993300"><strong>Thomas Jefferson</strong></font></p></font> </div>
 
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