NASA Heads Back To The Moon

KeyserXSoze

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Nasa plans return to Moon by 2020 :The mission is similar in concept to Apollo

The US space agency Nasa has announced plans to return to the Moon by 2020.

Nasa administrator Dr Michael Griffin said four astronauts would be sent in a new space vehicle, in a project that would cost $104bn (£58bn).

"We will return to the Moon no later than 2020 and extend human presence across the Solar System and beyond," Dr Griffin said on Monday.

Nasa sent several manned missions to the Moon between 1968 and 1972. A total of 12 men walked on the lunar surface.

Different modules could be launched separately into space then joined together for the journey to lunar orbit.
The new missions would use rocket technology already employed on the space shuttle to cut the costs of development.

'Apollo on steroids'

Dr Griffin said the new rocket would be "very Apollo-like, with updated technology. Think of it as Apollo on steroids."

The agency chief was keen to head off criticism that the proposals amounted to a re-tread of those missions: "Much of it looks the same, but that's because the physics of atmospheric entry haven't changed recently," he said.

"We really proved once again how much of it all the Apollo guys got right."

Nasa is charged with implementing the vision for space exploration, laid out in January 2004 by President George W Bush.
This vision aims to return humans to the Moon, and then to use it as a staging point for a manned mission to Mars.

"We believe this architecture... achieves those goals in the most cost-effective, efficient manner that we could do it," said Dr Griffin in a news briefing at Nasa headquarters in Washington DC.

The space shuttle is to be retired by 2010 in order to pay for its replacement, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) - to be ready by 2012. This vehicle would be shaped like an Apollo command and service modules, but three times larger, and able to take four astronauts to the Moon at a time.

Fly me to the Moon

Nasa would begin the first lunar expedition by launching a lunar landing capsule and a propulsion stage atop a new heavy-lift rocket.

This will consist of a lengthened shuttle external tank and a pair of solid rocket boosters capable of putting up to 125 metric tonnes in orbit - about one and a half times the weight of a shuttle orbiter.

The cargo it carries could wait for up to 30 days in orbit for the astronauts to launch aboard their CEV.
Carrying a crew of four, the CEV would blast off atop a single solid-rocket booster consisting of four segments - exactly like those flown with the shuttle.

Once in orbit, the manned orbiter would dock with the lunar lander and the propulsion stage and begin the journey to the Moon.

After a three-day journey, the four astronauts would climb into the lander craft, leaving the CEV to wait for them in lunar orbit.

After landing and exploring the surface for seven days, the crew would then blast off in a portion of the lander, dock with the capsule and return to Earth, parachuting through the atmosphere to dry land.

Nasa says it will be able to recover the entry capsule, replace the heat shield and re-launch the craft up to 10 times.

Reconstruction costs

Dr Griffin dismissed suggestions that reconstruction of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina could derail the programme.

"We must deal with our short-term problems while not sacrificing our long-term investments in our future," the Nasa chief said.
"When we have a hurricane, we don't cancel the Air Force. We don't cancel the Navy. And we're not going to cancel Nasa."

But Representative Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat on the US House Science Committee, said in a statement: "This plan is coming out at a time when the nation is facing significant budgetary challenges.

"Getting agreement to move forward on it is going to be heavy lifting in the current environment, and it's clear that strong presidential leadership will be needed."

Nasa also envisions the possibility of building a semi-permanent lunar base, where astronauts would make use of the Moon's natural resources for water and fuel.

(1) A heavy-lift rocket blasts off from Earth carrying a lunar lander and a "departure stage"
(2) Several days later, astronauts launch on a separate rocket system with their Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV)
(3) The CEV docks with the lander and departure stage in Earth orbit and then heads to Moon
(4) Having done its job of boosting the CEV and lunar lander on their way, the departure stage is jettisoned
(5) At the Moon, the astronauts leave their CEV and enter the lander for the trip to the lunar surface
(6) After exploring the lunar landscape for seven days, the crew blasts off in a portion of the lander
(7) In Moon orbit, they re-join the waiting CEV and begin the journey back to Earth
8 On the way, the service component of the CEV is jettisoned. This leaves just the crew capsule to enter the atmosphere
(9) A heatshield protects the capsule; parachutes bring it down on dry land, probably in California
How long will it take me to qualify as an astronaut? 8)
 

Rubyait

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#6
It would be good to see another race to the moon. Is there no other nation that could finance such a trip?
 

Yithian

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#7
I'd love to see the Chinese pip NASA to the post. Take down Old Glory and fly the red flag...
 

tastyintestines

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#9
I thought they canceled that, or at least put it off for another 15 to 20 years?? I wonder where they got the technology......
 

krobone

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#10
theyithian said:
I'd love to see the Chinese pip NASA to the post. Take down Old Glory and fly the red flag...
i'd rather see some other, less obvious country do it - like Belgium, or Argentina. Somebody comes up with a revolutionary new design for space travel and suddenly everyone's up there! :D
 
A

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#11
2020 eh? so about 50 years after the first moon shots - hello! is it just me, or does something smell rotten in the states?
 

KeyserXSoze

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#12
Pietro_Mercurios said:
I hope that removing the Helium 3 doesn't mess with the Moon's magical powers over the earth and send giant waves around the globe, shortly before we spin off our orbit into the darkness of space and vanish up the nasty end of a black hole* :shock: (just a random paranoid thought for the day)

(*Theory may not be based on scientific fact)
 
A

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#13
It is not the helium 3 being removed but the cheese that bothers me. I mean...if you start importing moon cheese then the volume will decrease thus all the magical influences on our planet will be decline. However, astrophysics and observations teach us that hungry space monsters eat the moon cheese on a monthly basis (hence the ludicrous notion of half and quarter moons - pah) but that space/moon cheese is naturally regenerative and so the moon grows back - at least as long as the balance of space monsters is kept in check by alien big game hunters. Though clearly this delicate eco-balance will be destroyed by cheese mining. Also, to tie up a few other fortean threads...notice that the moon is silvery; which may mean it is a ghost (c.f. the many silvery/white apparitions that have been reported over the years), or at the very least, a giant orb. Thus is the moon the abode of ghosts? Does Degsy draw his powers from spectrally teleported moon cheese? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Rubyait

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#14
Lol GD!

Critics say NASA's Moon plan is too costly


Costs – and NASA's reputation for going over budget on large programmes – are major hurdles the agency will have to overcome to send people back to the Moon, say outside experts.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin unveiled the agency's scheme to return humans to the Moon on Monday. It involves building on existing space shuttle technology and proven methods of landing people on the Moon, drawn from the Apollo programme.

A reusable capsule will be fitted atop a longer shuttle rocket booster to send a four-person crew into space. Separately, a heavy-lift launcher will deliver other elements of the Moon-bound ship into orbit. All of this is supposed to be developed and tested before the project's first lunar landing in 2018.

Funding shortfalls
Griffin says the mission could cost at least $104 billion. He says the agency would adopt a pay-as-you-go approach and would not need to drastically increase its budget, now at about $16 billion per year.

He insists that space science and aeronautics will not suffer with a new emphasis on a crewed Moon mission. "This is about a budget which keeps NASA in constant dollars approximately where it is today," he says. "It's not about taking money from the science program or the aeronautics program."

But critics are unconvinced. Currently, NASA's share of the federal budget is about 0.7%. During the Apollo era, NASA took up as much as 4% of the US budget.

NASA has been widely criticised for its accounting practices – especially in its human spaceflight programme. "Given the funding shortfalls in the space shuttle programme, there is simply no credible way to accelerate the development of a Crew Exploration Vehicle unless the NASA budget increases more than has been anticipated," says Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the US House Science Committee.

"Whether such an increase is a good idea in the context of overall federal spending at this time is something neither Congress nor the Administration has yet determined," he adds.

It’s rocket science
"I don't think this plan will succeed," says Alex Roland, a history professor at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, US. "It's plausible in a certain way because they have taken things from Apollo and the shuttle that were reasonably successful and good. Who knows whether or not you can quickly and cheaply cobble those together into a workable system?"

But others defend the plan, arguing the agency needs to move beyond its current Earth-orbiting shuttle and space station programmes. "It's obvious there's a rocket scientist running NASA again," says Elliot Pulham, president and chief executive officer of the Space Foundation, a non-profit space advocacy group. "I wish I was still young enough to go."

But even the spirit of exploration is not enough to convince everyone to spend billions on the project. As Roland put it: "I think this whole enterprise of trying to put people on the Moon and then put people on Mars begs the question: what for?"

http://www.newscientistspace.com/articl ... ostly.html
 

Rubyait

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#15
Old-school vessel for 2018 moon trip will look a lot like 'Apollo on steroids'


NASA goes for the retro look in rocket design

The U.S. space program is going back to the future for its proposed manned mission to the moon in 2018.

Instead of the familiar airplane-style shuttle the world has grown used to over the past 25 years, the spacecraft that NASA unveiled yesterday looks more like the Saturn V rockets that blasted an earlier generation of astronauts into orbit as part of the Apollo program.

"Think of it as Apollo on steroids," NASA administrator Michael Griffin said in a statement broadcast from the space agency's headquarters in Washington.

Dr. Griffin said that the moon mission would cost a total of $105-billion (U.S.) spread over the next 13 years.

Although Canada doesn't have a specific role in the mission, members of the Canadian space industry are hopeful their expertise in robotics and other fields will allow the country to play a part.

The U.S. space agency had hoped to have a replacement for the shuttle ready to fly by the time the shuttle program is scheduled to shut down in 2010. But Dr. Griffin said that would not be possible. Test flights for the crew exploration vehicle are expected to start some time in 2012.

Like the Apollo moon rockets, the proposed CEV is a capsule-like craft attached to the top of a giant rocket. The CEV will be three times larger than the Apollo capsules and will be able to carry as many as four astronauts to the moon.

NASA said the vehicle will be reusable, and will likely return to Earth by parachute in the same way the Apollo capsules did, rather than landing like an airplane as the shuttles do.

Dr. Griffin said the CEV would be 10 times safer than the shuttle, because the astronauts would have the ability to escape from a failed launch and because the capsule sits on top of the rocket rather than being strapped to the sides of two rockets, as the shuttle is.

Canada has supplied NASA with Canadarm remote manipulators for more than 75 shuttle flights as well as the International Space Station, but what role, if any, Canada will play in a moon or Mars mission remains unclear.

"Nothing is definite right now," said Hugues Gilbert, an official with the Canadian Space Agency. "But clearly there is some expertise that Canada has right now, particularly in robotics, that could play a role in future missions. We're in a good position to participate."

NASA scientist Jim Garvin, who was in Toronto speaking at the seventh annual International Lunar Conference, said the agency will likely need Canada's help in setting up a "beachhead in deep space" that could act as a staging ground for missions to Mars.

"Canada certainly has a lot to bring to the table," Dr. Garvin told The Canadian Press yesterday.

Mr. Gilbert noted, however that the CSA doesn't have the kind of government funding that would allow it to take on much of a role.

"Right now we have no plans that are firm, and certainly no funds that are available to us to ensure that we are part of such a mission," he said.

Paul Cooper, general manager of MDA Space Missions -- a unit of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., which makes the Canadarm -- said he hopes Canada will have a role in missions to the moon and Mars.

He said MDA's expertise in robotics and other technologies could help set up a permanent outpost.

"Given our expertise in space robotics, we certainly hope that Canada can be a part" of such missions, Dr. Cooper said. MDA has also been doing research into drilling and processing of soil and rock, Dr. Cooper said, and such technology could allow NASA to extract water from beneath the moon's crust and use it to help astronauts live there indefinitely.

A NASA spokesman in Washington said the agency hasn't "identified any international roles as yet" for the moon mission, but "we're hopeful that some of our international partners in the space station will play a role in the future."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... TPScience/
 

Rubyait

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#16
Moon plan 'comes up short'


By failing to incorporate the long-term goals of establishing a permanent base on the Moon and missions to Mars in its new manned space programme, the US space agency is missing a prime opportunity, say critics.

"To be blunt, we have big problems with this plan," Henry Vanderbilt, head of the Space Access Society advocacy group, wrote in an e-mail newsletter.

"It's the same basic approach as Apollo: disposable (mostly) spacecraft, on big Nasa-proprietary boosters, flown a few times a year, by a standing army of Nasa and contractor employees. This is Apollo 2.0."

The plan, outlined by Nasa administrator Michael Griffin on Monday, is based on a new capsule that initially would be used to ferry crews and cargo to the space station.

By 2018, however, the spacecraft, with four astronauts aboard, would be routed to the Moon atop a newly developed rocket for the first in a series of lunar expeditions.

The plan leaves open the possibility for developing a permanently occupied base on the Moon, but does not require Nasa to do so.

"Like Apollo, Nasa's new plan has built into it the seeds of its shutdown by some future Congress once the warm glow of the first few daring missions has once again faded," Vanderbilt said.


Click here to see how the journey to the Moon will unfold
'Right cast'

Nasa flew a series of missions to the Moon more than 30 years ago as part of its Apollo programme. The project was cancelled in 1972 after just six lunar landings.

Heeding the advice of experts investigating the 2003 Columbia accident, President Bush in January 2004 called for the retirement of the shuttle fleet by 2010, after which time the panel believed the ships would need major re-certifications to continue flying.

Bush proposed redirecting the US human spaceflight programme back to exploration, with the Moon as the first destination.

Mars settlement activist and author Robert Zubrin applauded Griffin for coming up with the "the first rational plan in any sense that I've seen from Nasa in decades."

However, he argued, by continuing to spend money on the shuttle over the next five years - even though key missions had not been identified - the agency was wasting billions of dollars that could be used to develop a heavy-lift booster.

The new vehicles were not only key to building lunar settlements and staging manned missions to Mars, Zubrin said, they also could be used to finish building the space station more efficiently and for less money.

"What they're really developing is equipment to do a rational space station and a Moon programme later," said Zubrin in an interview with the BBC News website.

"But if someone comes in (as US president) in 2009 and has no interest, he can just say, 'Thank you for rationalising the space station,' and leave it at that.

"I really don't see that there is a better time to get a Moon programme going than now when there is a president interested in space and an engineer in charge of Nasa. The notion that you would be able to launch this programme with a different cast seems incredible," he added.

'Back on track'

Zubrin argues that the rationale for going to the Moon - to learn how to live off Earth - rings hollow, especially when new technologies and equipment can be tested for a fraction of the cost at a simulated base in the Arctic.

For those who grew up during the Apollo programme, the resumption of Moon flights seems a far cry from where human space exploration could be.

"I can't believe that we're not already living and working on Mars," Elliot Pulham, president of the Space Foundation industry trade organisation, said.

"It's a shame we wasted the past 20 or 30 years, but we do need to get back on track and get on with this sooner or later. I wish we could go faster, but that is not the political and economic reality today."

Unlike Apollo, Pulham argued, the point of the new Moon programme was not to plant a flag and leave. "We're going to the Moon to learn how to do things," he said.

Despite any shortcomings with his exploration blueprint, Griffin expects clear sailing as the plan moves from the White House into Congress for review and funding.

The fatal 2003 Columbia accident and the difficulties returning the shuttle fleet to flight left few if any people calling for the shuttle to remain operational for a decade or longer, as once envisioned.

That leaves the newly proposed Crew Exploration Vehicle as the only option.

"Unless the US wants to get out of the manned spaceflight business completely, this is the vehicle that we need to be building," Griffin said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4263106.stm
 

tastyintestines

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#17
GadaffiDuck said:
2020 eh? so about 50 years after the first moon shots - hello! is it just me, or does something smell rotten in the states?
Umm, I was talking about china.......
 

Kondoru

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#18
Ill have to sign on the Chinese space effort as a Food Deliverer.

You can imagine me ferrying the grub to the Nasa base in a moon buggy, only to be greeted with "we ordered pizza tonight"
 

Rubyait

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#19
The dawn of a new space race?

China's launch of its second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou VI, has confirmed the country's place among the space elite.
But as China begins planning a lunar mission in 2007, and with the US and India declaring an interest in another Moon landing - and a manned flight to Mars - are we seeing the dawn of a new space race?



"Once China had announced its first unmanned lunar spacecraft, India came along and said that they were also interested in unmanned lunar exploration," Philip Clark, of the British-based Molniya Space Consultancy, told BBC World Service's Analysis programme.

"They've now signed an agreement with the European Space Agency for joint experiments with the Indian spacecraft.

"And the Japanese have already flown their own unmanned lunar missions," he said.

Forced to go alone

While India's space programme is relatively small, it has made considerable strides in recent years, putting a number of satellites into orbit.

Dr Rodham Narasimhan, the director of India's Space Commission, said the aim of the programme had always been to develop practical civilian applications from the spacecraft.

He described these aims as "developmental - communications, remote sensing, agricultural crop production."

But, perhaps because of this, India has also been able - unlike the Chinese - to buy in expertise of other space agencies where necessary.

"We could have India and Japan pooling their resources, because the Japanese have got far more capable launch vehicles than the Indians have," Mr Clark explained.

"But the Chinese are having to basically do everything on their own," he said.

Another reason for this is the view of the Americans towards China.

Although they agreed to join forces with the Russians in the 1990s in developing the International Space Station, the Americans, Mr Clark said, still see China as a rival, not an ally.

"It's not space as such that's the problem... it's what's the Americans see as technology transfer," he said.

"They don't want the Chinese to have access to American technology, because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that any technology that the Chinese get access to will immediately be applied to the Chinese weapons programme."

US mistrust has cost China's space programme much, space analyst Brian Harvey told Analysis.

Ultimately, their attitude has effectively grounded the Chinese commercial launcher programme.

"The Americans specified that no American-built component on any satellite anywhere in the world may fly on a Chinese rocket," Mr Harvey explained.

"This means that although the international space programme is supposed to be international, and all partners are supposed to make decisions together, in fact the reality is that Americans regard it as their own territory and they won't let the Chinese anywhere near it.

"That's a big political argument that is going on," he said.

Partnerships

US President George W Bush has already stated that America's ultimate goal is to return to the Moon by 2020, as a launch pad for missions to Mars and beyond.

But this far-reaching ambition has been in marked contrast to the problems the US space programme has had following the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003.

Since the end of the Cold War, many analysts have seen an end to solo American missions as inevitable, in favour of closer collaboration with other countries - and therefore shared costs.

Any manned mission to Mars would be likely to cost over a $1 trillion, making closer partnerships between space agencies a necessity.

And Nasa's chief scientist for the Moon and Mars, Jim Garvin, said that the first person on Mars would probably be planting a whole sheaf of national flags.

"It's really a playing field for the world community, and the world's always been involved in different ways," he added.

"I see it as a UN-type flag arena on Mars."

Chinese space analyst Wu Ji, at the Centre for Space Science in Beijing, told Analysis that he strongly supported the idea of future space exploration being more collaborative.

"I think in the future we would like to have more international collaboration - not only with Europe, but also with India, with Japan, with the United States. From the Chinese side, we are very open," he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-p ... 208176.stm
 

Rubyait

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#21
The old made new by doing it again at a later date but slightly different. ;)

It would be good to see a number of different nations attemping further landings on the Moon and later Mars. 8)
 

rynner2

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#22
Rubyait said:
It would be good to see a number of different nations attemping further landings on the Moon and later Mars. 8)
UK should 'reverse astronaut ban'

The UK should rethink its policy ban on astronauts, a report written for the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) says.
The report warns Britain risks being isolated on the international stage if it continues its longstanding refusal to fund the human exploration of space.

The RAS expert panel says the cost of joining other nations with astronaut programmes could be some £150m a year.

But the scientific, educational and economic benefits would be worth it, it argues.

"Recent developments across the world strongly suggest that, after a 30-year lull, space-faring nations are gearing up for a return to the Moon and then to Mars," said panel member, Professor Ken Pounds, of the University of Leicester.

"It is hard to imagine that the UK, one of the world's leading economies, would not be fully involved in a global scientific and technology endeavour with such strong potential to inspire.

"We therefore recommend that the government re-evaluates its longstanding opposition to British involvement in human space exploration."
Full story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4351688.stm
 

Rubyait

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#23
"It is hard to imagine that the UK, one of the world's leading economies, would not be fully involved in a global scientific and technology endeavour with such strong potential to inspire.
I've never quite understood why we haven't. We have leading expertise in many fields and im sure this could be another one of them. Our goverment just seems too tight!! :lol:
 
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#24
Why We're Going Back to the Moon

By Paul D. Spudis

Tuesday, December 27, 2005; Page A25

The recent release of the details of NASA's proposed plans for human return to the moon in response to President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration" last year has drawn much comment -- some positive, some negative and some simply perplexed.

Although the reasons for undertaking the program were clearly articulated in the president's speech, it is important to reexamine why the moon is its cornerstone and what we hope to achieve by returning there.


The moon is important for three reasons: science, inspiration and resources. All three are directly served by the new lunar return architecture. This program has the potential to make significant contributions to our national economy and welfare.

The moon is a scientific laboratory of extraordinary facility, richness and benefit. The history of our corner of the solar system for the past 4 billion years is preserved and readable in the ancient dust of the lunar surface. This record is lost on the dynamic and ever-changing surface of Earth. Other planets do not record the same events affecting Earth and the moon, including impacts, space particles and the detailed history of our sun. The recovery of this record will let us better understand the impact hazard in the Earth-moon system as well as unravel the processes and evolution of our sun, the major driver of climate and life on Earth.

The moon is a stable platform to observe the universe. Its far side is the only known place in the solar system permanently shielded from Earth's radio noise. That allows observation of the sky at radio wavelengths never before seen. Every time we open a new spectral window on the universe, we find unexpected and astounding phenomena; there is no reason to expect anything different from the opening of new windows on the universe from the surface of the moon.

The moon is close in space (only three days away) yet a separate world filled with mysteries, landscapes and treasures. By embracing the inspiring and difficult task of living and working there, we can learn how to explore a planetary surface and how the combined efforts of both humans and machines can enable new levels of productive exploration.

In 21st-century America, our existence depends on an educated, technically literate workforce, motivated and schooled in complex scientific disciplines. Tackling the challenges of creating a functioning society off-planet will require not only the best technical knowledge we can muster but also the best imaginations. One cannot develop a creative imagination, the renewable resource of a vibrant society, without confronting and surmounting unknowns and challenges on new frontiers.

Although of fairly ordinary composition, the moon contains the resources of material and energy that we need to survive and operate in space. With its resources and proximity to Earth, the moon is a natural logistics and supply base, an offshore island of useful commodities for use there, in space and ultimately back on Earth.

Water is an extremely valuable commodity in space -- in its liquid form, it supports human life, and it can be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen. These elements make the highest-energy chemical rocket propellant known. Water exists in the dark and cold regions near the poles of the moon. Scientists estimate that each pole contains more than 10 billion tons of water, enough to launch a fully fueled space shuttle once a day, every day, for over 39 years. The ability to make fuel on the moon will allow routine access to Earth-moon space, the zone in which all of our space assets reside.

The moon's slow rotation, unclouded skies and abundant local materials make it possible to build installations specifically designed to harvest solar energy there. Solar power, collected on the moon and beamed to Earth and throughout the space between the two, can provide a clean and reliable energy source not only for space-based applications but ultimately for users on Earth as well. Lunar solar power solves the apparent "showstopper" of other space-based solar power systems -- the high cost of getting the solar arrays into space. Instead of launching arrays from the deep gravity well of Earth, we would use the local soil and make hundreds of tons of solar panels on the moon.

Living on the moon will expand the sphere of human and robotic activity in space beyond low-Earth orbit. To become a multiplanet species, we must master the skills of extracting local resources, build our capability to journey and explore in hostile regions, and create new reservoirs of human culture and experience. That long journey begins on the moon -- the staging ground, supply station and classroom for our voyage into the universe.

-------------
The writer is a lunar scientist and staff member at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Last year he served as a member of President Bush's Commission on the Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration Policy.
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/a ... 00648.html

Pos. a tad upbeat and biased but still.......
 

Kondoru

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#25
Its a great article (though maybe lacking in realpolitik)

concise and elucidated.

But he goes on about an `Educated workforce`

Does he mean the literati? (of which there are many in the US)

Or the average joes? (also common.)

From what little I have read, it seems that the educational level of ordinary people in the US is low. (poor literacy rate and all that.)

Wouldnt it be better to educate the public, teach them critial thinking, say and lerning about such notions as a health service (and why many countries have one, still others aspire to having one, and many more would like one.)
 

Rubyait

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#26
Nasa team sees explosion on Moon

Nasa scientists have witnessed a rare explosion on the Moon, caused by a "meteoroid" slamming into it.
The blast was equal in energy to about 70kg of TNT and was seen near the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains).

The object that hit the Moon was probably part of a shower of "taurids" which peppered Earth in late October and early November.

Understanding lunar impacts could help protect astronauts when Nasa sends humans back to the Moon.

Meteoroids are small rocky or metallic objects in orbit around the Sun, or another star. One of the astronomers who observed the impact estimates that it gouged a crater 3m wide and 0.4m deep.

Rob Suggs of Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, US, was testing a new 10-in telescope and video camera they assembled to monitor the moon for space strikes.

On 7 November, his first night using the telescope, he observed one.

Renewed interest

"People just do not look at the moon anymore," said Dr Suggs, of Marshall's engineering directorate.

"We tend to think of it as a known quantity. But there is knowledge still to be gained here."

Dr Suggs used commercial software to study the video he took, and spotted a very bright flash. The burst of light diminished gradually over the course of five video frames, each 1/30th of a second in duration.

He and Nasa astronomer Bill Cooke consulted star charts and lunar imaging software, and determined the meteoroid was probably a taurid, part of an annual meteor shower active at the time of the strike.

Like Earth, the Moon was peppered by Taurids in late October and early November.

But unlike our planet, the Moon has no atmosphere to intercept and vaporise them, so they explode on the surface.

Since the Leonids of 2001, astronomers have not spent much time hunting for lunar impacts.

However, as Nasa plans to return to the Moon by 2020, the agency says it needs to understand what happens after lunar impacts in order to protect astronauts.

Dr Suggs said planetary scientists wanted to know how often big meteoroids hit the Moon and whether they only happened during showers like the taurids or were a more common occurrence.

Bill Cooke said that while the odds of a direct hit with a big meteoroid were almost nil for an individual astronaut, they might be shorter for an entire lunar outpost.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4570730.stm
 

Kazza34

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#28
What do you mean returning to the moon, they never got there in the first place!!
 

rynner2

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#29
Space quidditch gets Nasa seal of approval
Low-gravity games may help the Moon's first residents keep fit

The Moon may play host to the first real-life game of quidditch

Jonathan Richards
Even in their most fevered imaginings, most Harry Potter fans never expected to take part in a real-life game of quidditch.

Flying around like the wizards at Hogwarts is, however, precisely how Nasa imagines that the Moon's first residents will stay entertained — and fit — when the space agency establishes the permanent lunar base it is planning to build by 2024.

In an interview with Times Online, one of Nasa’s chief scientists said that a ‘micro-gravity sports competition’ held inside a giant bubble on the surface of the moon was not beyond the realm of possibility.

“If you had a large, pressurised habitat, people could take advantage of the low-gravity environment by attaching wings to themselves and flying about,” Jeff Volosin, the lead global exploration strategy manager for Nasa, said.

Speaking at the launch of 181 Things To Do On The Moon, a Nasa document outlining the objectives of the proposed lunar colony, Mr Volosin said that lunar leisure “may initially consist of pastimes similar to Earth entertainment — satellite TV, movies, music and books.”

“Over time, however, advantage should be taken of the moon’s environment for unique activities such as one-sixth-G sports and games,” he said.

The guide, written by Nasa in consultation with 13 other space agencies, covers topics such as astronomy and astrophysics, as well as more speculative areas such as "lunar commerce".

Among the ideas proposed are using cameras to monitor the melting of the polar ice caps, the establishment of "lunar heritage sites", such as where the first astronauts landed, and "robotic races", in which teams on Earth would steer remote-controlled devices through courses on the Moon’s surface.

The document stresses that, as much as possible, Nasa’s lunar policy should be green. “Understanding the effect human activity has on the lunar surface is necessary to develop the next generation of planetary protection protocols,” it says.

It also suggests that, despite the Moon’s meagre resources, Nasa will do its best to live off the land. “We know that there’s oxygen which can be retrieved from the ‘regolith’ —- the moon’s ‘soil’,” Mr Volosin said. “That could obviously be used for breathing —- but also as a rocket propellant.”

That still left plenty of scope to pursue a rigorous corporate agenda, as described in chapters on "lunar resource utilisation’ and "development of lunar commerce".

The agency even anticipates a wave of space-related litigation, with one section of the paper highlighting the need “to resolve, as appropriate and possible, legal issues that could have a detrimental effect on industry as a whole, such as real and intellectual property rights.”

“Ever since the end of the Apollo program, folks around the world have been thinking about returning to the Moon, and what they would like to do there,” Mr Volosin said.

A rather more sombre note was sounded by the suggested creation of a ‘Life on Earth’ archive - which would be permanently housed on the Moon lest the blue planet be destroyed.

In December, NASA announced it would send astronauts back to the moon in 2020, with plans for a permanently occupied settlement from 2024.

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol ... 386192.ece
 
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