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View Poll Results: Moon Base, Mars Base or Neither
Moon 15 62.50%
Mars 4 16.67%
Neither. Let the robots do all the dirty work. 5 20.83%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-15-2017, 04:51 PM
 
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Well, what I would do... is all of the above...

NASA has already announced they want to do some robotic and manned test flights of the SLS around the moon in the next 5-10 years. During those test runs, they should put a small station into orbit around the moon. Eventually the station could become a similar size as Mir, I don't see the purpose of a large space station orbiting the moon. After NASA puts that station into orbit, it can be resupplied by Orbital Sciences, SpaceX, ULA, and other private companies. NASA itself doesn't necessarily need to continue to run scheduled trips to the Moon. NASA can allow private companies to add to the space station as well, eventually having a small hotel for 4-8 people and other scientific endeavors. After that station is built we can start to consider a lunar base, which by then could possibly be contracted out to private companies. Some of these things can be done robotically, but I'd have the goal of getting humans to man the outpost quickly.

NASA can continue to follow it's current plan to go to Mars. I personally would follow a similar path, small station in orbit around Mars, followed by a Martian base. If something goes wrong on the Martian base, we need somewhere they can evacuate to. A small unmanned (at first) station. It will hold supplies, fuel, emergency supplies, etc. A small living compartment mainly for emergencies. Over time we can expand this station or build a second station, and keep the first as an emergency backup. We will eventually need a large space station in orbit around Mars, to hold enough fuel and supplies for deeper space travel.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Paco, that sounds like a great idea, but to accommodate 500 people would require a very large space station Think of the size of torus space station in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". It would take a very long time and a mind-numbing expense to construct such a large space station. All the materials would have to be sent there from Earth, and each launch would be able to carry only so much at a time. It would mean a huge number of spacecrafts over a long period of time just to deliver the materials to build such a space station.
I find it very difficult to believe that we can use building materials from the moon. I think we have to be resigned to bringing it from Earth anyway, and it would be much easier to take it to a space station.

While at first glance it may seem that an Earth orbit would be more feasible than a Lunar orbit, I think the difficulty of maneuvering a very large object around the Moon would require much less energy than doing the same thing around Earth. The transit time is theoretically a relatively insubstantial energy expenditure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
People will still need to go to the surface of the Moon for resources such as frozen water at the lunar poles, and that's going to take fuel for manned lunar landers to get to the surface from a Lunar Space Station. Anyone working on the lunar surface is going to need shelter, food, water, and so on.
There would be manned outposts on the surface for a few people. But I think keeping the majority of them in lunar orbit would be more feasible.

In 1968 Apollo 8 was gone just for 6 days, 3 hours, 42 minutes and it spent 20 hours orbiting the moon 10 times. Medical evacuations will be feasible, as will VIP visits as well as space tourism.

Elon Musk is hoping to send two tourists into lunar orbit by next year, corresponding to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8.
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
I find it very difficult to believe that we can use building materials from the moon. I think we have to be resigned to bringing it from Earth anyway, and it would be much easier to take it to a space station.

While at first glance it may seem that an Earth orbit would be more feasible than a Lunar orbit, I think the difficulty of maneuvering a very large object around the Moon would require much less energy than doing the same thing around Earth. The transit time is theoretically a relatively insubstantial energy expenditure.



There would be manned outposts on the surface for a few people. But I think keeping the majority of them in lunar orbit would be more feasible.

In 1968 Apollo 8 was gone just for 6 days, 3 hours, 42 minutes and it spent 20 hours orbiting the moon 10 times. Medical evacuations will be feasible, as will VIP visits as well as space tourism.

Elon Musk is hoping to send two tourists into lunar orbit by next year, corresponding to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8.
Paco, thanks for your posts as they encouraged me to look a little deeper into the details of the subject. My reply was about having a space station in lunar orbit capable of holding a population of 500 people. That's a lot of people. While it might be possible in the future, I don't think we'll see anything that large any time in the near future.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) comprised of Boeing and Lockheed Martin is collaborating with Bigelow Aerospace for a venture to put one or two of Bigelow's B330 modules as a lunar depot into low lunar orbit around 2022. Interesting features about the B330 is that it is expandable, inflatable and can be linked to additional modules. The size of the B330 is impressive as well. Each module is almost 45 feet long and a diameter of about 22 feet. Those are exterior dimensions. Two of them would provide a length of almost 90 feet. Each module is large enough pretty spacious for a crew of 6 people, or 12 people for two modules. Even allowing for onboard equipment, etc., that's more room than the ISS which has a diameter of 14 feet. Obviously, the 2022 launch would be to test it out. The B330 would be considered a "space habitat". The B330 is a little different in that it's a bit larger than the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) attached to the ISS. It's an experiment and is not used for cargo or crew. BEAM is expected to be released about 2020 to burn up in the atmosphere on reentry.
https://www.space.com/38490-private-...um=syndication
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science...oon-ncna811806
Bigelow Aerospace
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelo...ctivity_Module
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B330

One thing I wondered about is how durable an inflatable B330 space habitat would be taking into account impacts from micrometeorites. You definitely wouldn't want it to burst in space. It turns out the materials used for the shell is very durable and resistant to catastrophic damage. If anything, there might be a slow leak which could be repaired. They're also shielded with layers to reduce radiation. Bigelow could potentially develop similar modules for the lunar surface. Some proposals I've seen have surface habitats with lunar rock and material covering the modules giving added protection from radiation, etc.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/s...ents/1804.html

In that the crew size of each module is 6 people, it would take about 83 modules to allow for a population of 500 people. That's that would take a lot of time and launches, but it is feasible. However, I still think most of the activity and habitation would be on the surface, especially if there is reason to do extensive exploration and excavation of worthwhile resources. For example, extracting and processing water ice or mining for minerals would be easier to do with boots on the surface even with the use of robotics. Such large scale operations would likely be quite a way off in the future though. In other words, as I understand it, the lunar depot would probably be used mostly as a stop-off transit point before descending to the surface.

The cool thing about Bigelow's designs are that not only could they be used as habitats in space or on the Moon, they could also potentially be used as habitats for deep space travel, such as going to Mars.

By the way, the proposal for the first lunar tourists, as you noted, is to simply orbit the Moon, with a crew, and return to Earth. Longer excursions or landings on the Moon by tourists would be off in the future. The initial tourist expedition is planned for only 2 tourists, most likely 2 very wealthy and lucky tourists who can afford the r/t ticket. Later, stays at the lunar depot would probably be likely. Imagine how exciting it would be to actually stand on the Moon and look at the Earth. Astronauts who have done that have expressed being very awed and humbled by the experience. But just orbiting the Moon would be an incredible experience.
https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/...-the-moon.aspx

If people can do well in a lunar orbiting space station, why would they not do well in a similar habitat on the surface where gravity would be stronger? I think going to the Moon would be a good first step toward sending people to Mars.

As a side note, when we look at the Moon from the Earth, the Moon kind of looks pretty big and fairly close. But its 239,000 mile distance is a lot farther than it looks to us, as seen by the Japanese Hayabusa 2 spacecraft.
Space in Images - 2015 - 12 - Earth and Moon seen by Hayabusa-2
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:24 AM
 
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I was thinking of Bigelow, who simply borrowed the idea from NASA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
As a side note, when we look at the Moon from the Earth, the Moon kind of looks pretty big and fairly close. But its 239,000 mile distance is a lot farther than it looks to us, as seen by the Japanese Hayabusa 2 spacecraft.
The Apollo 10 crew achieved the highest speed relative to Earth ever attained by humans; 24,791 mph on 26 May 1969. That is 10.4% of the distance from the Earth to the Moon in one hour.

Prior to WWII crossing the Atlantic by plane was a relatively rare event, but during the war the RAF Ferry Command brought 9000 aircraft from North America to the United Kingdom for the war effort as actually shipping the airplane parts by boat would have been very slow and hazardous with German U-boats.

I think once you begin to do a transit on a regular basis, it becomes the easiest part of the operation. Building a large colony with material that doesn't weigh much is considerably easier in space (even if you have to bring it from earth). Serious illnesses that can be treated if you get care in a few days, don't have to be fatal in such a colony, as medical evacuations will be fairly straightforward.

Colonization will necessarily bring accidents and deaths. It's sort of like air travel. Eventually a plane will crash and everyone will die, But like air travel the public acceptance of frequency will be very low. Nearly 18 million people died in WWI , and 20 to 50 million died from the Spanish flu. But most people remember the 1500 deaths on the Titanic as one of the most tragic events of that decade.

At the same time, new research published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that several pits located near the Marius Hill region of the Moon are large open lava tubes, and that these ancient caverns have the long term potential to offer room for colonies of millions of people where they would be protected from the Sun’s dangerous rays.

https://gizmodo.com/scientists-just-...nde-1819658831

Last edited by PacoMartin; 10-19-2017 at 09:52 AM..
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
I was thinking of Bigelow, who simply borrowed the idea from NASA.


The Apollo 10 crew achieved the highest speed relative to Earth ever attained by humans; 24,791 mph on 26 May 1969. That is 10.4% of the distance from the Earth to the Moon in one hour.

Prior to WWII crossing the Atlantic by plane was a relatively rare event, but during the war the RAF Ferry Command brought 9000 aircraft from North America to the United Kingdom for the war effort as actually shipping the airplane parts by boat would have been very slow and hazardous with German U-boats.

I think once you begin to do a transit on a regular basis, it becomes the easiest part of the operation. Building a large colony with material that doesn't weigh much is considerably easier in space (even if you have to bring it from earth). Serious illnesses that can be treated if you get care in a few days, don't have to be fatal in such a colony, as medical evacuations will be fairly straightforward.

Colonization will necessarily bring accidents and deaths. It's sort of like air travel. Eventually a plane will crash and everyone will die, But like air travel the public acceptance of frequency will be very low. Nearly 18 million people died in WWI , and 20 to 50 million died from the Spanish flu. But most people remember the 1500 deaths on the Titanic as one of the most tragic events of that decade.

At the same time, new research published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that several pits located near the Marius Hill region of the Moon are large open lava tubes, and that these ancient caverns have the long term potential to offer room for colonies of millions of people where they would be protected from the Sun’s dangerous rays.

https://gizmodo.com/scientists-just-...nde-1819658831
Right. Lava flow tubes would be a good location on the Moon for shelter. It would certainly take time to first explore the tubes to determine details. Other factors would be to determine location in relation to potential work sites. The stability of the tubes would need to be determined. All of it takes time to collect information to determine suitability for use as a protective shield. Lava flow tubes are known to have sections that are relatively unstable.

In Oregon, SE of Bend, Oregon is where the Arnold Lava Tube System is located. It contains numerous spots to enter various lava caves. Most of those entry points have been closed off to the public with heavy steel locked gates, unfortunately, because of vandalism. These were not tourist attraction caves. When I was younger, the entrances were open to anyone who wanted to go in and explore. Friends and I used to trek into a few of the caves that had relatively easy access. One particular cave was called Wind Cave. I suppose it was a quarter of a mile long with one or two short side branches. At one point in the cave, there was a hole in the ceiling of a "chamber" that allowed sunlight to stream in from the surface. The hole could be seen from the surface, which was fenced off for safety reasons. At a guess, the hole was perhaps 100 feet above in the chamber-like room. The cave was noted for the sound of wind blowing through the hole.

Trekking through many of the caves was more than a simple walk. At numerous parts inside some of the caves were huge piles of lava rock that had collapsed from the ceiling. Climbing over these jagged hill-like piles made for slow going. Some collapses, like at Wind Cave, completely caved in and opened to the surface. Most other section of the tubes had caved in creating huge mounds. All those mounds were from the ceiling. Trekking into these caves was a process of climbing up and down over the numerous mounds to get to to the end of the tubes. The primary reason the ceilings collapsed was due in part to rain water dripping into fissures, weakening the structure of the ceilings, and gravity bringing the rock down in massive collapses. In general, these lava tubes are pretty unstable, and can potentially collapse at any time.
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....1m71hO3XeL.jpg

Lava tubes on both the Moon and Mars sometimes have holes that formed due to collapse of the ceiling. Along some of the raised sections of the tubes without holes, undoubtedly have similar mounds of rubble inside that haven't broken through to the surface. Such damage doesn't necessarily mean water was present to help speed up the collapse. But I would guess after hundreds of millions of years, drying and cracking, as well as wind (at least on Mars), collapses are going to happen thanks to gravity. The holes would be about the only way to get access to these lava tubes. Exploring these tubes would be critical if the intention is to use the tubes as a radiation shield for habitats or structures inside the tubes. To be safe, even the walls and ceilings should be reinforced to reduce the risk of collapse. The point is that these are projects that would take a long time to build and develop. You have to first find a "path" into hole to get to uncollapsed parts of the tubes. How deep are the holes? How do you get to the bottom of the holes? How long are the tubes? As a habitat for work crews, getting up and down could be a time consuming chore, unless it's easy to get in and out. But in the images I've seen (you too), the walls of the holes look pretty steep and fairly deep. It might be easier, in the short term, to use a habitat similar to the Bigelow models, and cover them with layers of surface rocks and debris to serve as shielding.
What do YOU want to see on Mars? - Bad Astronomy : Bad Astronomy
https://nordlichtblog.wordpress.com/...e-lavaroehren/

On the surface, clearing out areas for habitats and work areas would be a job for machinery that are somewhat heavy duty to do the job. Perhaps robotic excavators and graders to move rocks and smooth out the habitat site.

There's no question that moving materials around in space is easier to do than on the surface of the Moon or Mars. But if the object is to go to the surface, that's going to require going back and forth, and that means extra fuel to make those round trips. Having structures on the Moon or Mars is more practical for surface crews. It's also worth noting that landings are particularly tricky, especially on Mars. You're right that there's always a risk of accidental death in the cosmos, and it will happen sooner or later. But it's also a good idea to continue taking precautions to prevent or reduce the risk of catastrophic accidents. We've had three, two involving space shuttles. Launches and landings are the riskiest. I wonder if the drop system used for Curiosity (but at a larger, more powerful scale) would be useful to somehow get a fueled launch vehicle to the surface of Mars, with enough fuel to lift off the planet and rendezvous with an orbiting Mars depot for refueling with enough to make the trip back to Earth? The thing is that the spacecraft would have to have enough fuel to escape the Earth, make the trip to Mars, land on the surface, lift off from Mars, and return to Earth. That's a lot of fuel. It would seem essential to have an orbiting depot for fuel, and probably some supplies. There are some other options, but those would require some very large and complex systems in place. I'm still all for letting bots do the preparation work on Mars or the Moon.

In the news today...
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/techn...sts/ar-AAtIc76

Last edited by NightBazaar; 10-19-2017 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Pacific 🌉 °N, 🌄°W
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We're not going to settle either one.

We will never go to mars. There probably will never be another visit to the moon. The 2 pioneering countries have spent themselves to death.
Huge cave found on moon, could house astronauts: Japan scientists

Looks like Japan might beat us to it! It's so disappointing to see the rest of the world passing the US behind in scientific discoveries and innovation.

Never dreamed I would see the US not leading the rest of the world with respect to science.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Moon base, Mars colony.

Orbiting Lunar station is not very useful. Lunar base is useful.

Orbiting Mars station and/or Phobos/Deimos base may potentially be useful as a precursor to a Mars colony. (You can remote control robots on Mars from a Mars station with no time delay.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
I find it very difficult to believe that we can use building materials from the moon. I think we have to be resigned to bringing it from Earth anyway, and it would be much easier to take it to a space station.
There is a reason why stations in space are not very attractive compared to Moon/Mars. Just with very primitive ISRU, low hanging fruit, if you can mine water, make fuel, and pile up rubble as your radiation shielding, you are already FAR better off compared to a space station where everything has to be brought from Earth. Water is very heavy to bring up, that's why current ISS has (not very reliable) almost closed-loop water recycling where they have to recycle water from the air (sweat), and drink urine. Fuel is also heavy and bulky, and so is radiation shielding/enclosure space. These alone would offset the disadvantage of having a base in a gravity well of moon/mars. I haven't even mentioned that bases on the ground would require much less complex radiators (there is a big problem of exchanging waste heat in a vacuum of space).

Eventually if you can construct living volume completely out of in-situ materials, and maybe even manufacture crude low-efficiency solar panels, you can begin expanding your base for "free" indefinitely, with no supplies from Earth. All of the high tech stuff/equipment can be shipped from Earth, but it is not that heavy or bulky compared to shipping water/fuel/enclosure space modules.

Last edited by Gantz; 10-23-2017 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
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...and drink urine...
Good grief, they don't drink urine. They drink water reclaimed from urine. There's a BIG difference there.
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:38 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Default Clash of the Titan

Some excellent reading on the topic:

Beyond Earth : our path to a new home in the planets / Charles P. Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, Ph.D., c2016, Pantheon Books, 629.45 WOHL

Subjects
• Manned space flight.
• Astronautics.
• Space flight -- Physiological effect.
• Space flight -- Psychological aspects.

Notes
• The way off the Earth -- How to predict the future -- The inner solar system and the problem with NASA -- A home in the outer solar system -- Building a rocket quickly -- The health barrier to deep space -- Robots in space -- Solutions for long journeys -- The psychology of space travel -- Who gets to go? -- Why move into space? -- Settling a frontier -- The step after next.
• Includes index.

Summary
• Presents a chronicle of the developments and initiatives that have transformed the idea of space colonization into an achievable goal, sharing arguments in favor of targeting Saturn's moon, Titan.
• "From a leading planetary scientist and an award-winning science writer, a propulsive account of the developments and initiatives that have transformed the dream of space colonization into something that may well be achievable. We are at the cusp of a golden age in space science, as increasingly more entrepreneurs--Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos--are seduced by the commercial potential of human access to space. But Beyond Earth does not offer another wide-eyed technology fantasy: instead, it is grounded not only in the human capacity for invention and the appeal of adventure but also in the bureaucratic, political, and scientific realities that present obstacles to space travel--realities that have hampered NASA'S efforts ever since the Challenger disaster. In Beyond Earth, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars, but Titan--a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy, where we will even be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field--offers the most realistic and thrilling prospect of life without support from Earth."--Dust jacket.
Length viii, 311 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : index

(My emphasis)

Excellent read. Tracks the requirements for independent life on a solar system colony – Titan best fits the bill – once we solve some medical & transportation problems. Eye-opening look @ issues in the US space program – including the lack of systematic study of long-term space flight health issues. Handy info for discussions on the US space program, what’s next in space, the prospects for long-term research, exploration & colonization.
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Originally Posted by Dirt Grinder View Post
Good grief, they don't drink urine. They drink water reclaimed from urine. There's a BIG difference there.
Kinda like Bud and Bud lite?
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