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Moon NASA Robotics Space

NASA and Astrobotic Investigating Ice Hunting Mission to the Moon 46 46

Zothecula writes, quoting Gizmodo "While the Moon may or may not contain life forms, precious metals or even green cheese, recent satellite missions have indicated that it does nonetheless contain something that could prove quite valuable — water ice. NASA has estimated that at least 650 million tons (600 million tonnes) of the stuff could be deposited in craters near the Moon's north pole alone. If mined, it could conceivably serve as a source of life support for future lunar bases, or it could be used to produce fuel for spacecraft stopping at a "lunar gas station." Before any mining can happen, however, we need to learn more about the ice. That's why NASA has contracted Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology to determine if its Polaris rover robot could be used for ice prospecting."
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NASA and Astrobotic Investigating Ice Hunting Mission to the Moon

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  • Re:Transport (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:24PM (#39798725) Homepage

    There's no point in building a heavy lift vehicle to build a lunar base that's going to use the water if we can't access the water.

    There's no point in building a heavy lift vehicle to go to the moon in the first place.

    It's vastly easier to get from LEO to the moon and back than it is to get to LEO from the earth's surface. If NASA finds usable water on the moon that can be turned into propellant, then we should take that and bring it to LEO to use as a fueling station. Then when we want to go to the moon, we only need to lift the craft itself and not all the propellant that it will need to get from earth to the moon (which has an exponential effect on the size of rocket you need to get to orbit).

    What we need to start doing is treating space missions as two steps: 1) earth surface to earth orbit 2) earth orbit to wherever. And ideally stage 1) should never be lifting anything for stage 2) that doesn't need to come from earth.

    NASA is indeed doing it right. They know this is the way to do things in the future, and it's what they're trying to aim for.

    Of course then there's the Congress-mandated SLS pork rocket. Nice!

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