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Mars Moon Space

NASA Mulling Earth-Moon L2 Point for Mars Staging Station 186

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the my-religion's-in-space dept.
jamstar7 writes "From the article: 'NASA is reportedly mulling the construction of a floating Moon base that would serve as a launching site for manned missions to Mars and other destinations more distant than any humans have traveled to so far. The Orlando Sentinel reported over the weekend that the proposed outpost, called a "gateway spacecraft," would support "a small astronaut crew and function as a staging area for future missions to the moon and Mars."' This is actually a good idea, using the Moon as a staging base for exploring the cosmos. Once we build manufacturing capability there, why not build spacecraft there? We can build bigger, more spacious craft so as to not lock up future astronauts in a closet for months or years at a time." Moon base isn't quite accurate: it would be a space station at the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point about 60000 km from the surface of the dark side of the moon.
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NASA Mulling Earth-Moon L2 Point for Mars Staging Station

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  • by Ecuador (740021) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @06:14AM (#41461745) Homepage

    For something to be X miles above the DARK side of the moon, it would have to be orbiting the moon. You want to say FAR side of the moon, and you would probably not get it wrong if you either paid a little attention to your science classes in school or gazed at the moon enough times to think about the lunar phase cycle.
    But, no, you should not be editing something like slashdot causing the readers to pull their hair.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @06:59AM (#41461945)

    Sorry, your explanation has confused me somewhat.

    I've always known the dark side of the moon to mean the side of the moon that never faces earth, aka the far side of hte moon.

    The dark referes to the fact this side of the moon never recieves any signals from earth NOT that it never recieves any sunlight (which it does during every new moon).

    In case you wish accuse me of not paying attention during science class:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_side_of_the_Moon:

    "The far side of the Moon, sometimes called the "dark side of the Moon" in the sense that it is in a radio blackout in respect to transmitters on Earth"

    IIRC placing an object so that it's constatly observing the dark (as in no sunlight) side of the moon is refered to as in the shadow of the moon, but I'm not 100% on that.

  • by Framboise (521772) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @06:59AM (#41461947)

    >My question is why L2 and not L1?

    Indeed, I have no clear idea, because once an object is located at one of the five Lagrangian points L1-5, very little energy is required to go to any other one.
    L1 needs however the least delta-v to be reached from Earth or Moon, and direct radio communications are possible with L1 and L3, contrary to L2 which is hidden by the Moon from Earth. L3, on the side opposed to the Moon would require still a bit more delta-v than L2. L1-3 are dynamically unstable, so a station there would need periodic corrections.

    L4 and L5 are more stable than L1 or L2 but require still a bit more delta-v wrt L1-3.

    To reach Mars, or any escape from the Earth-Moon system L1_5 are almost equivalent if enough time is available, but L4-5 provide more orbit choice, so more possibilities to choose quick routes.

    Note that the station would not need to be located precisely at one of the L1-5 points, but could be on so called halo orbits circling around such a point.

  • by kbonin (58917) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:04AM (#41462265) Homepage

    Anyone who thinks this is a good idea to get to Mars needs to read Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" or read up on the "Mars Direct" approach. All this talk about moon bases or staging in orbit or at an Lagrangian point originates in NASA designing the Mars mission via lots of committees, in which various teams and [sub]contractors got to insert dependency on their pet projects. Mars Direct presents a very well thought out and fully vetted approach, nothing but politics at this point is standing in the way - if NASA as an agency was still primarily interested in space exploration instead of pork disbursement and fiefdom preservation, and Congress had to provide slightly longer term budget commitments with less constraints and strings atached, we'd already have a permanent presence on Mars.

  • by lessthan (977374) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:37AM (#41462585)

    Not having a trillion dollars really hasn't stopped our government from spending like they do, so why not?

  • by Tim the Gecko (745081) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:49AM (#41462697)

    The James Web Space Telescope will also reside in the Earth-Moon L2 point, and AFAIK it will transmit data directly to Earth, so communication from/to L2 should not be an issue.

    No, the James Webb Space Telescope [wikipedia.org] will be at the Earth-Sun L2 point.

  • Iron Sky (Score:4, Informative)

    by Barryke (772876) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:10AM (#41462909) Homepage

    I'm surprised that i saw no Iron Sky comments yet.
    http://www.ironsky.net/ [ironsky.net] its a B movie made on a budget with remarkable Hollywood quality. Sequal and prequal are in the works, i've heared.

    Relevant because its recent (mid 2012), about the dark side of the moon and an US astronaut.
    If you want a good laugh about WW2 germans, watch this.

  • Better source... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @10:51AM (#41464185) Homepage

    Also, instead of wikipedia we could link to an actual source. E.g. Phil Plait's excellent blog: http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/dark_side.html [badastronomy.com]

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @01:34PM (#41466171)

    Not to mention the coal and oil deposits discovered later.

    Columbus didn't know about that stuff, and no one found out about or made use of those things until hundreds of years later.

    We know a lot more about what's on the moon than Columbus (or the Spaniards) did about North America, but what we know is that it's not all that.
    The moon, sadly, is kind of crappy resource-wise.

    You don't know that. It's not like we've done any drilling there; all we've done is collect a few rock samples on the surface. There's probably lots of valuable minerals there, just like we've found many in the earth's crust. Most of our minerals on Earth came from meteorite bombardment; well, take a look at the moon. What do you think all those round things are? And without an atmosphere, the minerals won't be dispersed so much on the Moon, they'll be concentrated at the impact sites. There's probably lots of resources on the Moon we don't know about yet, because we haven't looked. We only recently discovered that there's water ice there; sending up a few astronauts in a half-hearted rock-gathering mission totally missed that important detail.

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