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Moon Space Science

Site for Moon Base Determined 738

Deinhard writes "Going hand-in-hand with the recent discussion on Moon Bases, is reporting that the perfect spot for a moon base has been found. According to the article, 'the best spot to settle on the Moon may be on the northern rim of Peary crater, close to the north pole.' What makes the location so important is that it is permanently lit, with a balmy -58 Fahrenheit (-50 C)."
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Site for Moon Base Determined

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  • by tquinlan ( 868483 ) <[moc.nalniuqsamoht] [ta] [mot]> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:52PM (#12235161) Homepage
    ...we've had the technology for years [] as Robert Zubrin points out in his book. The moon is just a big rock, and we've been there before.

    (Seriously, read the book, and if you're not convinced, well, you should be. ;) )

  • Solar Radiation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dubiousx99 ( 857639 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:53PM (#12235175)
    Wouldn't solar radiation be a hazard from the constant light?
  • Interesting.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by technomancer68 ( 865695 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:53PM (#12235180)
    This is going to be interesting to see how the man [] that "laid claim" to the moon is going to handle people that he's sold property to. I wonder how he will respond to the government building a base on "his" territory.. Hmmm wonder if this will turn into a court battle?
  • Up Nort' (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NETHED ( 258016 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:54PM (#12235191) Homepage
    Hey, I lived in Wisconsin, and up nort', it did get this cold in the winter, and people were fine. Just that little problem of lack of atmosphere. Eh, the flannel shirt's will do.
  • by Greg Wright ( 104533 ) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235235) Journal
    One proposal for a moon base I found interesting was using lava
    tubes as pre-built bases. It provided radiation as well as
    meteorite protection. They actually did a bunch of research in
    lave caves in Oregon some time ago.
  • Why bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris09876 ( 643289 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235237)
    What's the purpose of a moon base? Bush said he wants to use it as a stepping stone for Mars... but are there really any savings gained? Earth is where the ship manufacturing takes place... and (at the moment) is the source of fuel. Any materials obtained here would still need to be sent to the moon, and then to Mars.

    Does it have something to do with the moon's lower gravity making it easier to blast off a ship?
  • by amstrad ( 60839 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235239)
    Wouldn't putting a moonbase so close to the Moon's limb will cause line of sight communication problems during parts of the month due to lunar libration []?

    Possible solutions:
    1) very tall antenna
    2) relay satellite

  • Perfect contest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shanmuha ( 668499 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:04PM (#12235334) Homepage
    Now that we have 'official' private space launches, I implore all those zillonaires-with-more-money-than -they-know-what-to-do-with, to come up and sponsor a x-prize like prize for the first moonbase!
  • Re:Up Nort' (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hoplite3 ( 671379 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:09PM (#12235409)
    The lack of atmosphere really changes the way heat flows. Our intuition about hot and cold is shaped by convection, where heat is transfered to gas molecules that bump against us and are then swept away. With no atmosphere, heat transfer slows down. The only heat loss on the moon would occur by conduction into the surface of the moon.

    How "cold" is the moon in human terms? I don't have any idea. I'd imagine sunlight would be more important for constant solar power (well, barring eclipses).
  • by pg110404 ( 836120 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:14PM (#12235483)
    the best spot to settle on the Moon

    The commute would be an awful bitch. One could always telecommute, but the ping delays would be a serious drag.

    Seeing as how the site is always facing the sun, it would be kinda nice to have large kick ass solar panels to power a moon computer archive...... Wait a minute, the earth has a magnetic field to prevent solar radiation from cooking a lot of things. Even if we lived on the moon in a bubble, what would the long term effect of solar radiation (particle to create electrical disturbances and high energy radiation such as x rays) have on the equipment and/or body?
  • Moonbase Pluses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:14PM (#12235488) Homepage Journal
    Any materials obtained here would still need to be sent to the moon, and then to Mars.

    Except the tons and tons of hydrogen, oxygen, and water that you are going to extract from the ice frozen in the ice caps in the poles. In addition, they might be thinking of mining the ice, which would involve tunneling. To me this makes a lot of sense, as several meters of rock is wonderful protection from high speed rocks, is wonderful insulation to help maintain a constant tempature, and is a cheap way to add to the size of the space station without having to build entire new modules. The moon would be a good place to put a telescope, since it is massive enough to be stable, unlike an inhabited orbital platform, and could be the start of a massive Very Long Baseline array for looking at really distant objects. Plus, it could be the start of permanent off world colonies. Mars is a good idea, but it's kind of a long first trip. Plus, It will give us extra time, as invading aliens will probably stop to level the moonbase before attacking earth.
  • Moon race, part 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by salimma ( 115327 ) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:17PM (#12235529) Homepage Journal
    Now that the Chinese, Indian and Japanese all profess an interest in colonizing the moon.. the question is, will the first nation who reach the site claim its entirety, and how valid would that claim be?
  • Re:Always??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ayaress ( 662020 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:27PM (#12235641) Journal
    Easy way to deal with that (instead of cutting off outside light and imposing an artificial day/night cycle inside the base) is to change the kind of people NASA gets for astronauts. The Mercury through Apollo astronauts were mostly pilots, and a lot of space shuttle astronauts have been as well. But I think a permanantly-lit lunar base would be better suited for naval officer, particularly ones that serve on submarines.

    People on submarines have to adapt to weeks and even months without any sense of time. No daylight, no night, sometimes not even a well defined schedule. Not everybody can handle it, but some people get by pretty well. Not to mention that submarines are cramped and uncomfortable places to be, which isn't uncommon in space travel.
  • The moon is too dry. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mad Bad Rabbit ( 539142 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:43PM (#12235860)
    Yes, just a big rock, chock full of raw materials we need for your trip to Mars,

    The main requirement for a trip to Mars are volatiles for fuel and life support, and the moon has almost none of those.

    Sure, there is lots of metal oxide laying around on the moon for building an empty ship out of ; but even then, the standard processes we have for making steel or aluminum require large amounts of carbon (to reduce the oxides) and water (to cool down the molten metals afterwards). Again, the moon just doesn't have those.

    If we could find a Near-Earth asteroid with abundant volatiles like water ice and ammonia ice, it'd make more sense to build a base there than on the moon.

  • by Fareq ( 688769 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:01PM (#12236134)
    And just what claim does the government have on my family's money if it's been gained by doing honest work? "To prevent some families gathering too much money" is a just a sad excuse for class envy and socialism.

    I'm sorry I have no modpoints today...
    I can't figure out why this is flamebait while everyone else's comments are not...

    You are, of course, correct. The estate tax is, primarily a way to redistribute wealth in an attempt to prevent permanent pseudo-nobility by limiting the number of generations across which nearly-infinite wealth can remain nearly infinite.

    You can argue about whether this is a good thing or not (in my opinion, it is not), but you can not argue that this (and not "revenue generation") is the primary purpose of this tax.

    What all of this has to do with the moon, however, is beyond me. Surely by now it has become obvious that the U.S. government is not going to be a major space player again. U.S. industry might someday, otherwise, I'm betting on the likes of Japan or China...

    Maybe Japan... then the base could have a big earth in the middle of the flag instead of a big sun...
  • Re:Always??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Deinhard ( 644412 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:03PM (#12236159)
    Interesting that most space opera today adopts that model. Heinlein started it all since he was an Anapolis graduate. It seems that most space forces are called "space navies" with corresponding ranks.
  • by TheBigTBird ( 796903 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:12PM (#12236270)
    Wouldn't sending materials from the Earth to the Moon cause an imbalance in the energy cycle that governs our planet? I've always thought our earth is a closed energy system and removing energy from it could cause an imbalance.
  • by HMA2000 ( 728266 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:17PM (#12236345)
    The US was never paying down the debt for any extended period of time (I believe our longest period of paying it down was 9 months.) Take a look for yourself, you'll see the number never goes down.

    Also, a large part of the "surplus" was unsustainable. To some degree the surplus was a result of cost cutting but mostly it was the result of increased revenue in the form of capital gains tax. Around the late 90's the government was collecting incredible amounts of capital gains tax due to stock market bubble. This was not a sustainable form of revenue.

    The "debt holders" are a sundry group with many different agendas and motives. To suggest that they were all worried about the debt being paid off (which wasn't happening anyway) is misleading at best.

    Considering how much misleading crap you were able to pack into your first sentence I think it is safe for people to disregard the rest of your hyper-biased post.

    As an aside, I understand it is fashionable to hate Bush on this board and to suggest that he is somehow some evil genius/dumb monkey pulling all the strings to make the rich richer but you do yourself and your politcal cause a huge disservice when you exaggerate (and lie about) your claims.
  • Re:Up Nort' (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:26PM (#12237305) Homepage Journal
    I wish I could find the reference, but Arthur C. Clarke once wrote a short story proposing precisely this. He was writing about a footrace, and it ended with racers naked, like in the first mrathon. I believe he revisited the idea in The hammer of God, but I think he did it the first time before anybody actually landed on the moon.

    You lose heat by radiation, but space suits have elaborate cooling systems, since there's no atmosphere to wick away your body heat, and that's most of what you use on earth. Sadly, the exact heat-flow math (including sweat, which would still evaporate, or at least sublime) is beyond me.

    Clarke said you could go out naked, except that your feet would get really, really cold. The character in the story warms his feet by starlight (really just getting them off the ground).

    You'd have to be pretty careful with breathing, since you wouldn't have the usual 1 atmosphere of external pressure helping you exhale. (Space suits, conversely, are pressure suits and restore some of that 1 atmosphere.) I'm sure it's some function of keeping the partial pressures of oxygen in the right place, but again, that's more math than I want to do.

    But you'd probably want to pressurize your head. There is intra-ocular pressure; it probably wouldn't pop but might be uncomfortable. Even if you pressurized the squishy bits in your head, you could have burst blood vessels in the skin; it's like a giant all-over hickey. It would depend on the way the heart adjusted pressure to the lack of resistance you get from the atmosphere.

    So that's the interested-layman answer. I hope you can get a better one from an actual physicist.
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @05:36PM (#12238790) Homepage
    The dot-com bust was over a half decade ago -- let it go. We're in new times.

    We've run almost THREE TRILLION DOLLARS in the last three years on top of the six trillion debt we were paying off before we went nuts.

    That three trillion wasn't from the dot-com bust -- it is caused by taking in less money than we spend. We spend more than we tax. That's it. Dot coms and Clinton have nothing to do with it. Bush and his allies have cut taxes over and over again; just today, the House voted to eliminate the estate tax. That's hundreds of billions less revenue, and we are spending a quarter of a trillion on Iraq (eventually) alone.

    The trickle down magic that was supposed to happen hasn't. We're just going bust. A result of believing in the Reagan tax-cut miracle, which never existed. Reagan RAISED taxes, firstly. Secondly, Reagan lucked out big time in 82 when OPEC's pricing structure collapsed utterly. We had a massive injection of cost savings from NOT sending money to oil companies and oil-producing nations. We simply kept our own money for the first time in years!

    Bush and Co.'s belief in the tax-cut miracle didn't work. The trickle down didn't happen, as job and wage cuts continued, along with cash going to overseas factories. Paired with the exact opposite situation that Reagan was, OPEC and the oil companies are increasing oil prices enormously . Add the complete breakdown of Iraqi oil shipments to further increase oil prices, we have a situation that cause an inflationary nuke effect.

    Add the fact that overseas financiers are not going to keep lending us money indefinitely, dropping the dollar in favor of the euro. Ouch. No way to keep borrowing. Across the board cuts. Goodbye, NASA. Goodbye Shuttle, moonbase, Mars.

    As for the tax cuts that are causing the debt: if we are at war, why are we cutting taxes? Aren't we supposed to sacrifice something? Are only military people supposed to lose? during WW2 we increased taxes. If we are incurring special charges for Iraq that are expressible in fractions of a trillion dollars, why the hell don't we tax ourselves to pay the bills? Who the hell is supposed to pay the bill?

    This is 9 trillion -- SO FAR. This looks intentional. Debt goes down when dollar collapses, is that it? Is that the big Rovian plan? World currency becomes the euro, the US dollar goes to 1/4 of today's value, the 10 trillion debt becomes 2.5? Oy.

    Space travel was my life's passion, and it hurts to watch it all go away because of ideological blindness. If we won't pay our bills, we won't have a future in space. I don't know how a nation with ten trillion or more in debt, spending a quarter of each year's tax income in interest, can effectively do anything in space.

  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @06:26PM (#12239255)
    IF a corporation builds it, it DOES, without argument, belong to the corporation (unless they donate it).

    Not unless their property is seized forcefully!

    Haven't you heard of Space Pirates? Yaarr!
  • You're making the welding thing way too complicated. You have two options: gas welding and solar welding. Parabolic mirrors big enough can deliver as much energy as you're interested in. You might think about using a little of whatever inert gas you can come up with as a shield gas to scare away dust, or you could use some kind of rub-on material as a flux. As for pressurized air, hydraulic power is much more common than pneumatic, as it is much easier to control, much easier to seal, and in general allows transmission of greater power. Hydraulic systems regularly operate at pressures over 2,000 PSI, so the difference between Earth and its moon (~14.7psi and below) and Earth and Mars (Nearly no difference from the moon situation) is negligible. The real issue is heat, and how you deal with it. If you can utilize the moon as a heat sink, perhaps by pumping coolant down into rock, you can mitigate that. Also, maintenance becomes a lot more complicated, but that's to be expected.

    As for this next bit, I can't wait to tell you how wrong you are:

    Cars aren't pressurized vehicles, and they're not made of iron (they're made of steel). Most importantly, their skins don't constantly change size as temperatures change rapidly (an even bigger problem for aluminum structures, which are less susceptible to oxidation). Etc.

    Cars are pressurized vehicles, just not to ~1 bar. Er, that is, PSIG. Certain weather conditions and of course the slamming of doors can cause significant pressure differentials; in some cars which are overly tight, you can feel it in your head when someone shuts the door, er, solidly.

    In addition, steel and iron are different, yes, but being mostly the same thing (iron + carbon = steel) they share many properties. Among them there is the tendency to expand when heated and contract when cooled. In fact, heat-expanding pieces to install or change them is not uncommon in automotive work. Most all auto body panels will expand or contract measurably (millimeters) when left in direct sun or exposed to below-freezing temperatures. Automotive paint is expected to flex along with the steel under these conditions, and also in those where someone pushes on the steel. Auto body deforms quite a bit. A lot of cars are quite flexible, and under normal operation can flex inches. And I'm talking cars made in the last couple of decades, too, not just in the fifties or whenever.

    Not to mention, auto body panels are sometimes made of aluminum (e.g. Honda/Acura NSX) which, as you note, expands and contracts significantly with temperature.

This universe shipped by weight, not by volume. Some expansion of the contents may have occurred during shipment.