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Moon Space NASA

New Radar Maps of Moon 70

SpaceAdmiral writes to mention that NASA has some new high-resolution radar maps of the Moon obtained by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The new images have also been used to create a simulation of the Moon's day and a movie of a Moon landing from the point of view of the astronaut. "NASA is eying the Moon's south polar region as a possible site for future outposts. The location has many advantages; for one thing, there is evidence of water frozen in deep dark south polar craters. Water can be split into oxygen to breathe and hydrogen to burn as rocket fuel--or astronauts could simply drink it. Planners are also looking for 'peaks of eternal light.' Tall polar mountains where the sun never sets might be a good place for a solar power station."
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New Radar Maps of Moon

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  • Oh, no... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @06:20PM (#22605948)
    That's no moon, it's an overused joke!
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @06:23PM (#22605982)

    The new images have also been used to create a ... movie of a Moon landing from the point of view of the astronaut.
    Sure. Sure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Solra Bizna ( 716281 )

      Yep. Before they were pretending to do a moon landing when they actually faked it... now they're pretending to fake a moon landing while they actually do it!

      The conspiracy deepens...


  • NASA should concentrate on using nuclear energy. Much superior to solar, as Viking has proved, and the ISS has not.
    • Sorry, meant Pioneer not Viking. NASA's hugely successfull spacecraft that went past Jupiter. Saturn, Uranis and Neptune. The
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Of course solar energy isn't going to work if you're sending probes out of the solar system, you sort of start to run out of sunlight after a while.

        However, when it comes to a lunar base, solar power (if available all the time) would probably be better than hauling uranium up from the earth or having to search for and mine some on the moon (I'm not sure how much uranium there would be on the moon either, since it's less dense than the earth and probably contains fewer heavy elements).
    • Spirit and Opportunity have done fairly well on solar power... so I'd say it's improving in at least reliability - kinda important when you're days from a repair-man and need constant power for life support. Nuclear requires perpetual fuel shipments from earth, unless we can figure out fusion or we find lots of easily mined uranium on the moon. Solar might need to be replaced, but less often then nuclear fuel and the replacements could be made on the moon from the regolith eventually if I recall the compo
  • H2O - H2 + O2 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PetiePooo ( 606423 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @06:24PM (#22605998)
    Water can be split into oxygen to breathe and hydrogen to burn as rocket fuel...

    And if the astronauts are breathing all of the O2, what oxidizing agent do they plan to burn the H2 with?

    Journalists should really have some knowledge of the topic they're writing about before spouting their blather...
    • Maybe they were planning on using a nuclear or ionic rocket?
    • Chlorine?

      Nitrogen and carbon?

      Any number of things, really, though I shouldn't care to get near the results...
    • Well, then mine excess H20 so that you have enough oxygen. It's not that big of a deal to expel waste H2 into space.
    • Re:H2O - H2 + O2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @07:10PM (#22606404)

      LOX/LH2 rockets are normally run fuel-rich (most rockets are, actually, it's just more pronounced with LH2). 2H2 + O2 corresponds to a mass ratio of 8 parts O2 to 1 part H2; in actual practice the mass ratio used is somewhere between 4:1 and 6:1, depending on the engine.

      There are several reasons for this. One is that the chemistry going on is more equilibrium chemistry than normal combustion chemistry -- the H2, O2, H2O, OH, etc are all in equilibrium. Adding excess H2 burns more of the O2, and that gets more energy out of the reactants per unit mass (having similar numbers of moles of unburned reactants uses less weight if they're moles of H2 instead of O2). Secondly, H2 is better behaved than almost anything else when it comes to using the nozzle to turn heat into kinetic energy -- you'll get a larger fraction of the chemical energy out as exhaust velocity. If the H2 were inert, that wouldn't be enough to make it worth adding, but it's not inert as explained above. And thirdly, adding excess H2 drops the combustion temperature while simultaneously increasing the cooling ability (LH2 is a marvelous coolant; LOX isn't), making it easier to run the regeneratively cooled engine.

    • Re:H2O - H2 + O2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @07:55PM (#22606738) Journal
      They've been doing this for years. some of the oxygen is used to oxidize the hydrogen and some of it is used to breathe. In this case, you would probably be using the hydrogen/oxygen to power fuel cells during the night time as solar power is available to regenerate the oxygen and hydrogen stores during the day. It's probably not going to be used as the only power source sue to the fact you would need to carry all of it up there from Earth at an expense hovering around 10,000$ a kg. More likely is that it will serve like a battery storing power for emergencies and night-time.
    • Not to mention that the sparse ice regolith deposits would have to be extensively strip mined, presumably by nuclear powered equipment, and then chemically dissociated, another energy intensive process, to produce a minute amount of fuel and oxidizer. All this on a topography with 37,000 feet of elevation change. It is surprising how silly ideas like this persist.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @06:25PM (#22606012)
    Boston! I hope you can see this [], because I'm doing it as hard as I can!
  • I think their radar map was messed with by the Radar Men from the Moon.
    • Every time I read the title I think of Radar Men From the Moon. They should have Leonard Nimoy do a presentation on it as he was on one of the aliens in at least one of Commander Cody's serials (but not sure if it was Radar Men from what I could find...)
  • .. the celebrities vying to get the first house on the moon. On the plus side, there's always the possibility of some kind of explosion hurling the moon away from the earth, and into space. Accompanied by a funky seventies beat.
  • which we call 'the moon'
  • increase the value of those parcels of the moon that have been sold thus far? Does anyone on /. own a piece of the moon? If so, what are you doing as far as time share arrangements?
    • I do have to wonder about those people that "bought" a plot on the moon. It's not yours if you can't defend it and no government or space program recognizes it as yours. If all they thought they were really getting is a novelty certificate, then that's fine.
    • by kird ( 110317 )
      i bought an acre back in the mid 90's for $14.95. from the map i was sent, looks like it is on the side of the arzachel crater wall :(
      • Excellent! So you can tunnel into the crater wall and be protected from most falling debris, cosmic rays, radiation, and other nasties. Pity the fools who are on the plains. Nothing protecting them but the naked sky.
  • we have Ion drives? Not to mention, since NASA said there was nothing of worth on the moon 30+ years ago to go back. You mean they made a technical mistake or an accounting mistake (budget short fall)?
    • Because there's no way in Hell you're getting OFF the moon with ion drives. 1/6th gravity is still way, way more attractive force than an ion drive is capable of generating. But yeah, once you're back in (relatively) zero-gravity space, toodle around in your ion drives all you want.
      • Hey, other than water there is no reason to go there. (NASA has been touting that premises for 30+ years)

        If you don't land on the moon, then you don't need to take off from it or did I miss something.

        btw: If you don't use a human, then you don't need a to drink the H2o or split it into H2 + O to use it as fuel since the ION drives kind of make chemical thrust irrelative. Wasn't the point to stopping at the moon in order go somewhere else. I personally prefer direct flight to my destination when I travel, Ha
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zippthorne ( 748122 )
        Yeah, the moon has no atmosphere and a very low escape velocity (only ~1.5 km/s!, less than 5% of the kinetic energy required to escape earth).

        So you run a mag-lev track around an arc and use your ion drive on it, or use a linear motor for the initial acceleration. Probably you'll stay away from things like rail guns though, unless your goal is to shell the earth with nearly useless slugs o' matter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PieSquared ( 867490 )
      There was nothing to do on the moon for the past 30 years. But we're running into the limits of earth-based telescopes, and of course there's the possibility of fusion any time now... Both those are things that weren't true in the 70's.

      Also, at least as importantly, there are now other people who want to go there again and might be able to. When we stopped going to the moon, russia couldn't afford it any more and they were being torn apart anyway. Now china, india, russia, japan, and more might want to g
      • Meh. Effective occupation is key to any land claim.

        Since the moon is a lot harder to get to than Antarctica, and those countries permanent presence on the resource and research-rich continent being as limited as it is, I find the possibility of troublesome land claims a bit preposterous.
      • there's the possibility of fusion any time now...

        I can remember them saying the same thing back in the '60s.

  • ... but the RENT is unbelievable.
  • I hope they didn't put a lot of time into this movie []. The nerd in me was really excited as I clicked the link. Then not so much as I watched it.
  • One of the movies [] on that page simulates how sunlight would fall on the moon during it's entire orbit. You can see a few spots where there is sunlight almost the entire rotation. These are good candidates for moon base locations because solar panels can get power almost continuously.
    • Someday they could build huge solar collecting towers at these points. I guess with the low gravity and lack of wind, they could build them much taller than is possible here on Earth. I'm imagining a future moon, bristling at each pole with multiple huge solar towers.
      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )
        Someday they could build huge solar collecting towers at these points. I guess with the low gravity and lack of wind, they could build them much taller than is possible here on Earth. I'm imagining a future moon, bristling at each pole with multiple huge solar towers.

        I wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper to just build near the equator and not have light half the time. There comes a point where ever taller structures become more costly than half-dormant panels. Plus, the towers and nearby panels will cast sha
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AJWM ( 19027 )
          All the ingredients to make solar cells and power conduits are right there in the Lunar regolith: silicon and aluminum. Build a couple of factory crawlers, start them out someplace on the equator and have them just crawl around the whole moon, building and deploying solar cells connected to the aluminum conductor grid at the same time.

          When they're done, you have a moon-circling power distribution grid, half of which is in sunlight at any given time. Okay, the initial setup may be a little beyond what we
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      From what I understand is you'd want your moon base near both eternal sunshine and eternal darkness. Sunshine for solar power and darkness for ice and other volatiles. Sadly, those places are near the poles and Earth based radar isn't going to do a very good job of mapping the poles. For that you need an orbiter, which is in the works.

  • It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

    Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

    Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

    Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.
  • by isomeme ( 177414 ) <> on Friday February 29, 2008 @09:41PM (#22607294) Homepage Journal
    I was seven years old when Apollo XI landed on the moon. I grew up with the space race, and that was big part of what got me hooked on science and engineering. I watched every mission with absolute fascination, and dreamed endlessly about how space travel would continue to develop during my lifetime.

    Now, nearly 40 years later, we've barely made progress on manned space travel. I am amazed and thrilled by the scientific successes achieved through unmanned satellites and probes. But humans haven't been further from Earth than San Diego is from Los Angeles in decades.

    It's gotten to the point that I don't even want to read articles about NASA's manned space program anymore. What they're actually doing is pathetic; the aging, dangerous shuttles exist only to service ISS, and ISS exists only as a place for the shuttles to go. And NASA's plans for future moon and Mars missions are so long-term as to be meaningless; why talk about building solar power stations on eternally sunlit peaks when development of a new heavy-lift launch system is getting nowhere?

    It's astonishing to me that I have gone from being thrilled with manned space travel to wincing when I read about it, but that's what has happened.
    • That's because, sadly, instead of exploring mankind's future, the powers that be decided that exploring mankind's end was more profitable.
    • by plover ( 150551 ) *
      Well, G.W. Bush promised putting a man on the moon in 20 years, but by the time he thought that would attract our attention he was already the least popular president since Richard Nixon. I think his idea maybe made it all the way from his mouth to the podium mic, but never went much beyond that.

      Besides, most of us are so cynical we see a Mars shot as only as another ploy to enrich Cheney's cronies in the industrial-military complex at the expense of taxpayers, rather than accomplish any noble scientific

  • Yes, I am disappointed as well.
  • I'd like to use this data in our Lunar Quest [] game project. Anyone happen to find a link to the dataset online?
  • Wait... What?!?

    Unless the moon suddenly experienced a swapping of diameters, due to its being smaller than the Earth's shadow, it's NEVER going to have a period where there is constant sunlight.
    • Just like the Earth's polar regions the Moon's polar regions receive extended periods of sunlight. The low axial and orbital plane inclinations mean that when the Sun is below the horizon at the pole it is not far below the horizon. This leaves open the possibility that the peaks of tall mountains would be in near permanent sunshine. The most promising mountain peaks are at the south pole. Even in these locations the Sun would definitely disappear during a lunar eclipse.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll