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Space Moon

Bigelow Aerospace Investigating Feasibility of Moon Base for NASA 140

littlesparkvt writes in with a bit from Space Industry News about Bigelow Aerospace's plans for the moon: "NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are in the initial planning phases for a moon base. 'As part of our broader commercial space strategy, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with Bigelow Aerospace to foster ideas about how the private sector can contribute to future human missions,' Said David Weaver NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications." Bigelow will be performing the study for free too. Robert Bigelow chatted with a radio host a few weeks ago about Bigelow's long-term space plans. They include refueling depots and a commercial moon base, since NASA isn't planning to go there.
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Bigelow Aerospace Investigating Feasibility of Moon Base for NASA

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  • Re:Gravity? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cenan ( 1892902 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @06:57AM (#43523355)

    According to NASA [] it has yet to be determined what causes the bone degradation. The damage is also not "irreparable", though bone mass is not fully recovered. From the link:

    The exact mechanism that causes the loss of calcium in microgravity is unknown. Many scientists believe that microgravity somehow causes bone to break down at a much faster rate than it is built up. However, the exact trigger for this rate change has not been found. Researchers are currently pursuing multiple lines of research, including hormone level, diet, and exercise, in order to determine exactly what causes -- and may control or prevent -- osteoporosis during space flight.

    On Earth we see the same thing happen from time to time (my mother used to have it). Bones suddenly become weak to the point of breaking at the faintest impact. Doctor's orders were to drink lots of milk and other high-calcium foodstuffs, and it apparently went away to a degree that she was declared "cured". If (the lack of) gravity was the sole cause, we would not see this on Earth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:08AM (#43523385)

    A) Future generations can only get better at moon colonisation if we try, and learn, and maybe fail and learn some more. Just like today's archaeologists only got to be so good at archaeology because they stood on the shoulders of their less sophisticated predecessors.

    B) There is a HELL of a lot more water on the moon than you think. Yes, only a tiny fraction of the Earth's but still way more than we can deplete in a thousand years of missions/ bases on the scale being discussed here.

    C) The moon water will not be "polluted" or wasted away. Most of it will be recycled, ready to be re-used. Any sensible long-term moon plan will have water recycling as a core requirement. OK, some may end up scattered to the interplanetary void after being used as reaction mass or hydrogen fuel but again, not enough to be worried about.

    D) By the time we deplete the moon's water, we should be more than capable of picking up more from asteroids/ comets/ elsewhere in space and transporting it to the moon.

    Here's a classic sci-fi short story that deals with water as a (supposedly) limited resource for space travel and colonisation. It has hard numbers to help put the scale of the issue in context. Worth a read, and won't take too long:

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin