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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:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:44AM (#43523501)

    I can repair a china cup. But it isn't fully recovered. As grandma will clearly notice.

  • Re:Real Estate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:47AM (#43523507)

    Whoever can get there and defend it from invaders.

  • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @09:58AM (#43524327)

    No they didn't. What, you think it was a secret, or the knowledge just mysteriously vanished from peoples minds? The fall of Rome wasn't over night, it was over decades. And the people didn't just vanish, nor did the knowledge. The "Dark Ages" following the "fall" of Rome, wasnt really dark. Really the only thing lacking was this huge overarching unification and relative stability granted by being part of the roman empire, and even that was only in europe.

    Farmers have been making crude cement for thousands of years. You think they never noticed that when sandy/gravelly soil and clay soil mix (effort to loosen up the clay soil so it drains/grows better), it only gets worse, such that you can't farm? Then somoene got thebright idea...whoa...this stuff is hard...we can't grow with it...but we can cut it into blocks and make walls and homes from it!

  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @10:04AM (#43524383)

    One of the oddities that people overlook in spaceflight, is that people with excess fat would make ideal colonists.

    I don't think there is a more cost effective means in terms of payload to transport 'food and water' in a form usable to humans than fat people. I'm not talking morbidly obese, but an astronaut with 20kg extra weight is carrying pre-processed nutrients/energy/water in a form that requires the least amount of energy to turn back into work. As the astronaut burns off the excess fat, the wastes produced can be collected and reprocessed into useful water and fertilizers.

    Consider the two options:
    A healthy astronaut with 20kg of fat
    A healthy astronaut with 0kg of excess and 20kg of food/water.

    kg for kg, the stored fat will be much more efficient than 20kg of extra food/water.

  • Re: Gravity? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @10:13AM (#43524487)

    A HUGE problem for solar energy is not necessarily atmosphere, but dust. A massive array of panels/mirrors on Earth must be continually protected against sandstorms and dust accumulation. (This is because many of the massive mirror/panel arrays are placed in desert like environments, much like the moon).

    Without rain to wash the panels and plants to keep the dust storms down, solar panels must be protected/maintained.

    However, while the moon seems like it would be terrible due to the fact that it is basically one giant dusty (and sharp dust at that) desert, the lack of an atmosphere means that any panel placed will not accumulate any dust or suffer sandstorms absent nearby impacts with meteors.

    Long winded post short: I'd add that the moon has lots of open land that doesn't produce sandstorms in your positive category for solar power generation.

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:31AM (#43525395) Journal
    And I don't want a bunch of whacko libertarian might-is-right corporate yahoos in control of it.
  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:42AM (#43525535) Journal

    Future generations can only get better at moon colonisation if we try, and learn, and maybe fail and learn some more.

    That is begging the question of whether having a moon colony serves any useful purpose in the first place.

  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:57PM (#43526549)

    I can't care about the nay sayers. The problem with NASA is funding and politics. Space projects take decades and commitment. And for at least a few decades you can think of private space companies as nonprofits.

    It's better to just have NASA raise funds, devise national policy and sign contracts; an extension to what they were doing anyway. They just won't be micromanaging anymore. It also allows other governments or even individuals or corporations to contract with the same people and get it on the act.

    Having private companies allows more insulation from political influence. It allows them to better focus on achieving something rather than making politicians happy. The same people that would have worked at JPL will instead be working for private equivalents. It's the same people, just a different letterhead.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"