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Moon

Lunar Scientist Proposes Dozens of Impact Probes To Map Moon's Water (examiner.com) 35

MarkWhittington writes: Water ice believed by scientists to reside at the lunar poles is the key to opening up the solar system to human activity. The water could help sustain a lunar settlement. It could also be refined into rocket fuel, not only to sustain travel to and from the moon but to make it a refueling stop for spacecraft headed deeper into the solar system. A recent MIT study suggested that lunar fuel would simplify NASA's Journey to Mars. Lunar scientist Paul Spudis, writing in Air and Space Magazine, pondered the next step in determining the extent and composition of the lunar ice. Spudis' idea is to deploy several dozen impact probes across one of the lunar polar regions.
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Lunar Scientist Proposes Dozens of Impact Probes To Map Moon's Water

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  • It would cheaper to use femtospacecraft [engineering.com] than impacters to explore these regions. One CubeSat could act as a relay for dozens of femtospacecraft while the Lunar Flashlight [nasa.gov] lights up the territory.

    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      No, it wouldn't. Mass isn't cheap. But development of radically new spacecraft aren't either.
  • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @08:44PM (#50927657)

    Then every problem starts to look like an impact target.

    • I was thinking, "To Fight Terrorism, and for the Children." I guess using deep penetrating radar is pretty stupid. Of course capturing an ice ball heading toward the sun is just beyond the Knowledge Base of the Air Force. Which sounds like a really great idea for a movie, and game.
  • I'm sure I read somewhere a while back about them smacking craft into the moon and then analysing the debris clouds that were cast up. Would this not work better, allowing you to get data from significantly deeper? As I would have thought sensors on the probes would be unlikely to survive strong impacts.

    On a side note wtf has happened to Slashdot that there is only 1 on topic comment on this story?

    • by spauldo ( 118058 )

      From TFA:

      The impact probes would be equipped with aluminum foam to cushion them as they hit the lunar surface. Then each of these probes would measure the surface hydrogen as well as the neutron signature of volatiles on the moon where they land and then transmit their findings to an orbital craft for relay to Earth.

      I don't know enough about orbital mechanics to know how they're going to pull this off, but I assume they'd do something to shed most of their delta-v in lunar orbit and drop from there.

      • Yeah I read that. And I'm sure they can slow the probes enough for sensors to survive impact without too much problem. At 60km above surface lunar orbital speed is only about 1600m/s so slowing the probes to survive impact would be easy.

        My question was more would they get more useful information on ground composition if they accelerate the probes into the surface and analyse the dust plumes instead of having the sensors on the probes.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @11:15PM (#50928285) Homepage Journal

    ... Oh, wait.

  • Majick! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @11:33PM (#50928369)
    From the article:

    The group developed a model to determine the best route to Mars, assuming the availability of resources and fuel-generating infrastructure on the moon.

    Well isn't that handy? So as long as we assume that the cost of setting up and staffing and running a moon base is zero, and the cost of building the generation facilities and producing the fuel is zero, generating the fuel cost is zero, It's financially much better to make fuel there.

    No doubt the time involved in setting up a completely peripheral side project is also assumed to be zero. Why not, it makes just as much sense as assuming everything else id free?

    MIT should be ashamed that such drivel came from anyone related to that institution.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Hell, as long as everything is majick we could just grab a passing asteroid and mine it for metals to make the spacecraft.

      • Hell, as long as everything is majick we could just grab a passing asteroid and mine it for metals to make the spacecraft.

        And if we ignore the costs of getting to the asteroid, and the mining and refining - it's free!

        Last night, I watched a National Geographic program on building the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon - the glass bottomed horsehoe shaped walkway that extends some 70 feet over the edge of a 4000 foot cliff. Pretty well done program and explanation of a lot of the engineering involved.

        I would suggest that these folks glossing over their assumptions that are at least as difficult as the presumed Mars trip, watch t

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          I pretty much agree. The problem with construction on the moon is you will be in a gravity well. It's only one sixth that of earth but still a problem. Best to build in high orbit and take it one step at a time. I hate to think of working on a project on the moon and realizing some contractor sent the wrong size panel for a module under construction. It's not like you can just drive over and get the right one.

          • I pretty much agree. The problem with construction on the moon is you will be in a gravity well. It's only one sixth that of earth but still a problem.

            Definitely a problem. Because now you have another escape velocity to deal with.

            Best to build in high orbit and take it one step at a time. I hate to think of working on a project on the moon and realizing some contractor sent the wrong size panel for a module under construction. It's not like you can just drive over and get the right one.

            And it does happen.

            THere is one more issue that has an analogy in ethanol production. I think it is always a bad idea to mix comestibles or life critical things l

    • by spauldo ( 118058 )

      A lot of people feel that going to Mars is a mistake, and that we should be focusing on the moon. Going to Mars with our current infrastructure would be another Apollo - go there, look around, come back, and then abandon the whole thing altogether.

      The "cost" of a moon base in regards to a Mars mission would be negligible, if you consider that a moon base justifies itself. Only the money used for equipment and research that is directly related to the Mars mission would be counted as part of the cost.

      This s

      • This study shows that both sides of the moon/Mars debate can get what they want - at least in a fantasy world where NASA can keep the same mandate for more than eight years.

        So you are saying that we should both assume there is water on the moon, and that we should not consider the cost of a moon base at all?

        Accountants work a lot of dubious majick these days, but that one's beyond the pale in my book.

        As well, wouldn't a major justification for a moon base. be to provide fuel for martian missions? A perfect circular argument.

        Also, is my tram concept not feasible? It has nothing whatsoever to do with a one shot Apollo type mission. It's in another post, but is a continua

        • by spauldo ( 118058 )

          There's no accounting magic involved.

          A moon base offers similar, if not greater, benefits as a Mars mission in terms of science and technology development. The point of building a moon base isn't to save money going to Mars - it's to have a research and hopefully manufacturing and mining platform on the moon. The base justifies itself, even if we don't plan to go to Mars.

          What the MIT study shows is that if you already have a moon base, going to Mars will be cheaper. It's an added benefit, not the justifi

  • Just as we enjoy murdering natural resources on Earth we should now suck the moon dry of water so that we can one day be forced to haul millions of gallons of water to the moon to replace the water we use there. And the way things look we can get plenty of water as it is covering areas of the world right now that should not be under water at all.

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