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The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 10:45 AM

I Just Ran Across this.

Trump Aside. Do you support going back to the moon?

I think just visiting may not be worth the cost but starting a base would be interesting.

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#1

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 10:50 AM

We have been there already. Sure there is more to learn but IMHO we should be going to Mars.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 10:56 AM

I agree with the Mars idea but propose that the moon might be a good stepping stone. Going from LEO to the moon is a big leap but going from LEO to Mars is astronomically (heh) greater.

Baby steps, baby steps.

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#3
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Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 11:03 AM

Yes, I agree. The moon would make a good starting point for a Mars launch.

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#4

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 11:21 AM

I would jump at a chance to work on a moon colony. Providing there are resources there that can be refined, launching missions would be significantly cheaper than from earth. Especially if there is a way to make fuel from lunar resources; payloads could be launched from electromagnetic sleds instead of chemical rockets.

Drew K

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 1:45 PM

<...jump at a chance to work on a moon colony...> Those individuals who do will find themselves considerably higher than they would be on Earth...

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#5

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 11:32 AM

We definitely should go back to the Moon. We've explored less than 0.1% of it. There is still a tremendous amount of geology that could be done there, and maybe some visual astronomy too, if they can solve the problem of moon dust getting on the optical surfaces. There is the ability to do radio-quiet radio astronomy on the far side of the Moon, away from all the noise of electronic communications on Earth. The Moon would be a good location for doing long-baseline radio interferometry to study galaxies, nebulae, and weird stars including neutron stars and black holes.

The 1/6th gravity would make it a great spot to vacation at, or retire to, when some large habitats are built there. It would also make a great launching spot for further exploration of the solar system.

I'm one of those curmudgeons that sees no point whatsoever in going to Mars. There's not enough gravity to have a useful atmosphere, but there is just enough atmosphere to make landing there complicated. There is no magnetic field so it gets bombarded by all of the solar radiation and cosmic rays that the Earth's Van Allen Belts shield us from. Living and working on Mars would be exactly like living and working on the Moon, except more remote and inaccessible in case of emergency.

Its orbit is the worst in terms of favorable orbital 'windows' for traveling there. The other outer planets are essentially at opposition every year whereas Mars is only in a favorable position to get to, and back from, every 2.2 years on average (it varies from 2.09 to 2.22 years). So whereas you can travel to and from the Moon almost any day, at almost any time, and stay as long or a briefly as you want, a trip to Mars is multi-year commitment.

The likelihood of deadly radiation during a trip to Mars is somewhat overblown, but nevertheless real. If a major solar flare occurs while you're between planets, you could die. Conversely, the likelihood of an unanticipated solar flare during a trip to the Moon is far less. The Moon can easily be re-supplied from the Earth. Mars cannot.

I bet that for the cost of a single trip to and from Mars, we could build a long-term habitat on the Moon.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 2:24 PM

While you have made some (very) good points, I still think a moon colony is a non starter. The scientific and engineering challenges can be overcome, and would aid in establishing a Mars colony one day.

But the scientific and engineering aren't what will kill the idea - it will be politics. Nobody thinks of Mars as "their" property, but everyone seems to feel that the Moon is theirs.

Who is going to settle 'land' disputes between countries/corporations? Who will oversee the responsible use of the resources? Any skirmishes on the Moon will definitely spill over to Earth politics.

As far as the private corporations, the problem gets even worse (with apologies to Otis Redding):

I left my home in Georgia

Headed for the Mars Colony

Quarter million miles from nowhere

I got stuck fueling up at the Moon

So I'm just sittin' at a dock on the Moon

Watchin' the Rob-ber Baron boon

I'm just sittin' at a dock on the Moon, wastin' time

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#9
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Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 2:40 PM

Well so far all space faring Countries have said no one owns the moon but if a colony is established I can't see the treaty holding up in its current form.

some more info on space Law

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 3:07 PM

Unfortunately, the inclusion of private business in the venture puts an already unenforceable Treaty on shaky ground.

From your first link: "But space law scholars debate whether the Treaty actually implicitly prohibits, or allows, private ownership on celestial bodies."

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 2:50 PM

So far nobody's gone to war over Antarctica...

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 3:09 PM

Agreed! But then, what's there to fight over?!

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 2:57 PM

I totally agree. It makes no sense to talk about sending people to Mars until we can routinely send them to the Moon. Mars is 100 times as far as the Moon.

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#6

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 12:03 PM

Oh, hope they be careful with the failure of going there. It might be most evident that we have never been there as per conspiracy theorist perspective.

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#14

Re: The Moon Regains Interest As Possible Destination

03/14/2017 4:37 PM

It would seem that there would have to be something worth mining on the moon...

(I think astronauts actually found some evidence of (titanium or tungsten) on one visit to the moons' surface ?...)

Maybe the ''bugs'' could first be worked-out of running a robotically-operated lunar colony that converted empty mine shafts into atmospherically-sealed living and working (and vacationing?) areas???

In any case, a way-station (on/in) the surface of the moon would be a preferable place to dry-run various types of habitats relatively nearby to earth, and conduct all sorts of relevant low-gravity experiments and manufacturing activities, before we go charging off to Mars...

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