Moon Shot - The Next Step

First private sector mission concepts, potential revenue streams, what various companies and organizations are doing along these lines, <b>closely</b> related topics

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Rhyshaelkan
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Post by Rhyshaelkan » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:54 pm

Ice Pirates? :P Silly but great cult movie.
I am not a professional. I am a rational amateur who dreams about humans going into space.
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moonus111
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Post by moonus111 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:44 am

I went ahead and set up a website as a subdomain under one of my testing websites. Don't worry we can move it wherever/whenever and name it in the future. Anyone want permissions/logins just ask. Also it's pretty bare for right now I'm gonna work on getting it pretty. If anyone wants to work on content feel free to either ask for a login, or wait until I've got logintobogan working.

Remember it can be moved later if we make it good enough for the big man's approval of *subdomain*.permanent.com.

I have no problem having my webhost hosting the sql database, as I don't know if the host for permanent hosts sql, I can also turn it over whenever.

remember I've got to do a lot of tweaking to get it right so it looks pretty basic right now... not even a theme.

http://icemoon.squabbydoodoo.com

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Rhyshaelkan
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Post by Rhyshaelkan » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:06 pm

Good stuff Moony. I do not know SQL, PHP, XML, or even HTML. A good BLT is great for lunch though.
I am not a professional. I am a rational amateur who dreams about humans going into space.
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joertexas
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Another Step

Post by joertexas » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:22 pm

I think I've worked out the major components we will need for a polar exploration mission. They are:

1. A lander to carry equipment to the surface, and to provide communications relay and power.

2. An orbiter to provide surveillance and communications coverage for the mission.

3. Three or four 5kg scout rovers based on a radio control vehicle rock crawler chassis, each carrying a mini video camera and lights.

4. A 20kg communications relay rover, also based on a rock crawler chassis, to assist with communications continuity.

5. A 200kg backhoe with a push blade and a water sampling unit to enter craters and search for water ice.

6. A solar array trailer with 4 to 6 panels, providing 1-2kW of power for the rovers on a portable platform.

The next step in the process is to design each of these components in sufficient detail to estimate development time and costs.

Also, I've posted a composite picture of the landing area.

Comments?

JR
Last edited by joertexas on Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added link to pic..

John Hunt
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Post by John Hunt » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:11 pm

2. An orbiter to provide surveillance and communications coverage for the mission.
What orbit would it be in? Would it be within line of sight at all times or would we have intermittent connections and hence intermittent operations?
3. Three or four 5kg scout rovers based on a radio control vehicle rock crawler chassis, each carrying a mini video camera and lights.


Yes, I see the need for scouts before the backhoe goes out. If the backhoe is running all over the place doing its own searches, it might get stuck and then that is the end of the mission. If you first have the scouts going out in different diections, if one gets stuck you have two or three others still searching until the most favorable location is identified. Then the single backhoe can make a single trip.

However, it may be that a mini video camera is not sufficient to determine if a location is favorable for water ice. If the ice is in particles mixed in with the regolith, it may not be visible at the resolution of a video camera. As with the Mars Polar Lander, the ice might be just a bit below the surface only knowable if you dig. Should these rovers be a bit more capable? How about including a probe that can test for ice? Should maybe one of them with a little backhoe be held back until a potentially favorable but uncertain location is found? Also, if the little rovers had any way of determining water ice concentration, could we keep driving them them, characterizing the water concentrations at a large number of locations within the crater until, one-by-one they get stuck or otherwise stop operating. Then the backhoe could be sent to an easy icy location, confirm the presence and concentration of water ice and then move on to do the same at the location with, hopefully, the highest concentration.
4. A 20kg communications relay rover, also based on a rock crawler chassis, to assist with communications continuity.
Would this thing move when a rover stops moving because it has driven out of range? Could the rovers be able to tell us if they are getting close to being out of range (e.g. # of bars). What range would you expect the relay rover to have? Do you think that moving it to the "center of mass" of the rovers would be the best use of it?
5. A 200kg backhoe with a push blade and a water sampling unit to enter craters and search for water ice.
Why a push blade? With a backhoe, of what use is a push blade?


Any thoughts about these rovers helping each other get unstuck? Also, what about a high-speed poker or flipper bar as a random attempt to get a rover out of a situation (sort of like those insects which snap their abdomen vs thorax and so get off their back)? Maybe the lunar regolith is such that this isn't necessary (e.g. no drifts, dirt which holds its shape rather than gives way). If the rovers fall on their backs, can they keep driving?
6. A solar array trailer with 4 to 6 panels, providing 1-2kW of power for the rovers on a portable platform.
Might there be any advantage for the panels to be separable from the portable platform?
The next step in the process is to design each of these components in sufficient detail to estimate development time and costs.
Because this area is outside of my training, any help on my part could be either:
- finding and running the current concept past other engineers to solicit technical feedback,
- searching websites for components which may be considered for use,

How would you like for me to help?

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joertexas
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Post by joertexas » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:49 pm

2. An orbiter to provide surveillance and communications coverage for the mission.
What orbit would it be in? Would it be within line of sight at all times or would we have intermittent connections and hence intermittent operations?

The orbiter would have to be placed in a polar orbit. We'd have to coordinate with NASA and whomever else has vehicles flying at the time for a safe altitude. My guess at the moment is a 75-100km orbit altitude. That would give us a few minutes of transmission time on each pass. An orbital mechanics expert can figure out the best operating altitude and the best spacecraft orientation, and we can configure the orbiter accordingly.

Should these rovers be a bit more capable? How about including a probe that can test for ice? Should maybe one of them with a little backhoe be held back until a potentially favorable but uncertain location is found? Also, if the little rovers had any way of determining water ice concentration, could we keep driving them them, characterizing the water concentrations at a large number of locations within the crater until, one-by-one they get stuck or otherwise stop operating. Then the backhoe could be sent to an easy icy location, confirm the presence and concentration of water ice and then move on to do the same at the location with, hopefully, the highest concentration.

Anything else we add to the scout rover would have to be lightweight. We're up against the 5kg weight limit as it is, especially if we have to include some telemetry links and sensors. Also, they may not be able to get into the areas with ice very easily due to the cold and line of sight issues. I would like for them to survey the landing area as much as possible, and help the backhoe find its way down into the craters.

Would this thing move when a rover stops moving because it has driven out of range? Could the rovers be able to tell us if they are getting close to being out of range (e.g. # of bars). What range would you expect the relay rover to have? Do you think that moving it to the "center of mass" of the rovers would be the best use of it?

The relay will be a rock crawler, too, so it will be able to go anywhere the scouts can. I'd like for it to have the capability to transmit and receive directly from Earth, but I don't yet know if that's possible. In any event, its job is to establish and maintain radio contact with any of the other rovers at need.

The radio range is something else that needs more research. I don't expect to have reception at anything more than line of sight distance, so we will need to design the antennas with that requirement in mind. Also, we may need to have wires to lay for communications, especially with the backhoe.

Why a push blade? With a backhoe, of what use is a push blade?

A blade can help the backhoe cut a road, move other rovers, and anything else it can push, and even help flip the backhoe right side up if it rolls over. It can also level a spot for the solar panel unit if needed. The blade also stabilizes the backhoe as it digs by taking the load off the suspension. We won't have outriggers, so the blade will be vital.

Any thoughts about these rovers helping each other get unstuck? Also, what about a high-speed poker or flipper bar as a random attempt to get a rover out of a situation (sort of like those insects which snap their abdomen vs thorax and so get off their back)? Maybe the lunar regolith is such that this isn't necessary (e.g. no drifts, dirt which holds its shape rather than gives way). If the rovers fall on their backs, can they keep driving?

Anyone who gets one of the rovers stuck will be fired ;) These questions will be answered as we test drive the prototypes over simulated terrain. We can develop and test different schemes for a) not getting stuck or flipped over, and b) getting turned right side up if the rover does roll over. I don't see a need to push the rovers to their limits, especially since they will be geared down to increase their range and operating time.
If the backhoe is available, it would certainly be able to rescue a scout. However, I'd evaluate the situation carefully before I sent any second rover after a stranded one.
Might there be any advantage for the panels to be separable from the portable platform?

They're pretty fragile, so I'd rather leave them attached to the trailer. The backhoe can relocate the trailer as needed to provide power for the rovers.
The next step in the process is to design each of these components in sufficient detail to estimate development time and costs.
Because this area is outside of my training, any help on my part could be either:
- finding and running the current concept past other engineers to solicit technical feedback,
- searching websites for components which may be considered for use,

How would you like for me to help?


All of the above is a huge help.

I'm also trying to get all of the data I can for the proposed landing site. The ideal state would be to have a complete topographic map of the lunar surface, from 270 to 360 longitude and 89N to 90N latitude. This "pie slice" would encompass most of Henshelwood crater and the NW ridge of Peary crater. The picture I posted has a resolution of about a meter, and the LRO's other data is about the same, I think.

I would eventually like to build a physical model of the landing area to the largest scale I can. The more accurate this model, the better prepared we will be when we arrive.

JR

John Hunt
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Post by John Hunt » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:32 pm

The relay will be a rock crawler, too
Are relay electronic all that massive? Could several or all of the rock climbers be relays so that they could support each other in a type of network?

Joe, you are posting this on a public forum so I'm going to proactively reach out to some aerospace engineers and get their expert feedback (unless you say otherwise).

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joertexas
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Post by joertexas » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:42 pm

[quote=""JohnHunt""]Are relay electronic all that massive? Could several or all of the rock climbers be relays so that they could support each other in a type of network?

Joe, you are posting this on a public forum so I'm going to proactively reach out to some aerospace engineers and get their expert feedback (unless you say otherwise).[/quote]

A communications relay rover will have to carry a radio transceiver and the appropriate antennas to reach at least the orbiter, and possibly, Earth. The weight limit is 20kg for the whole machine, with 9kg of that allocated to everything after the rolling chassis and batteries. A space rated transceiver is 3.2kg by itself, so that doesn't leave a lot for the other electronics and things like solar panels.

Like everything else, though, the prototyping and testing process will provide better answers..

I've been actively seeking any feedback I can get, so feel free ;-)

JR
Last edited by joertexas on Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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joertexas
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More New Data

Post by joertexas » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:16 am

Some of the LRO's laser altimeter instrument data has been published, and someone has converted it to Celestia imagery. The resolution isn't good enough to map the landing area, but it's still worth a look.

This is what the earth and sun positions are at this time of year from the approximate landing area location. The green circles are crater labels, floated off the moon's surface.

JR

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Mark Prado
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Post by Mark Prado » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:29 pm

I can set up a subdomain, no problem, or multiple subdomains. Let me know what you would like to call it/them, *.permanent.com

All my databases are MySQL running a PHP front end, including this forum.

As we're getting rather esoteric here, I will continue in email with anybody who wants to discuss it further.
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