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

Moderator: smccann

User avatar
joertexas
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 am
Location: San Antonio Texas

Post by joertexas » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:35 pm

I just finished reading a book entitled "How to Build Your Own Spaceship", by Piers Bizony. It's a synopsis of the space program, and a light-reading look at the future of spaceflight.

One of the points the author makes is his choice for the best landing site on the moon - Peary Crater.

Made my whole week :)

JR

User avatar
moonus111
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:35 am
Location: http://colonize-the-moon.com

Post by moonus111 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:28 pm

Man I just got that book. Thanks for ruining the end! :p

User avatar
joertexas
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 am
Location: San Antonio Texas

Post by joertexas » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:40 pm

[quote=""moonus111""]Man I just got that book. Thanks for ruining the end! :p [/quote]


Oops - me and my big mouth. Although, it was only a small part of the whole book, and... um, there's still lots of good stuff in there. ;)

JR

John Hunt
Posts: 568
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:17 am

Post by John Hunt » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:17 pm

I was looking at this image to the left. There is an advantage of choosing a landing spot where a peak of eternal light is near a permanently shadowed crater. But the closer they are, perhaps the steeper and more rugged the path between.

But how about this idea. Give the lander a mortar or rocket. It shoots into the crater trailing a wire. It either impacts/implants or falls and deploys an anchor. The lander then begins pulling the wire taut. The end result is a smooth path from peak to ice along which power can be transmitted. The wire could also serve as a safe path along which regolith could be carried to be processed at the lander.

I think that there would be some natural questions about this idea. Would the mass of a 1.5 to 3 km long line be too great to be flown that distance (or even stay within the mission's mass budget?) The initial wire could be thin and could be later strengthened using a runner adding more wires to thicken it.

Might the wire get tangled on itself or on a rock along the way as it is being pulled taut? There is probably a way of packing the wire onto a spool so that it doesn't get tangled on itself. Secondly, additional rockets could fire at the same time. One could be mid-way along the line and be designed to fire upward for a time while the line is being quickly pulled taut. Secondly, another rocket at the lander could fire the opposite direction immediately after the first rocket implants so as to quickly pull the entire string taut.

Alternately, a sub-lander could fly into the crater, and then fire a rocket trailing a wire back towards the first lander, like an anti-tank missile. It flies through an illuminated ring on the first lander which then grabs the wire the moment it goes taut.

It seems to me that model rocket clubs could be voluntarily employed to develop this system.

In future years, I could imagine a system like this using magnets to extract free iron, melting it using solar concentrators, extruding wires and then developing an array of wires to points throughout a shadowed crater in order to scale up mining operations. It could significantly reduce teleoperation time driving rovers up crater walls.
Last edited by John Hunt on Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
joertexas
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 am
Location: San Antonio Texas

Post by joertexas » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:05 am

[quote=""JohnHunt""]
But how about this idea. Give the lander a mortar or rocket. It shoots into the crater trailing a wire. It either impacts/implants or falls and deploys an anchor. The lander then begins pulling the wire taut. The end result is a smooth path from peak to ice along which power can be transmitted. The wire could also serve as a safe path along which regolith could be carried to be processed at the lander.[/quote]

This idea may be useful, but we'd have to survey the area first. The main problem I see is the distance from the peak to the bottoms of the surrounding craters. It's at least 10km, and carrying that much wire on the first mission would be difficult at best.

Sooner or later, we will need to lay power lines, though we will probably have to fabricate them onsite.

JR

John Hunt
Posts: 568
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:17 am

Post by John Hunt » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:56 pm

It's at least 10km
If you look at the polar illumination image I linked to you will find that in the middle of the ridge between the two big craters there is an area with 100% illumination (during Summer months). Then extending NNW (if the top of the image was North) there is a ling heading towards a small area with 100% shadow. Eyeballing it, it seems to me that there's only about 2km between those two points. With 1/3 gravity, perhaps the wire only needs to be 1/3 the cross section to bear the same weight. This would be eqivalent mass to about a 2/3 km (a bit less than a half mile) of wire on Earth.

But even if that small shadowed patch is too small to be confident it has volatiles, The crater in the upper right has a distance of about 4 km between 100% light and 100% closest shadowed.

I'm just concerned about having to drive 8 km over rough, steep terrains between charges.

What about a hopping air bag rocket that extracts reaction mass from ice so as to sample multiple locations within and between different craters?

User avatar
joertexas
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 am
Location: San Antonio Texas

Post by joertexas » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:45 am

[quote=""JohnHunt""]If you look at the polar illumination image I linked to you will find that in the middle of the ridge between the two big craters there is an area with 100% illumination (during Summer months). Then extending NNW (if the top of the image was North) there is a ling heading towards a small area with 100% shadow. Eyeballing it, it seems to me that there's only about 2km between those two points. With 1/3 gravity, perhaps the wire only needs to be 1/3 the cross section to bear the same weight. This would be eqivalent mass to about a 2/3 km (a bit less than a half mile) of wire on Earth.

But even if that small shadowed patch is too small to be confident it has volatiles, The crater in the upper right has a distance of about 4 km between 100% light and 100% closest shadowed.

I'm just concerned about having to drive 8 km over rough, steep terrains between charges.

What about a hopping air bag rocket that extracts reaction mass from ice so as to sample multiple locations within and between different craters?[/quote]

I posted an image of the area taken from the LRO's LOLA instrument here. The contour lines are 100m apart, and the range circles are centered on the hilltop with the best sunlight exposure - it being the highest point in the image. The smallest circle is 1km, and the others are 5, 10, 15 and 20km. The bottom of Hinshelwood Crater is 15km from the hilltop, and about 10km from the top of the crater's rim.

Moving over this terrain will be a challenge, and a hopper may be useful. I just don't know how hard it would be to make one small enough to carry on the first mission...

JR
Last edited by joertexas on Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

John Hunt
Posts: 568
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:17 am

Post by John Hunt » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:59 am

[quote=""joertexas""]Moving over this terrain will be a challenge, and a hopper may be useful. I just don't know how hard it would be to make one small enough to carry on the first mission...[/quote]

Check out this video of ARCA's X-Prize concept. Start at 2:35 to see how a hopper could get over obstructions. If designed well it could fall from a pretty good height and still be in functioning order as it would be its own airbag. However, we wouldn't be able to count on air resistance to achieve a terminal velocity!

User avatar
joertexas
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 am
Location: San Antonio Texas

More Landing Area Images

Post by joertexas » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:34 am

NASA has released more images from LRO. This oneis another view of the proposed landing site taken later in the year than the ones released earlier.

JR

User avatar
joertexas
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 am
Location: San Antonio Texas

Post by joertexas » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:53 am

[quote=""JohnHunt""]Check out this video of ARCA's X-Prize concept. Start at 2:35 to see how a hopper could get over obstructions. If designed well it could fall from a pretty good height and still be in functioning order as it would be its own airbag. However, we wouldn't be able to count on air resistance to achieve a terminal velocity![/quote]


The only worry I have about a hopper is control. As the video shows, the engines are blowing dust all over the place. That would make accurate landings difficult, especially in the pockmarked lunar surface. As the images show, there are craters and rocks of all sizes scattered everywhere.

To safely place the Moon Shot lander, we will have to very carefully evaluate two or three landing sites using every scrap of information we can get, program the lander's software for these landing sites, and then vet the landing area visually during the mission. Trying to hop the lander to another site is possible, but it's a high risk operation unless we preplan those hops, too.

The land based rovers are more flexible and safer to operate on the terrain, in my opinion.

JR

Post Reply