Lunar Ice Sample Return Mission

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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John Hunt
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Lunar Ice Sample Return Mission

Post by John Hunt » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:59 am

What do you guys think? For a prospecting mission to characterize the lunar ice deposits before developing a mining program, can we get enough information about the nature of the ice deposits without a sample return?

Bluesteel
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Post by Bluesteel » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:01 am

Before full scale investment in a Lunar Mining operation I would think it was essential to have access to actual core samples to a depth of the proposed areas, as there still seems to be some levels of doubt in the literature as the the quantity, accessibility and even existence of quantities of Lunar ice. I wouldn't want to be an organisation to have spent billions of £/$ on setting up a mining colony only to find there's only a paddling pools worth of Lunar ice at the site...

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Rhyshaelkan
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Post by Rhyshaelkan » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:40 am

I do not believe Joe's Moonshot included a sample return. However that raises a good question about instruments on the rover to test the quality of the ice for other contents.
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John Hunt
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Post by John Hunt » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:09 pm

Hi BlueSteel. Good to have you with us.

[quote=""Bluesteel""]Before full scale investment in a Lunar Mining operation I would think it was essential to have access to actual core samples to a depth [/quote]

A core sample is not necessarily a sample return. We coukd have instruments to analyze the sample and then send the info back.

[quote=""Bluesteel""] I wouldn't want to be an organisation to have spent billions of £/$ on setting up a mining colony only to find there's only a paddling pools worth of Lunar ice at the site...[/quote]

The depth might be in dispute but I dont think that the width is and the width should be able to be determined pretty well. Shallow but wide is still a lot.

Ommas
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Two fold equipment

Post by Ommas » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:42 pm

Rather than just sending sampling equipment it may be nearly as cost effective if mining equipment were used to analyze in one mission rather than two missions.

It depends on budget
If only 1 mission launch is available then sampling will not result in a product.
If two mission launch is available use the mining equipment as the sampling equipment. Then the second launch be robust with additional water processing and Lunar launch equipment.

I'm just making the point that sometimes testing costs can derail funding by adding costs to the total costs overall for a product. Not to mention delaying production equipment launch. Just send the production equipment. And if it doesn't pan out I'm sure someone will buy it , for another lunar mining mission.

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Rhyshaelkan
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Post by Rhyshaelkan » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:30 am

Ahh yes, always the budget :D

I still hope for the crowd fund and/or angel investor. Would love to throw it in the face of all the doubters.
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joertexas
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Post by joertexas » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:15 pm

[quote=""Ommas""]Rather than just sending sampling equipment it may be nearly as cost effective if mining equipment were used to analyze in one mission rather than two missions.

It depends on budget
If only 1 mission launch is available then sampling will not result in a product.
If two mission launch is available use the mining equipment as the sampling equipment. Then the second launch be robust with additional water processing and Lunar launch equipment.

I'm just making the point that sometimes testing costs can derail funding by adding costs to the total costs overall for a product. Not to mention delaying production equipment launch. Just send the production equipment. And if it doesn't pan out I'm sure someone will buy it , for another lunar mining mission.[/quote]

This is my thinking, too. The first mission (hopefully) finds a significant amount of water ice and surveys it, then the second mission carries prototype extraction and processing equipment.

The question I have been mulling over is - should the first mission be upgraded to a Falcon Heavy? There's a fivefold increase in launch capacity between the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy. Of course, the cost for the mission would triple, due to the increased costs of the launch and developing larger rovers and such.

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John Hunt
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Post by John Hunt » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:18 am

Joe, What can you accomplish with five-fold increase in mass that you can't accomplish with a Falcon 9 lunar payload? Now, if you are looking long-term, then why design and build a scaled down lander and common rover equipment that you won't use again. But the point of the prospecting mission is to get investors. So keep the cost low at first unless you have a major investor to start with.

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