Thursday, October 11, 2012


There’s plenty to discuss about the moon so let’s start with the lunar rover Polaris that was created specifically for drilling at the poles and drilling the lunar ice. The idea is to send this expedition to the moon atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle

Right now NASA has a prototype of the planned rover (full size) to test all the various functionalities. On the list to test and improve our navigation, planning software, improving the computer-robot’s vision, and another software program that frames the rover’s position to within 10 feet. Polaris currently moves a speedy foot a second and can carry its own drill not to mention a payload of 150lbs.

Our reasons for doing this, ice would be a source of water, oxygen and fuel. Useful for our lunar post.

Speaking of lunar posts; let’s take a look at what NASA has planned, at least the preliminary plans and think it through fir ourselves. (Although with all the project changes of late, I could see either additions of a computer or communications network to building more research areas…)

Let’s look at specific areas & concerns:

ENERGY: Two possibilities - a solar farm so you could collect the solar energy but you could be located anywhere, even the dark side of the moon OR consider the psychology of the people stationed there; perhaps the sunlight might be less depressing. Of course if you want to consider heating needs as well as that might greatly impact energy needs. In the sun, the moon surface is about 260 Fahrenheit, but on the dark side the temperature 280 Fahrenheit; one means significant heating costs the other cooling costs, or does it? Say you choose the pole with sunlight 6 months of the year, you get energy from the sun every minutes of the 6 months, but it doesn’t have to stop there. The altitude of the Sun even during the dark phase is one where while sitting in the dark, a solar collector or catch basin of sorts would only be required to be around 625 meter (~2050 feet) in height. Meaning energy would be abundant all year.

COMMUNICATIONS: A satellite in a stationary or frozen orbit around the moon would be necessary to facilitate communications. Also key if testing goes according to plan would be the laser satellite (LCRD) NASA has planned. Even better in my opinion would be one that is a hybrid between the two and is able to switch back and forth should it become necessary for any reason. Although this location and the location of the outpost really don’t have to be close, in a LCRD set-up line of sight is important and certainly the tilt of the moon is such that a polar location seems ideal.

OXYGEN: This is more difficult. Present thoughts are (a) the separation of oxygen from a mix of Hydrogen and Oxygen – but will depend on the drilling operations at the pole and (b) Once the outpost is up and running I expect that greenhouses are also up & running so I hope some of this can be done though plants. (350 plant = the oxygen needed to support one human. HOWEVER perhaps at some point we will be able to mine oxygen rich moon rocks (Ilumenite)

GRAVITY and MOTION: When you talk gravity and the moon, you are talking about 1.6 % Earth’s gravity. While we do understand for bone density and development of muscle and tissues some gravity is needed, it is disputable if the same physical needs exist on the moon as here on Earth and if not then the only reason it is of concern to the colonists is if they plan on returning to Earth. So if returning to Earth is the plan, then some sort of rotation of the living quarters with “fake” gravity. If you are there for a long time and raising your kids and you want them to return to Earth to go to college, well then you will need this: fake gravity brought to you by the Coriolus effect. The Coriolus effect is the force that acts on objects that move relative to a rotating frame. It can produce dizziness, nausea and sometimes disorientation but at a rate of 2 rpm or less no problematic effect result. Move that rate up to 7rpm and while some will be perfectly fine, the majority cannot become accustomed. Long exposures are still being studied.

The location that would be best according to what we have considered here would be in the light of the Northern Pole (at least for six months) and I believe there is a rather large crater up there that can serve as both a foundation and as protection. Actually it would be a great location if we also build a super computer on the moon.

NOW just for fun, let say we build the outpost, there are families up there raising their kids and sending them to school up on the moon. There are tubes, long into hallways that the kids use to get to school – you see they can fly to school as long as they have the oxygen to breath. Think about a thousand weekend tasks, and some that are during the week as well. They just got a whole lot easier didn’t they? I don’t know about you but the more I think about it, the more I want this outpost. It’s probably too much to ask, but I would love to be chosen to live up there! …You might say I am looney for the idea!

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