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Want to give NASA ideas for prizes?

Posted by: n54 - Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:45 pm
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Want to give NASA ideas for prizes? 
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Space Walker
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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:45 pm
fuel on the moon (helium-3)
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/helium3_000630.html

this is fuel for fusion reactors and to use it for propulsion (back to earth or similar "short" trips) i think the following setup would be best:
- extraction plant
- fusion plant
- electromagnetic "rail gun" launch of the vessel from the moon

how small could one make those 3 (4 counting the vessel) parts? if one could make them really small, launching them privately might be possible as a proof of concept kind of thing (but i think the research needed requires a huge budget)

the problem is that the moons environment is extremely fragile which i think poses some extra challenges:
http://www.marsinstitute.info/rd/faculty/dportree/rtr/lv06-1.html

and do we want to use it all up or use it at a sustainable rate? note that it doesn't take much activity to "plug the well" so to speak

fuel on mars: http://www.marssociety.com/about/faq.asp#in_situ_fuel

there's plenty of good stuff on this subject here (although old):
http://www.marsinstitute.info/rd/faculty/dportree/rtr/rtr-lv.html

their main page:
http://www.marsinstitute.info/rd/faculty/dportree/rtr/


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:09 am
Read one article. Who cares if we give the moon some sort of an atmoshere? Any atmospere would make life easier by lower the amount of radiation reaching the surface and killing micrometeorites--right??? Enough air and we could use the lunar atmosphere to slow down reentry in order to use less fuel getting in.


I also "looked" at one of those articles but did not read it, they think we should go straight to mars, I think that the moon, or a near earth asteriod (how close are those? how easy would it be to blow one closer?) are the most logical places to go first if we intend to colonize space because we can get stuff to those places faster than mars, if your starting a colony you want to be where you can get stuff fast...

of course I would rather live on mars because it has higher gravity and probably has more diverse resources than the moon, it will also be easier to terraform than most places, but mars would not be the place to put our first colony, once we had a "proof of concept" colony closer to home, mars might be a logical next step.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:03 am
Yeah, and if I had the choice, I'd lump for the moon with a nice habitat, and a broadband connection. Something you wont get on mars. A few well placed satelites and a decent connection can be set up for the moon. Hey, I spend most of my day indoors, be it work or home. It wouldn't matter where that home happened to be.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 12:39 pm
I prefer Mars, but ok :roll:


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:56 pm
The moon should not be used as a stepping stone for a mission to mars as it requires more energy to get to the moon (to refuel from, build/launch vessel, or whatever) than it does to get to mars. It requires 6 km/s to get to the moon, compared to 4.5 km/s to mars. Also to get into orbit around mars, or land for that matter requires more fuel than that needed to perform an aerobrake into mars orbit (which you cant do on the moon since it doesnt have an atmosphere). I highly suggest "The Case for Mars" about this. But, that is just a fuel (thus money) standpoint. I am not against a lunar base at all, and think it has enormous potential, mostly in the field of astronomy (a night days long, no atmosphere, and no light pollution) and then again as discussed above as a source of He-3 for fusion reactors, but wait, they dont quite exist yet.... also dont give the moon an atmosphere, it wouldnt work, it doesnt have enough gravity. And lets say if you suddenly threw an atmosphere of oxygen, guess what, it would evaporate into space. The moon can not support any type of atmosphere from hydrogen,helium, water vapor,ammonia, methane, nitrogen, oxygen, or even the heavy carbon dioxide (except at night when temperatures make it suitable, but once heating back up it would fly, fly away) also, it would take less fuel to get in, but it would take more to get out of it. Asteroids take even more fuel to get to but have much more valuable metals and historical significance. Go mars...


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:33 pm
mskeane wrote:
The moon should not be used as a stepping stone for a mission to mars as it requires more energy to get to the moon (to refuel from, build/launch vessel, or whatever) than it does to get to mars. It requires 6 km/s to get to the moon, compared to 4.5 km/s to mars. Also to get into orbit around mars, or land for that matter requires more fuel than that needed to perform an aerobrake into mars orbit (which you cant do on the moon since it doesnt have an atmosphere). I highly suggest "The Case for Mars" about this. But, that is just a fuel (thus money) standpoint. I am not against a lunar base at all, and think it has enormous potential, mostly in the field of astronomy (a night days long, no atmosphere, and no light pollution) and then again as discussed above as a source of He-3 for fusion reactors, but wait, they dont quite exist yet.... also dont give the moon an atmosphere, it wouldnt work, it doesnt have enough gravity. And lets say if you suddenly threw an atmosphere of oxygen, guess what, it would evaporate into space. The moon can not support any type of atmosphere from hydrogen,helium, water vapor,ammonia, methane, nitrogen, oxygen, or even the heavy carbon dioxide (except at night when temperatures make it suitable, but once heating back up it would fly, fly away) also, it would take less fuel to get in, but it would take more to get out of it. Asteroids take even more fuel to get to but have much more valuable metals and historical significance. Go mars...


I don't know where you got that info. ( 4.5 & 6 km/sec. )
The escape velocity of the earth (and that is all that matters) is 11 km/s.
For both Moon and Mars, you need to get out of the gravitational influence of Earth. Furthermore, it is more a question of time than of fuel. Burning more fuel is getting there faster. However, landing on the moon always requires additional fuel, while on Mars a parachute might do the job.

A permanent base on the moon makes sense anyway :
- materials and fuel can be brought into space with a cheap maglev catapult.
- The backside of the moon would be a great place to build a number of observatories: 14 days of darkness, not atmosphere blurring the telescope images or filtering infrared, ultraviolet, etc. and no electromagnetic noise coming from earth. Someone has to maintain some ot this stuff.
- Safety option. Although applicable cases are minimal, it might be good to know there is another place to land in stead of "back to earth", and that this place requires less energy to get back into space.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:11 am
Herman Desmedt wrote:
I don't know where you got that info. ( 4.5 & 6 km/sec. )
The escape velocity of the earth (and that is all that matters) is 11 km/s.
For both Moon and Mars, you need to get out of the gravitational influence of Earth. Furthermore, it is more a question of time than of fuel. Burning more fuel is getting there faster. However, landing on the moon always requires additional fuel, while on Mars a parachute might do the job.


Ahh, but remember: a Lunar mission only takes a few days, whereas a Mars mission takes several months. If you launch from Earth (or any Earth orbit), you have to carry enough fuel (and enough structural integrity) to hit that 11km/s mark. On the other hand, the Moon (having only 1/6 G) has a much lower delta-vee, and thus requires one-sixth the fuel (and one-sixth the structural load). This means that not only can you get away with carrying less fuel, but you can make your structure lighter (aka weaker), because it won't be carrying as much of a load.

This is the primary reason for establishing an outpost on the Moon: not for materials or to experiment with colonizing other celestial bodies (although it'll be pretty handy for both), but as Humanity's largest spaceport. Instead of actually "launching" a vehicle at high speed, you "drop" it from the Moon (it still requires a slight nudge, but only -- here's that number again -- one sixth that required from Earth), and then slingshot it around Earth to gain speed without using any fuel.

COPERNICUS SPACEPORT: 250km

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:23 am
spacecowboy wrote:
Herman Desmedt wrote:
I don't know where you got that info. ( 4.5 & 6 km/sec. )
The escape velocity of the earth (and that is all that matters) is 11 km/s.
For both Moon and Mars, you need to get out of the gravitational influence of Earth. Furthermore, it is more a question of time than of fuel. Burning more fuel is getting there faster. However, landing on the moon always requires additional fuel, while on Mars a parachute might do the job.


Ahh, but remember: a Lunar mission only takes a few days, whereas a Mars mission takes several months. If you launch from Earth (or any Earth orbit), you have to carry enough fuel (and enough structural integrity) to hit that 11km/s mark. On the other hand, the Moon (having only 1/6 G) has a much lower delta-vee, and thus requires one-sixth the fuel (and one-sixth the structural load). This means that not only can you get away with carrying less fuel, but you can make your structure lighter (aka weaker), because it won't be carrying as much of a load.

This is the primary reason for establishing an outpost on the Moon: not for materials or to experiment with colonizing other celestial bodies (although it'll be pretty handy for both), but as Humanity's largest spaceport. Instead of actually "launching" a vehicle at high speed, you "drop" it from the Moon (it still requires a slight nudge, but only -- here's that number again -- one sixth that required from Earth), and then slingshot it around Earth to gain speed without using any fuel.

COPERNICUS SPACEPORT: 250km


Right... If you want ground under your feet !

A spaceport in space is an option too. In stead of bringing your people and material to the moon, you can also keep the maximum in space. 0 G to overcome, and still the moon and Earth available for a slingshot.
The moon is great for supplying fuel and some other materials. An interplanetary vehicle however needs to be kept in space. Landing on Mars or whereever can be done in small landers.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:43 am
Herman Desmedt wrote:
Right... If you want ground under your feet !

A spaceport in space is an option too. In stead of bringing your people and material to the moon, you can also keep the maximum in space. 0 G to overcome, and still the moon and Earth available for a slingshot.
The moon is great for supplying fuel and some other materials. An interplanetary vehicle however needs to be kept in space. Landing on Mars or whereever can be done in small landers.


Hmmm.... You mean an Earth orbit Lagrange-point station? I'm not sure about the mechanics of that, but somehow I get the feeling it'd be hard to situate. Good idea, though of course it'd take a lot more construction work and support infrastructure than a Lunar base.

Heh, a Lunar base would probably be really helpful in establishing a Lag-point station, what with the supply of metals and other materials. Bringing us back where we started...

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 2:51 am
spacecowboy wrote:
Herman Desmedt wrote:
Right... If you want ground under your feet !

A spaceport in space is an option too. In stead of bringing your people and material to the moon, you can also keep the maximum in space. 0 G to overcome, and still the moon and Earth available for a slingshot.
The moon is great for supplying fuel and some other materials. An interplanetary vehicle however needs to be kept in space. Landing on Mars or whereever can be done in small landers.


Hmmm.... You mean an Earth orbit Lagrange-point station? I'm not sure about the mechanics of that, but somehow I get the feeling it'd be hard to situate. Good idea, though of course it'd take a lot more construction work and support infrastructure than a Lunar base.

Heh, a Lunar base would probably be really helpful in establishing a Lag-point station, what with the supply of metals and other materials. Bringing us back where we started...


A spaceport could also be at GEO. Why not ?

The L1-Langrange point is really a lot further away from Earth, at approximatively 326000 km right between Earth and the moon, but that might be the right thing to do if lots of materials are sent from the moon, only 59000 km away.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 16, 2004 8:02 am
There is a probe at one of the Lagrange points - and it is L1 if I'm right.

This means that a spaceport there is possible - the only question is its size. A spaceport in principle is nothing else than a space station.

In the last years I've read of a Nasa engineer having detected a least-propellant route to each known object in the solar system that is connecting Lagrange points. Technical the savings of propellant and time by this route might make possible the realisation of L1-spaceports - they might do that economically too.

Now combine these routes with the ideas of spaceports at Lagrange points, spaceports in geostationary, areostationara, jovistationary etc. orbits and the ideas of spaceports at surfaces - then you have nothing else than an infrastructure like the system of roads, rivers, railroads, flightlines, shipping lines and oceans on earth. But the infrastructure in space doesn't require materials - it only requires computers. The material requiring spaceports/stations are traffic nodes like airports, bus stops, railroad stations, highway crossings etc.

And traffic between spaceports at different kinds of locations can take place by special spacecrafts different to spacecrafts traveling between spaceports at same kind of locations.

Might that provide technical advantages?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 2:38 pm
If you want to use Lagrange points to situate something in a static fashion, make it L4 and L5. L1 through L3 are tidal points, and not too stable. Any drift off the mark will cause the object to drift down one of the gravitational wells of either the moon or earth. L4 and L5 (the points on the moon's orbit) are much more stable, and a lot 'larger', and as such much more suited to building large structures at. Drift can be countered without incurring tidal forces, and there are already asteroids lying around at these points. With a mass-catcher there, adding more would hardly be a problem.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 3:19 pm
At one of the Langrange points near the moon there is already an old stage of a Saturn rocket. It formerly left by L1 for an orbit around the sun then reentered by L1 (obviously called "gate for the earth" according to an article) and will leave again for a solar orbit in the nearby future if it hasn't yet.

This is assisting what you are recommending, Autochton.

However at L1 through L3 the positions of stations and ports may be corrected by ion drives or rockets if required. Such corrections are needed in LEO and GEO usually. Why not do so at L1, L2 and L3 too? At least one of these points is more than 1 mio km away - so gravitation will be less by a significant measure and corrections may require less propellant.

When spaceports in space are becoming valid there previously will have been growth of space traffic. This may mean that more than one Lagrange point is to be used. The essential question will be what use to make of what point.

Additionaly it will be of great importance that Lagrange points are parts of least-consumption-of-propellant-routes - perhaps two points will have to be left free of stations/ports.



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