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Proposed challange: Robotic lunar rover

Posted by: BitBanger - Sat Oct 16, 2004 6:39 pm
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Proposed challange: Robotic lunar rover 
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Post Proposed challange: Robotic lunar rover   Posted on: Sat Oct 16, 2004 6:39 pm
It appears that little is really known about the composition of the lunar soils. As a prelude to setting up a moonbase and/or mining lunar resources, it would be a good idea to send several lunar rovers capable of analyzing what is really there.

The Apollo missions brought back samples that were analyzed. However the samples were few, and small which makes any specualtion of the overall composition just that... Speculation.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:56 am
Anyone planning to set up Lunar operations is going to send a survey team, this seems redundant and pointless. You're rewarding them for doing something that they would have had to do anyhow (and probably have done manned).

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:52 am
Cadet wrote:
Anyone planning to set up Lunar operations is going to send a survey team, this seems redundant and pointless. You're rewarding them for doing something that they would have had to do anyhow (and probably have done manned).


i agree a prize for this is somewhat pointless since it's a virtual requirement for any manned base: you'll send tons of rovers all over to find the best sites, then send manned missions to the very best ones for a better perspective, then colonize the best of those. a reusable sample return vehicle that can do more than just the moon might be interesting though, especially if it can be scaled up to do returns from, say, mars, and of course it would have to do asteroids, since i think a sample return mission to see the general composition of an asteroid under it's visual, and therefore measurable, surface will be a good idea before sending a mining mission (however it turns out the best way to do that is) to it.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:24 am
A reusable sampling probe is a bit of a waste though imho. Odds are that the costs of boosting the extra mass and refueling it will outweigh the costs of sending out smaller, cheaper, one use probes. The asteroid belt will probably use manned teams, especially as that lends itself to the possibility of quickly setting up some basic buildings when they find a suitable spot.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:11 am
This is depending on the propellant costs and the investment costs and depreciations of the probes - multiple one use probes may have a sum of investment costs that make them suboptimal.

Its not only the reusability itself that has to be calculated - the route of flight has to be included and the revenues, informations and much more.

And a return might go another way than perhaps used to imagine - a probe might fly along the body to be analyzed to a gas giant. There it might do a swing by catapulting it just back to earth (depending on the length of its way around the giant only) with decelerations by other planets and the sun if possible.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:16 pm
Cadet wrote:
Anyone planning to set up Lunar operations is going to send a survey team, this seems redundant and pointless. You're rewarding them for doing something that they would have had to do anyhow (and probably have done manned).


TerraMrs wrote:
i agree a prize for this is somewhat pointless since it's a virtual requirement for any manned base: you'll send tons of rovers all over to find the best sites, then send manned missions to the very best ones for a better perspective, then colonize the best of those. a reusable sample return vehicle that can do more than just the moon might be interesting though, especially if it can be scaled up to do returns from, say, mars, and of course it would have to do asteroids, since i think a sample return mission to see the general composition of an asteroid under it's visual, and therefore measurable, surface will be a good idea before sending a mining mission (however it turns out the best way to do that is) to it.



I disagree entirely, on the grounds NASA and Russia and China already put men into space, by this logic the Xprize/Xprize Cup was/is redunant. :?

It's a good idea for a prize IMO. :)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:53 pm
I agree - there is no reason why rovers shouldn't be worth a prize. It's the technology and the concept of the rovers what's interesting.

First rovers like the Mars rovers never have been at the moon. There were only manned rovers and they were driven a few days only.

Second it seems to me that by the Mars rovers much more insights concerning the martian soil have been won than by the former rovers at the moon.

So a Centennial Challenges Prize concerning rovers is making sense if the conditions are including

1. extended capabilities compared to the Mars rovers,
2. flexibility of configuration of instruments,
3. reusability,
4. ability to leave moon or other planets either by a carrier-spacecraft or of their own

at least. May be that something still has to be added to this list.

This would be a challenge similar to the development of the new technologies used by Deep Space One.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:42 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
So a Centennial Challenges Prize concerning rovers is making sense if the conditions are including

1. extended capabilities compared to the Mars rovers,
2. flexibility of configuration of instruments,
3. reusability,
4. ability to leave moon or other planets either by a carrier-spacecraft or of their own


The idea was to locate a variety of possible sites for a permanent base and miniing operations. There has been considerable speculation about how to utilize the lunar resources, but the speculation is based on a grand total of six data points. Imagine trying to setup a mining operation on Earth based on only 8 data points. (ratio of land area of earth to the surface are of the moon is 1.3)

What I'd like to see is a bunch (50 or more) semi autonomous rovers with the ability to sample the soil to some reasonable depth and spectrometers to determine the composition. These rovers should also be able to be remotely teleoperated when interesting things are found to allow for further investigation.

There is really no need to have the ability to leave the moon as suggested above, since that would add significant complexity. It's also not needed because there is plenty of work on the moon to keep them busy.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:26 pm
Imagine what you could sell the rocks of a sample return mission for.

I wonder, If you totally stripped the probe out for returning rocks whether that would turn a profit?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:30 pm
idiom wrote:
Imagine what you could sell the rocks of a sample return mission for.

I wonder, If you totally stripped the probe out for returning rocks whether that would turn a profit?


The profit could come from either using the geological (lunalogical) data, or selling it to interested parties.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:02 am
From TerraMrs's post it seems to me that the topic has been turning to rovers usable at other planets too a little bit.

Additionaly the surfaces of moon and Mars are simmilar concerning the fact that they are dusty, rocky and deserts.

It would be economically advantageous to develop rovers that are not specialised to a certain planet. Multifunctionality and flexibilty will be advantageous even if they stay at moon for a long time or forever.

In between I can add two points to my list:

5. miniaturizing partially at least,
6. possibilties to remove wheels by leg- and foot-technologies (I don't know the right englisch term this moment but a long time ago I have read of research and developments of such technologies - they would be more fit to the natural state of the surfaces of moon and Mars)



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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:23 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
First rovers like the Mars rovers never have been at the moon. There were only manned rovers and they were driven a few days only.


Lunokhod

relevant movie quote (title reference only).

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:33 am
Yes - I forgot it. But I don't know what capabilities it had - did they be at the level of the manned moon rovers of the Apollo program or the level of the Mars rovers?

Would be interesting to know.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:15 pm
Rubbernecker wrote:
Cadet wrote:
Anyone planning to set up Lunar operations is going to send a survey team, this seems redundant and pointless. You're rewarding them for doing something that they would have had to do anyhow (and probably have done manned).


TerraMrs wrote:
i agree a prize for this is somewhat pointless since it's a virtual requirement for any manned base: you'll send tons of rovers all over to find the best sites, then send manned missions to the very best ones for a better perspective, then colonize the best of those. a reusable sample return vehicle that can do more than just the moon might be interesting though, especially if it can be scaled up to do returns from, say, mars, and of course it would have to do asteroids, since i think a sample return mission to see the general composition of an asteroid under it's visual, and therefore measurable, surface will be a good idea before sending a mining mission (however it turns out the best way to do that is) to it.



I disagree entirely, on the grounds NASA and Russia and China already put men into space, by this logic the Xprize/Xprize Cup was/is redunant. :?

It's a good idea for a prize IMO. :)


You've misunderstood why I said it wasn't worthy of a prize. I said it wasn't worthy because it was a necessary precursor anyhow. The X-Prize is designed to get private industry into space, which is completely different from the goals of the government space agencies.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:34 pm
Cadet wrote:
You've misunderstood why I said it wasn't worthy of a prize. I said it wasn't worthy because it was a necessary precursor anyhow. The X-Prize is designed to get private industry into space, which is completely different from the goals of the government space agencies.


Why not have a govenrment agency promote the gathering of data useful to a private enterprise? Is that not what was done with the original space race? Now the government may not have intended that private corporations benefit, but there are a significant number of communications companies that gained from the launch experience. And having that experience could certainly be considered a 'necessary precursor'.

Of course, if we don't tell the government that they are helping industry, it will probably be a much easier sell! ;)


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