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posted by martyb on Tuesday September 26 2017, @06:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the Mike-and-Manny-and-Wyo-say-"Hi!" dept.

https://phys.org/news/2017-09-moon-lunar-village.html (AFP)

By 2040, a hundred people will live on the Moon, melting ice for water, 3D-printing homes and tools, eating plants grown in lunar soil, and competing in low-gravity, "flying" sports.

To those who mock such talk as science fiction, experts such as Bernard Foing, ambassador of the European Space Agency-driven "Moon Village" scheme, reply the goal is not only reasonable but feasible too.

At a European Planetary Science Congress in Riga this week, Foing spelt out how humanity could gain a permanent foothold on Earth's satellite, and then expand.

He likened it to the growth of the railways, when villages grew around train stations, followed by businesses.

By 2030, there could be an initial lunar settlement of six to 10 pioneers—scientists, technicians and engineers—which could grow to 100 by 2040, he predicted.

"In 2050, you could have a thousand and then... naturally you could envisage to have family" joining crews there, Foing told AFP .


Original Submission

Related Stories

Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway 8 comments

Deep Space Gateway (DSG) is a planned space station in lunar orbit. The U.S. and Russia signed an agreement last year to work on the station's development. Now Russia has created an engineering department inside the RKK Energia space corporation in order to plan the nation's lunar exploration, including a possible manned landing:

Officially, Moscow has been on a path to put a human on the Moon since 2013, when President Putin approved a general direction for human space flight in the coming decade. The program had been stalling for several years due to falling prices for oil, the main source of revenue for the Russian budget. Last year, however, the Russian lunar exploration effort was given a new impetus when the Kremlin made a strategic decision to cooperate with NASA on the construction of a habitable outpost in the orbit around the Moon, known as Deep Space Gateway, DSG.

Although the US saw the primary goal of the DSG as a springboard for missions to Mars, NASA's international partners, including Russia, have been pushing the idea of exploring the Moon first. On the Russian side, RKK Energia led key engineering studies into the design of the DSG and participated in negotiations with NASA on sharing responsibilities for the project.

To coordinate various technical aspects of lunar exploration, the head of RKK Energia Vladimir Solntsev signed an order late last year to form Center No. 23Ts, which would report directly to him. According to a document seen by Ars Technica, the group will be responsible for developing long-term plans for human missions to the vicinity of the Moon and to its surface, as well as for implementing proposals for international cooperation in lunar missions. This is a clear signal that NASA might soon have a new liaison in Russia for all things related to the DSG. The same group will also take care of all the relevant domestic interactions between RKK Energia and its subcontractors.

Unlike the ISS, the DSG should not require any orbital boost burns and could reach any altitude above the Moon using ion thrusters.

Here are two op-eds from last year about the Deep Space Gateway:

Terry Virts: The Deep Space Gateway would shackle human exploration, not enable it

John Thornton: The Deep Space Gateway as a cislunar port

Related articles:


Original Submission

NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station 14 comments

The U.S. and Russia will work together to develop a space station orbiting the Moon. Canada, Japan, and the ESA have also expressed interest in the project:

At this year's International Astronautical Congress, NASA and Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, signed a joint statement expressing their intent to work collaboratively toward the development of a space station further out from Earth, orbiting the Moon, as a staging point for both lunar surface exploration and deeper space science.

This is part of NASA's expressed desire to explore and develop its so-called "deep space gateway" concept, which it intends to be a strategic base from which to expand the range and capabilities of human space exploration. NASA wants to get humans out into space beyond the Moon, in other words, and the gateway concept would establish an orbital space station in the vicinity of the Moon to help make this a more practical possibility.

Let's hope that the station, if built, becomes a refueling station that can store and distribute fuel produced on the Moon.

Deep Space Gateway. Also at The Guardian.

Previously: NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars

Related: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050
Scientists Scout Sub-Surface Settlement Sites on the Moon and Mars


Original Submission

Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022 16 comments

In a move intended to align with the National Space Council's call for NASA to return to the Moon, the United Launch Alliance intends to launch a Bigelow Aerospace B330 inflatable module into low Earth orbit, and later boost it into lunar orbit using a rocket which can have propellant transferred to it from another rocket:

Bigelow Aerospace, a company devoted to manufacturing inflatable space habitats, says it's planning to put one of its modules into orbit around the Moon within the next five years. The module going to lunar space will be the B330, Bigelow's design concept for a standalone habitat that can function autonomously as a commercial space station. The plan is for the B330 to serve as something of a lunar depot, where private companies can test out new technologies, or where astronauts can stay to undergo training for deep space missions.

"Our lunar depot plan is a strong complement to other plans intended to eventually put people on Mars," Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace, said in a statement. "It will provide NASA and America with an exciting and financially practical success opportunity that can be accomplished in the short term."

To put the habitat in lunar orbit, Bigelow is looking to get a boost from the United Launch Alliance. The B330 is slated to launch on top of ULA's future rocket, the Vulcan, which is supposed to begin missions no earlier than 2019. The plan is for the Vulcan to loft the B330 into lower Earth orbit, where it will stay for one year to demonstrate that it works properly in space. During that time, Bigelow hopes to send supplies to the station and rotate crew members in and out every few months.

After that, it'll be time to send the module to the Moon. ULA will launch two more Vulcan rockets, leaving both of the vehicles' upper stages in orbit. Called ACES, for Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage, these stages can remain in space, propelling other spacecraft to farther out destinations. ULA plans to transfer all of the propellant from one ACES to the other, using the fully fueled stage to propel the B330 the rest of the way to lunar orbit.

The B330 is the giant version of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

Previously: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
Should We Skip Mars for Now and Go to the Moon Again?
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
Buzz Aldrin: Retire the ISS to Reach Mars
China to Send Potato Farming Test Probe to the Moon
Stephen Hawking Urges Nations to Pursue Lunar Base and Mars Landing
Lockheed Martin Repurposing Shuttle Cargo Module to Use for Lunar Orbiting Base (could they be joined together?)
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module to Continue Stay at the International Space Station


Original Submission

Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview 49 comments

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin are looking to partner with NASA and ESA to help create settlements on the Moon. However, he implied that he would fund development of such a project himself if governments don't:

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos says his Blue Origin space venture will work with NASA as well as the European Space Agency to create a settlement on the moon. And even if Blue Origin can't strike public-private partnerships, Bezos will do what needs to be done to make it so, he said here at the International Space Development Conference on Friday night.

[...] To facilitate a return to the moon, Blue Origin has a lunar lander on the drawing boards that's designed to be capable of delivery 5 tons of payload to the lunar surface. That's hefty enough to be used for transporting people — and with enough support, it could start flying by the mid-2020s. Blue Origin has proposed building its Blue Moon lander under the terms of a public-private partnership with NASA. "By the way, we'll do that, even if NASA doesn't do it," Bezos said. "We'll do it eventually. We could do it a lot faster if there were a partnership."

[...] It's important to point out that moon settlement isn't just a NASA thing. Bezos told me he loves the European Space Agency's approach, known as the Moon Village. "The Moon Village concept has a nice property in that everybody basically just says, look, everybody builds their own lunar outpost, but let's do it close to each other. That way, if you need a cup of sugar, you can go over to the European Union lunar outpost and say, 'I got my powdered eggs, what have you got?' ... Obviously I'm being silly with the eggs, but there will be real things, like, 'Do you have some oxygen?' "

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday September 26 2017, @06:53AM (11 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @06:53AM (#572964)

    TFA proposes rocket launches from Moon as a profitable proposition

    • build the rockets there from basalt. Heavier than the thin tin used in the nowadays satellites, but the grav well is so much shallower.
      Now, I suppose that, assuming enough energy available, the magnesium (5-12%), aluminium (about 15%) and titanium (0.5%) in basalt [wikipedia.org] may actually be separated to be used as metallic alloys (lower the weight of the rocket)
    • rocket fuel - Hydrogen/Oxygen from Moon's water. Even if hydrogen is lighter, it burns at 3300C, providing highest specific impulse [nasa.gov]

    So
    1. build the massive rocket there
    2. get it to LEO and load it up with whatever the Earth sends into LEO
    3. go to your destination

    When the water on Moon starts to become scarce, take a trip to the asteroid belt and pick an icy one.

    Another possibility: build a massive torus ship (centrifugal gravity) from segments for a long manned space expedition (e.g. getting 200-500 colonist with all they need during trip and at destination into a Mars orbit in a flight 2-3 years long, without driving the colonists crazy with cabin fever)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @10:32AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @10:32AM (#573022)

      When the water on Moon starts to become scarce, ...

      Solar wind is almost completely protons. As long as there is oxygen (and I believe most of the rocky materials are metal oxides), you can replenish your fuel supply on any rock.

      However, there in low gravity potential gradient, it is a waste to use inefficient chemical rockets.
      Instead of investing energy on splitting chemical compounds, just to inefficiently recover small fraction of it in propulsion, use that energy in ion engines.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:18PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:18PM (#573057) Journal

        Solar wind is almost completely protons.

        The problem is density. I recall doing the calculations and getting that if one had a perfect collector on the Moon, one would get a few kilograms of hydrogen per square kilometer cross-section per year. The numbers get a lot better, if you get as close as you can to the Sun since the density of the solar wind goes up a lot as you get close, but it's still not going to be economic IMHO except possibly as an add on to some other far future operation (say anti-matter production).

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:22PM (3 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:22PM (#573058) Journal

      When the water on Moon starts to become scarce, take a trip to the asteroid belt and pick an icy one.

      Moon doesn't have an atmosphere so you can greatly reduce propellant need by using propulsion that doesn't depend on chemical propulsion such as a rail gun or even some sort of mechanical propulsion (such as a tether sling shot). If you have a way to catch payloads on the other side that also doesn't depend on propellant, then you can get away with no chemical propulsion at all.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:32PM

        by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:32PM (#573065)

        My guess? Building an interplanetary ship from pieces will require more control than a simple dead ballistic trajectory would be able to offer.
        But you are right - slinging or catapulting pieces which can tune/brake/correct the trajectory/speed to reach the desired orbital coordinates/speed will drastically reduce the reactive fuel consumption.

      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday September 26 2017, @07:55PM (1 child)

        by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @07:55PM (#573449)

        Without an atmosphere the "tumbling tether / orbital wheel" space elevator becomes far more appealing as well. A design which is particularly appealing for high-traffic scenarios as the wheel can act as a "momentum battery" with only incidental moving parts and near perfect efficiency, storing the momentum of landing payloads and delivering it to those being launched.

        I did some calculations several years ago suggesting that a "wheel" with a radius of a few hundred kilometers, spinning in sync with its orbit so that the rim matches speed with the ground, would (at proper launch windows in the Moon's orbit around the Earth) be capable of plucking a payload from the surface of the Moon and hurling it onto Hoffman orbits reaching a bit beyond either Mars or Venus, all while never exceeding ~1/4g of acceleration. Seems useful. And of course incoming payloads from either planet, if they arrived at exactly the right place and time, could ride the wheel down to a gentle landing on the surface.

        Of course that would require comparatively slow Hoffman transfer orbits, but that's fine for inert cargo.

        • (Score: 2) by dry on Wednesday September 27 2017, @12:50AM

          by dry (223) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @12:50AM (#573588)

          Problem with the Moon is that, gravity speaking, it's bumpy. Very few stable orbits and a wheel a couple of hundred km wide would probably be unstable.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Lester on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:41PM (3 children)

      by Lester (6231) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:41PM (#573239) Journal

      Well, the fact that gravity in Moon is 1/6 of Earth doesn't mean you can build rockets much more heavier.

      You need less velocity to escape from Moon's gravity field, but your rocket will also fly slower to its destination.

      There is a confusion between weight and mass. Weight depends on gravity, mass doesn't. And mass is important when you try to alter the movement of an object, stop it, move it or change its direction. Holding a 100Kg weight is easier in Moon than in Earth. In Moon you would feel it's only 17 Kg. But if you tried to move it up you wouldn't feel any difference, you would have to push with the same force. Once it has reach the velocity you expected, in Moon it would keep moving up longer, but to make it reach the velocity, you would have to do the same force in Moon and Earth

      Once you are out of gravity field, the energy needed to accelerate or slow down the rocket is the same no matter you came from Moon or from Earth. With no gravity, maneuvering a thin light rocket is much cheaper than maneuvering a heavy rocket. Moreover be aware than in the space you must fight always against Sun's gravity.

      So I don't think you could change a 100Kg thin metal satellite for a 1000Kg basalt satellite. Let alone that the weight is not the only difference between metal alloys used in rockets and basalt.

      Maybe you could build metallurgic factories to process basalt and extract metals, but I think that is far future, not what ESA is talking about

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:39AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:39AM (#573665) Journal

        Moreover be aware than in the space you must fight always against Sun's gravity.

        Not sure what you mean by that. You aren't blissfully going to escape the Solar System with a little boost and go. As I recall, it takes about as much delta v in Earth orbit to escape the Solar System (and the pull of the massive Sun) as it does to get to Earth orbit from the surface (hence the Heinlein saying that low Earth orbit is halfway to anywhere). But on the other hand, you don't need to expend propellant to fight against the Sun's gravity since you're already moving in an orbit that does all the fighting for you.

        • (Score: 2) by Lester on Wednesday September 27 2017, @01:34PM (1 child)

          by Lester (6231) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @01:34PM (#573786) Journal

          If you are moving from one planet to other means changing of orbit and need fuel. And I suppose that rockets will not only move from Moon to Earth

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:50PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:50PM (#573987) Journal
            Ok, that's reasonable. That incidentally is a very subtle problem. Propellant can be greatly reduced by exploiting gravity assists, which can come from the Earth, Moon, and the other massive objects in the Solar System. But such low propellant trajectories [wikipedia.org] typically exchange propellant delta-v for time.
    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:02PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:02PM (#573459)

      Not rockets, as increased mass wreaks havoc with acceleration, and getting off the moon is only the beginning. As they say, "Once you make it (from Earth) to orbit, you're halfway to anywhere in the solar system." But only halfway.

      Orbital habitats and industrial facilities though - those could indeed be worth building from basalt. Especially if high-energy radiation shielding is at all a concern - astronauts usually don't spend all that long in orbit in part because there's currently no way to effectively shield against high energy radiation - moderate increases in shielding actually increase your exposure due to particle cascades, you need the equivalent mass of several meters of rock to get the equivalent shielding we get from the Earth's atmosphere.

  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:16AM (6 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:16AM (#572975) Homepage
    Soon enough for me to be able to collect on the bet that I'm prepared to make that says it won't happen in that time frame.
    --
    Life is a precious commodity. A wise investor would get rid of it when it has the highest value.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:26AM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:26AM (#572979)

      We'll almost certainly have people on established bases on the moon by 2030. I'd expect the Chinese will be the first to do it. As the article mentions, SpaceX has already publicly announced they plan to take a manned crew on a moon flyby next year. There's a big difference between a flyby and residence, but when you have private organizations capable independently executing it (and private adventurers willing to fund it) then it's an inevitability. The technology isn't really the issue. It's just funding, which is becoming much more reliable as whimsical governments like the US are replaced by private ideologically driven interests (such as SpaceX) and technologically driven governments like China.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:57AM (4 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:57AM (#573048) Journal

        We'll almost certainly have people on established bases on the moon by 2030.

        Sounds like FatPhil will be able to make some money off of you. I'd take him up on that bet.

        I'd expect the Chinese will be the first to do it.

        Sorry, they need to be moving a lot faster, if they want to get there at all, much less be first. I agree that China can do it by 2030. I don't agree that they will, because I don't think they are trying.0

        The technology isn't really the issue. It's just funding, which is becoming much more reliable as whimsical governments like the US are replaced by private ideologically driven interests (such as SpaceX) and technologically driven governments like China.

        China is just another whimsical government though one that will have a lot of resources in the next two decades as it achieves developed world status. And funding for NASA and other space projects has been quite reliable (look at their budget, adjusted for inflation sometime - it's been quite stable since the mid 1970s). It just hasn't done very much that is useful.

        As to private sector, there needs to be a lot of development before I'd consider them serious competitors.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @07:22PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @07:22PM (#573412)

          And your information is, typically, unsubstantiated.

          China is already [independent.co.uk] actively pursuing a moon base with the ESA. I imagine you likely did not know they've also already soft landed a probe on the moon as well - becoming only the third nation to do so. China is a nation is incredibly technologically driven. They've already become the world leader in solar technology, are currently building a particle accelerator approximately 2x the scale of CERN, recently finished building the world's largest radio telescope, and much much more. Many of these projects have no immediate economic value - they are driven by knowledge and technology.

          NASA's budget has declined in real dollars. The real story is in where that budget goes. During its peak some 50+ years ago, it not only had a greater budget but it was directed almost exclusively to a single task. Today they receive less money and more importantly that money is earmarked for a variety of pointless go nowhere programs. The SLS, as an example, is the most prototypical example of government pork you can find - and it consumes a massive amount of NASA's resources each and every year. Their actual usable funding, once the mandatory pork spending is removed, is a small fraction of what it once was. This is why their "big" projects now a days are launching [relatively] cheap probes on a very irregular schedule.

          SpaceX is already sending things to orbit, recovering, and relaunching vessels for a fraction of the cost of government cost+ contracts (which are also more pork). Next year SpaceX will be sending a couple around the moon. And they're doing all of this on a shoestring budget while NASA's desired unmanned lunar flyby that they've dumped tens of billions of dollars into, and going on a decade of work, continues to go nowhere fast. They aren't competitors - they've already taken over the market. I'm hoping that companies like Blue Origin can become serious competitors. They've yet to do anything, but their pace of putting their first rocket into orbit to being a serious competitor could be very swift. Bezos' deep pockets could be a game changer in the deep space race.

          But yeah, read more. You continue to repeat unsubstantiated comments. I am completely happy with disagreement. I'm not happy with people stating things that seem to be sourced primarily from their own arse.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:16PM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:16PM (#573466) Journal

            China is already actively pursuing a moon base with the ESA.

            No actual work, of course. And you're forecasting a lunar colony in 13 years from a single mission four years ago?

            NASA's budget has declined in real dollars.

            No, it hasn't. For example, in real dollars the NASA budget is higher now than it was in the late 1970s. It has been higher, but it also has been lower.

            Next year SpaceX will be sending a couple around the moon.

            Unless, of course, they don't do that. Schedule slippage is a common thing and there have been projects such as propellant cross-feed on the Falcon Heavy that haven't come about.

            I'm not happy with people stating things that seem to be sourced primarily from their own arse.

            Me too.

            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @09:41AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @09:41AM (#573716)

              And again you resort to Reddit like behavior. Changing your own goal posts, habitually taking things out of context, and generally showing an inability to provide any valuable content whatsoever. Excuse the ad hominem but this is a recurring pattern from you, and seemingly only you. Okay, we can all forgive Aristarchus. He's clearly touched. I do not believe you are. Act like an adult.

              This [wikipedia.org] is the udget of NASA. Their peak in 1966 was about 43.6 billion dollars - almost all dedicated to a single project. Following our victory that precipitously declined to where it finally bottomed out in the late 70s, which is where you had to go to find a point lower than today. The lowest level it reached was about 14.3 billion dollars. It then saw a modest climb peaking up to 23.7 billion in 1992 - 25 years ago. It's been on a constant decline ever since down now to 18.x billion. And again huge chunks of that already modest budget are eaten up by mandatory spending that's acccomplishing absolutely nothing.

              The rest of your pointless nit picks are you shifting your goal posts, as usual - since most of everything you state is provably wrong.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:43PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:43PM (#573981) Journal

                And again you resort to Reddit like behavior. Changing your own goal posts, habitually taking things out of context, and generally showing an inability to provide any valuable content whatsoever. Excuse the ad hominem but this is a recurring pattern from you, and seemingly only you. Okay, we can all forgive Aristarchus. He's clearly touched. I do not believe you are. Act like an adult.

                You are right. This is ad hominem and irrelevant to the discussion. Let's move on.

                There are several things to remember about the Chinese space program though not a one is unique to them:

                1) Their efforts move at a snail's pace.

                2) They've made promises like this repeatedly over the past couple of decades and haven't delivered on them.

                3) Their leaders are very sensitive to risk.

                4) And there's a lot that needs to happen between demonstration of humans in space and a soft landing on the Moon, till we see some sort of colony or outpost on the Moon. This progress isn't happening.

                The entirety of aerospace, whether it be government programs or private efforts is chock full of these sorts of problems and delays. After you've spent a few decades observing such issues, you get a feeling for what isn't serious. Announcements without any sort of concrete schedule is an example of what isn't serious.

                This [wikipedia.org] is the udget of NASA. Their peak in 1966 was about 43.6 billion dollars - almost all dedicated to a single project. Following our victory that precipitously declined to where it finally bottomed out in the late 70s, which is where you had to go to find a point lower than today. The lowest level it reached was about 14.3 billion dollars. It then saw a modest climb peaking up to 23.7 billion in 1992 - 25 years ago. It's been on a constant decline ever since down now to 18.x billion. And again huge chunks of that already modest budget are eaten up by mandatory spending that's acccomplishing absolutely nothing.

                Yes, that's what I called nearly constant. We had mandatory spending accomplishing nothing back then too with the Shuttle operating and ISS development underway. That would be more in current dollars than the current SLS development costs per year.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:18AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:18AM (#572977)

    The moon is not a great place for residence. Seemingly unmentioned is the two week long nights or the cyclic extremes in temperature going from 400 degrees F during the day weeks to -330 F during the night weeks. And we haven't even gotten into gravity yet. The people who resided on the moon for any length of time would likely be physically unable to ever return to Earth. Even relatively short voyages on the ISS result in extensive bone and muscle deterioration. Mars has about 1/3rd Earth gravity. The moon has one half of that. And that's just scratching the surface of its inhospitability. I plan to be one of the first human colonists on Mars once open commercial colonization becomes possible, but I think residing on the Moon is borderline crazy. Certainly far from impossible, but nothing I'd want to partake in except for a temporary visit.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:58AM (#572992)

      Astronauts can last over a year in microgravity without being physically unable to ever return to Earth. Like Valeri Polyakov [wikipedia.org]:

      Polyakov underwent medical assessments before, during, and after the flight. He also underwent two follow-up examinations six months after returning to Earth. When researchers compared the results of these medical exams, it was revealed that although there were no impairments of cognitive functions, Polyakov experienced a clear decline in mood as well as a feeling of increased workload during the first few weeks of spaceflight and return to Earth.[6][7] However, Polyakov's mood stabilized to pre-flight levels between the second and fourteenth month of his mission. It was also revealed that Polyakov did not suffer from any prolonged performance impairments after returning to Earth. In light of these findings, researchers concluded that a stable mood and overall function could be maintained during extended duration spaceflights, such as manned missions to Mars.

      On the Moon, you would be able to do a more useful variety of physical training than on the ISS. Fluid in your body would run downwards as expected.

      The Moon is much closer than Mars. If someone needs to be sent back to Earth for medical reasons, that can be done in days instead of months or years. The proximity makes getting cargo there much easier, and all missions need less fuel compared to Mars.

      The temperature extremes did not kill the Apollo astronauts. You have to be in a spacesuit at all times to run around on Mars, so there is little advantage there over the Moon.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @09:01AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @09:01AM (#572994)

      I am certain there will be many volunteers willing to take a one way ticket to the moon.
      In 20 or 30 years, assuming the kids are independent and my wife will agree to come with, I will be willing to do it myself (I'm 34 now).
      I turned out alright even though my father died when I was 21, so I think mine should be fine with their parents on the moon.

      It would probably be extremely painful to not be able to hug grandkids, but why waste young people on building the colony, when I'd most likely still be reasonably healthy, while at the same time more or less expendable?

      • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday September 26 2017, @09:23AM

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @09:23AM (#573002) Journal

        Maybe the grandkids can come visit. A retirement on the moon might be quite nice, since low gravity will help mitigate the arthritis and mobility issues of old age.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @10:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @10:38AM (#573026)

        It would probably be extremely painful to not be able to hug grandkids,

        Not a problem, telehaptics VR can already solve that. Smell will have to wait a little, though, but they are working on that too.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Wednesday September 27 2017, @01:43AM

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 27 2017, @01:43AM (#573606) Homepage Journal

        I've said before: I WILL volunteer to help start a base on the moon. I would not volunteer to DIE on Mars.

        I agree with the article: build a base on the moon and use it to go to Mars. Meanwhile, try setting up a colony on the moon, work out bugs and use them for success on Mars.

        Moon first.

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:59AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:59AM (#573051) Journal

      The moon is not a great place for residence.

      Ok, so what? I don't know about everyone else, but I don't want humans (or myself for that matter) living on the Moon just because it is hard. Instead, I think there will be huge economic benefits in the long run from a human presence on the Moon.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:32PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:32PM (#573067)

      The moon is not a great place for residence.

      No known place except Earth is.

      Seemingly unmentioned is the two week long nights or the cyclic extremes in temperature going from 400 degrees F during the day weeks to -330 F during the night weeks.

      Do your habitat underground (it's a good idea anyway, due to radiation, as you are not protected by Earth's magnetic field — that's true also on Mars), then the ground shields you from extreme temperatures.

      BTW, what about a habitat near one of the poles?

      The people who resided on the moon for any length of time would likely be physically unable to ever return to Earth.

      The Moon has 1/6 of the gravity of Earth. While we have no long-term data for living under those conditions, it's certainly far less extreme than microgravity as on the ISS. In particular. you're still putting force on your bones; if that alone is not sufficient, just carry around extra weight (as soon as you leave the habitat, you'll have to do that anyway, due to your space suit).

      And if that is not sufficient, occasional larger accelerations are not really a problem: Every amusement park offers that.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:36PM (#573567)

        ...as some folks on Earth already do with e.g. ankle weights [google.com]
        Make a suit out of the same stuff (lead pellets in pouches) and wear it a few hours a day.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ledow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @10:23AM

    by ledow (5567) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @10:23AM (#573020) Homepage

    Reasonable.

    Viable.

    And entirely possible.

    All you need is someone willing to spend several tens of billions with that in mind and it's perfectly possible. Oh, and they'll probably never see a penny of it back.

    Like the situation has been since the late 60's, at least. We could have just spent more money and started to have done this on Apollo 12 if anyone had actually wanted to.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:32AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @11:32AM (#573039)

    Humans don't belong on a giant asteroid.
    It would be infinitely easier to settle them in colonies on Antarctica--but why does nobody propose that? Oh, right, because it is POINTLESS.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:12PM (3 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:12PM (#573055) Journal

      Humans don't belong on a giant asteroid.

      Humans don't "belong" anywhere, yet they're already all over the place, including Antarctica.

      It would be infinitely easier to settle them in colonies on Antarctica--but why does nobody propose that?

      There are many colonies in Antarctica. But no one proposes anything beyond that because treaty [wikipedia.org] blocks development of Antarctica. In particular, from the The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty [nsf.gov]:

      Prohibition of Mineral Resource Activities

      Any activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research, shall be prohibited.

      While I can see the environmentalism-based reasoning behind this, it remains that there's a huge legal obstacle just to looking for mineral resources, which would be one of the key drivers for a colonization of Antarctica.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @12:35PM (#573070)

        The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty [nsf.gov]

        Not Safe For Government? ☺

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:12PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:12PM (#573216)

        You are going to tell me with a straight face that a treaty is what is stopping a land rush to settle the bountiful land of Antarctica? It's only got a relatively
        small number of people doing a tour of duty there for their govt as a means to secure their country's claim on the continent, should events change. (Yes, the govt will fund science work there, but the main purpose is to keep the station manned.) Even with the treaty, nobody wants another country to jump everyone else's claim and start resource extraction getting all the goodies to itself. Not that it has been economical yet to start doing any of that.

        But Antarctica is just one example. I could point to a number of large deserts with basically nobody living there and point out the same thing: all of those places are infinitely easier to live in than the moon or Mars... yet there is no push to colonize those places. Why not? Because there is nothing to be gained.

        The only logical argument I could see for settling another world is to have a backup of humanity in case the entire Earth became uninhabitable, but I find that unbelievably far fetched as even a ruined Earth is far, far more habitable than any other world in our solar system could EVER BE.

        If you say the answer is for people to leave the solar system and find a human compatible, Earth like world, I must point out the vast distances in light years and conclude that you are delusional--unless you have managed to break the laws of physics and invent the warp drive.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:00PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @08:00PM (#573454) Journal

          You are going to tell me with a straight face that a treaty is what is stopping a land rush to settle the bountiful land of Antarctica?

          I'm not "going to", I already did.

          Not that it has been economical yet to start doing any of that.

          Exactly. It's illegal to even look for something economical. There's no point to even starting.

          I could point to a number of large deserts with basically nobody living there and point out the same thing: all of those places are infinitely easier to live in than the moon or Mars... yet there is no push to colonize those places.

          They're already been colonized and some have very large cities (eg, the cities of the Middle East and North Africa, or those in the western US area).

          The only logical argument I could see for settling another world is to have a backup of humanity in case the entire Earth became uninhabitable, but I find that unbelievably far fetched as even a ruined Earth is far, far more habitable than any other world in our solar system could EVER BE.

          Unless, of course, being on Earth means you are dead. Then it quite possible for other parts of the Solar System to be more habitable, particularly, if one goes through the trouble of creating habitats that make living in those other places just as comfortable as living on the best places on Earth.

          I see a variety of other logical arguments. First, resources in space can be used on Earth. Just because it isn't economical now to bring space resources to Earth doesn't mean it will stay uneconomical forever. We're already seeing a large decline in the cost of access to space.

          Second, a considerable number of people want to go to space. While it's not very economical now to do so, once again, the trend is towards making it cheaper.

          Third, economies generate their own gravity. If you can build a self-sustaining and growing colony (or network of colonies), it will create its own value and economic activity even in the absence of significant trade from Earth.

          Fourth, living in the many peculiar environments off of Earth is a strong force for innovation while no similar impetus exists on most of Earth.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:01PM (#573156)

      humans belong everywhere they can/want to live.
      whether or not you agree, humans will colonize other planets, and in order for the technology to mature, it needs to be developed and tested.
      and the moon is close, while at the same time harsher than Mars and the interesting moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
      so it's a good testing ground.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:37PM (1 child)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:37PM (#573186)

      Sort of agree, but for the opposite reason--we'd be much better settling on a rock farther away than the moon, because the moon is still close enough to Earth for a colony there to not save us from an extinction-level event.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:40PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:40PM (#573190)

        *to not save us from several kinds of extinction-level events. blarg

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:56PM

      by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday September 26 2017, @03:56PM (#573204) Journal

      The Moon and asteroids with a fraction of the Moon's mass, like Ceres, are big balls of untapped resources.

      We know people can live there. If they can do it by using local resources instead of being dependent on resupply, then permanent colonies will take hold there eventually.

      Antarctica treaty issues aside, there is no biosphere to speak of on the Moon's surface. Nothing to contaminate other than a few heritage sites.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday September 26 2017, @01:35PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @01:35PM (#573091) Journal

    The natives [imdb.com] might have something to say about the ESA's moon village.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:19PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:19PM (#573218)

    It just so happens to be that by 2050 they'll have those fusion reactors up and running . . .

  • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:25PM (1 child)

    by crafoo (6639) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:25PM (#573220)

    Given the state of demographics and public policy in the 3 EU member countries leading innovation and economic progress ... in 30-50 years they won't be putting people in space much less landing them on the moon.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26 2017, @04:31PM (#573227)

      Cobblers'.

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