Author Topic: 50 Years since the Moon Landing....and....?  (Read 137 times)

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Offline SuperColinBlow

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Re: 50 Years since the Moon Landing....and....?
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2019, 10:09:23 pm »
Where, at what cost, and research what?

Where: Polar regions seem the most likely due to the presence of ice. Although the Sun would be close to the horizon, energy could still be harvested from solar panels due to the lack of an atmosphere interfering. The challenge would be to bring up enough batteries to last through the night (13 days), or long enough power cables to stretch to where it was day. A huge challenge is protecting against solar flares because the moon lacks an atmosphere and significant magnetic field to protect you from them (the ISS has far more protection than the Moon). Underground structures are the best bet, but a suitable underground cavern would need to be found near a polar region first.

At what cost: To meet the above challenges, a lot of weight in construction materials would need to brought there. The Saturn V could send about 90,000 lbs to lunar orbit, but less than 10% of that ever reached the surface (soft landing). My best guess is maybe 50% in a transport optimized lander could reach the surface. That means about 20 Saturn V size missions to bring the equivalent of the ISS to the lunar surface. Crew missions would be additional. The real unanswered question is how much would be required to build a structure capable of protecting against solar flares.

Research what: That is the big question. Not what you want to research, but what can you research better by a manned mission rather than remote sensing or robotics.

You're speaking of the inefficiency of getting payloads (including people) into space by chemical rockets? I've read about that, including the idea of a space elevator. But of course a space elevator is lights years ahead of our current technology.