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back to article NASA suggests robotic return to the Moon

A “return to the Moon” would need an almost unimaginable change in political thinking about the cost of space programs, but that doesn’t stop dreamers from dreaming. A group of researchers that includes members from NASA, Caltech’s JPL, Lockheed-Martin and a handful of high-profile institutions have proposed a human return to …

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Space Shuttle was an in-city delivery van

I dont think the Shuttle gave anyone access to "deep space". It was a LEO delivery van.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Space Shuttle was an in-city delivery van

Thanks - I have deleted that reference. It was spurious anyway.

Richard Chirgwin

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Pirate

0.2 sec's lag could become a problem against the E.T's..

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Bronze badge
Meh

The manned aspect seems a bit spurious

The paper is fairly frank about this:

The proposed science objectives do not require teleoperation of a rover from L2 since this science might be better accomplished with the assistance of a human crew on the surface or less effectively via control from Earth using a relay satellite at L2. However, by using teleoperation of rovers by astronauts at L2, this mission would demonstrate human “virtual presence” from orbit to explore and deploy sophisticated science instrumentation on an extraterrestrial body (see also Lester and Thronson 2011b)

Naively I feel quite confident that human virtual presence would work from orbit without needing to see it expensively demonstrated - this isn't wouldn't be like the decision to go "all-up" with Apollo 4 where an entire system was being tested for the first time, but instead taking things we already do well on and from Earth and doing them off-Earth. And while having a 0.4s signal RTT is better than a 2.4s one from Earth the latter seems usably fast at likely robot speeds - it's not like trying to control stuff on another planet.

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Facepalm

Dark Side of the Moon

"...which will have landed on the dark side of the moon..."

"There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark."

You did, of course, mean the far side, which gets as much sun as the near side.

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Re: Dark Side of the Moon

It's still dark - blacker than coal dust, more or less.

Imagine how bright nights would be if it had an albedo worth mentioning.

"Pave the earth. Chrome the moon"

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Question

If the moon has a dark surface why could I take well exposed photographs exposed as if it was a mid grey subject in bright sunlight ?

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Anonymous Coward

0.2 second ping

is better than I currently get playing Battlefield.

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Re: 0.2 second ping

It is not an 0.2 second response because that is the time for a single transmission. Effectively there is 0.4 seconds delay between the signals going up ( or down ) and the reply going down ( or up ).

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Gold badge

0.2sec shorter than the delay on a satellite phone call.

And what are those little red triangles all about.

NASA is playing a 2-2-2 lineup?

Note this has 2 good point.

Experience of humans at the L2 point, which *could* be used as a staging point for various destinations outside Earth/Moon space

Experience of teleoperation which could be useful if you went to one of the Martian moons *without* a full scale Mars landing. IIRC they are so small that it's less a landing and more a *docking* given their escape velocity.

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Not AT L2...

But in a Halo orbit around it...as this would allow line of sight back to the earth for comms. If you were just at L2, then you couldn't see (or communicate back to) the earth...

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then you couldn't see (or communicate back to) the earth...

Well it's one way of avoiding calls from double glazing salesmen...

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Coat

Target...

"... the Schroedinger basin ..."

Presumably it will only be determined whether or not the target area will yield good information when the lander arrives there.

It has a catnip mouse in one pocket.

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Happy

Re: Target...

"Schroedinger basin" where there may or may not be a cat...

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Meh

Re: Target...

Yes but if there is a cat there, as it's near as dammit a vacuum, the temperature ranges from lethally cold to lethally hot and the radiation levels are fierce, it'll definately be dead. Probably quite messily so, in an asphyxiated, blood-boiling, exploded, fried, frozen and irradiated sort of manner.

Maybe it's not such a great name?

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L2 Halo orbit

You'd need that to be able to communicate with the south polar area anyway - which means that 75% of the time you won't be able to communicate with it unless there's a set of orbiting comms sats (this was the proposed solution 40 years ago for darkside apollo missions)

31 days life support isn't much of an issue. 31 days outside of the shielding provided by Earth's magnetosphere is a different matter with current space tech. Nothing we have _and which can be lifted that far with current tech_ will provide sufficient shielding. Water is the best moderator but it's HEAVY.

FWIW, being in the path of a small-to-average solar flare will kill any unshielded organism, but even without those there are much higher energy bursts popping in from all directions - the longer someone's out there the more likely it becomes that something will get zapped and go cancerous.

Those big-ass space navy ships so beloved by SF have a lot of practicality in terms of protecting the meatsacks inside.

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Re: L2 Halo orbit

One possible way to get around lack of shielding would be automated (robotic) excavation of water ice , before sending any humans there. Excavation of required amount of water would likely take a very long time, though.

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Re: L2 Halo orbit

The ONLY justification that I know for even sending folks to Luna-L2 is to use the Moon as a shield from the Sun...

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Unhappy

Radiation exposure

That the Apollo astronauts reported seeing flashes every 3 minutes while beyond LEO remains haunting - all those Cherenkov events, like a reactor cooling pond, only inside the eyeball (it could be a direct neural effect, but my version is even spookier :-) )

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But why ?

Curiosity and the Google driverless car show that we humans are redundant.

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Facepalm

So ,,,,,,Nasa still cant get a man on the moon huh !

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Robots are the right way to do this

Why send a meatsack to do a robot's job?

Sure you want a person there if you're making a political statement or trying to make good TV (playing golf etc), but when it comes to doing science the robots can do it as well - or even better - for less money.

About the only win in sending a man to the moon in the 60s was that it beat the Russians at something.

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