back to article China wants to bring home moon rocks in moon vacuum

When humans first made the long trip to the Moon, we were more worried about whether something from out there might contaminate us back here. So in the early days there was more attention paid to quarantining returning astronauts than to keeping their returned samples free of contaminants from Earth. China's space agency is …

  1. Malc

    Vacuum Pump

    How do they get the vacuum in there?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vacuum Pump

      It's not easy. Vacuum abhors enclosed spaces and will escape at the first opportunity.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Vacuum Pump

      Very carefully? Or maybe toss in a biscuit and hope the vacuum follows it?

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: How do they get the vacuum in there?

      Shouldn't be that difficult : bring the container to the Moon surface, open it and woosh!, air gone.

      What will be a bit more difficult is preparing the vacuum examination chamber, but that will be on Earth and, therefor, a pump will be available.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: How do they get the vacuum in there?

        "...What will be a bit more difficult is preparing the vacuum examination chamber, "

        Naw- fill an extra bag with moon vacuum...

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: How do they get the vacuum in there?

          ...not only that, but where does the vacuum go if you let in the air? You can use a one-way valve so nothing can come out while the air goes in, and in the end the vacuum is still gone! How?!? Spooky...!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: How do they get the vacuum in there?

        "What will be a bit more difficult is preparing the vacuum examination chamber, but that will be on Earth and, therefor, a pump will be available."

        The absolute best vacuum pumps on the planet still can't pull anything as good as the partial pressure you find up at ISS level, let alone what's found on the moon.

        Disclosure: I work with people who build/test spacecraft parts. They have these pumps.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: How do they get the vacuum in there?

          The absolute best vacuum pumps on the planet still can't pull anything as good as the partial pressure you find up at ISS level, let alone what's found on the moon.

          So, can't they run a hose up to the ISS, to pipe the vacuum down to your facilities?

    4. John Tserkezis

      Re: Vacuum Pump

      "How do they get the vacuum in there?"

      Same way they got vacuum on the first fake moon landing.

      If they can fake a man landing on the moon, shirely they can fake a vacuum. Duh.

  2. IvyKing

    Dealing with lunar dust?

    I wonder how they are planning to deal with lunar dust, can't imagine the dust doing any good for vacuum seals.

    1. choleric

      Re: Dealing with lunar dust?

      No indeed.

      They should also watch out for crumbs of Wensleydale and crackers. Wouldn't want to waste any of that now, would we Gromit?

      1. TitterYeNot
        Coat

        Re: Dealing with lunar dust?

        "They should also watch out for crumbs of Wensleydale and crackers"

        Pfft. Pure fiction. In reality the issue they will be most worried about is soup and blue string contamination. That stuff gets everywhere...

    2. Known Hero

      Re: Dealing with lunar dust?

      Don't be daft, Holographic dust on a holographic moon isn't going to affect a vacuum seal !!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dealing with lunar dust?

      Vacuum seals have it tough. No one can hear them bark, or clap, or blow horns...

    4. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Dealing with lunar dust?

      "I wonder how they are planning to deal with lunar dust"

      With a lunar duster silly!

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    The Apollo sample return boxes were vacuum-proof too

    On the large version of that picture, you can see the 4-stage seal system.

    The bottom lock mechanism has a lever system designed to close it pretty tightly.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    Chinese takeaway

    No 95 schezwan vaccum with Al Bean sauce.

    OK, I'm suiting up and stepping outside...

  5. x 7

    with all those penis extenders on sale on Ali Baba, the Chinese must have built up a fair bit of experience in vacuum technology

  6. hplasm Silver badge
    Joke

    So-

    Dad, what happens if I try to breathe in a vacuum?

    You'll Dyson.

    1. Oengus Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: So-

      That sucks

      1. Neoc
        Joke

        Re: So-

        Actually, it blows.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought the correct way to transport it would be on a stick?

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      > I thought the correct way to transport it would be on a stick?

      Only if it's a (sort of) fresh rat.

  8. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    How old hat ...

    So NASA carried their samples in a box, and the Chinese are now using a vacuum flask. When I were a lad me Dad used both every day just to carry his lunch to work, so I dunno what's 'sposed to be so clever.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: How old hat ...

      Oh, we used to dream about having a lunch box and a thermos! Best we could manage was an old shoe box without a lit we found on the rubbish tip and a rinsed out urine bottle we stole from the hospital.

      1. Ali Um Bongo
        Windows

        Re: How old hat ...

        You 'ad a *rinsed out* urine bottle?

        Oooh. Get Mr. La-de-Da, wiv 'is urine bottle all rinsed out for 'im! By 'is butler, no doubt. Bloody pampered jessie!

        Traces of urine left in t'bottle was nearest we got t'lemonade when we was kids!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: How old hat ...

      "So NASA carried their samples in a box"

      The samples were bagged in the box. Recall what happens when you take the air out of a freezer bag.

      This is a much easier/lighter way of transporting things than having to build a (inverse) pressure vessel and transport it to the moon.

      I applaud the chinese for the thought, but there are simpler ways of bringing things back from space.

  9. Oengus Silver badge
    Coat

    Getting the vacuum is easy. Maintaining it when you return to Earth is the hard part. Even harder is getting the instruments needed for analysis into the Lunar vacuum back on Earth. (A hard Earth vacuum might not equal the Lunar Vacuum.)

    If the issue is contamination of the sample then you have the problem of what contaminants do the instruments bring with them?

    Solution: send an automated analysis lab to the moon. Have it expose itself to the Lunar vacuum for a period of time to remove the terrestrial contaminants. Have the lab then relocate itself to a new position where there are no residual comtaminants and then start the analysis. Report the results back to earth via radio after the analysis is complete. Do not report during the analysis as this may alter the results... No samples need to be returned to Earth.

    Of course you can't do that because you would have no physical objects to put on display in museums or to sell to collectors to help recover the cost of the mission.

    Mine's the one with the moonstone in the pocket.

  10. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Hang on - if they take vacuum containers with them

    Won't our earth vacuum contaminate the lunar vacuum? Couldn't they take the container there in kit form, assemble it on the moon and fill it with the (easily available and cheap) lunar vacuum?

  11. Martin Maloney
    Trollface

    I just can't help it, folks

    Q; What do a male walrus and a Chinese vacuum flask have in common?

    A: They both like a good, tight seal.

  12. x 7

    new marketing outlet

    if space vacuum is really that better than earth vacuum, we should bottle it and bring it down to earth for use in a new generation of penis enlargement devices. You could make a fortune, especially among the Chinese (who as we all know are not so well hung as us Europeans)

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