Hasn't the Dragon capsule been regularly successfully splashing down under parachutes?
NASA adminstrator Jim Bridenstine on Friday announced the companies the US space agency plans to pay to send its next science experiments to the Moon. The selection is part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) programme, which aims to set the boffins' gear down on the lunar surface using landers. The good news …
IIRC the actual problem is with the second source of line cutters.
The parachutes open in stages so they do not get ripped to shreds when the capsule is falling rapidly. At least one of those stages involves cutting a piece of string. There was only one source of line cutters. Demand for these parts was approaching the supply limit so SpaceX found an second source. NASA is part way through deciding if the second source is reliable enough.
That image (which is of the _far_ side, incidentally; if it were the _dark_ side, it wouldn't be sunlit) is interesting. A small bit of measurement tells me the moon appears about six times larger than the earth (despite actually having a quarter the diameter). It must have been taken at a point about 16000 km from the moon, and about 400000 km from the earth.
I think it must have been taken by the Chinese Queqiao probe, sent up to the Earth-Moon L2 point earlier this year (to serve as a communications relay to the far side for an upcoming lander). I can't come up with anything else that would have had that viewpoint.
I'd have liked to have seen Bigelow get involved in seeing if a lander could deploy one of their self-inflating habitats. And maybe a rover to drive a safe distance away to mark a target for a lander to aim for. We've seen what SpaceX can do with an atmospheric landing using the assistance of fins, lets see who can land that accurately using only reaction engines within walking distance of ready and waiting habitat.
I think I'm not alone when it comes to cost saving - a holiday can sometimes pay for itself if you have the sense to return with commodities that will save you hundred's of pounds in living expenses later.
So why don't missions to the Moon start with launching a robotic scoop and poop. It can roam across the Moon scooping up dust with the intention of separating the helium-3, which it then poops near the proposed landing site of the next mission.
When the mission returns, the helium 3 could be sold, which would then, more or less, cover the costs of the mission, and hence fund the next mission.
1. what's the price of Helium 3?
Wikipedia says 70,000 litres is 8kg, and 1 litre reached a peak price of $2000 although it has declined since then; so a kilogram *might* be worth up to $17.5m
That's for specialised applications though. Whether it would be worth that much when burned to generate electricity is another matter.
Again thanks to Wikipedia, it would take 6g (at 100% efficiency) to generate a gigawatt for one hour; maybe 15g at a more realistic efficiency estimate.
If 1 kWh wholesales for 10c, then 1 GWh sells for $100; 1kg of He3 is thus worth about $6,700.
So maybe 1 tonne would be worth $6.7m.
2. how much does it cost to mine a ton of Helium 3 on the moon?
No idea, but Wikipedia says you'd have to process over 150 million tons of regolith to get 1 tonne of Helium 3. Sounds like a lot of machinery wear and tear.
3. how much does it cost to get a ton of the stuff from the moon to the earth?
I'll leave that as exercise for the reader :-)
stage to show the landings in full 8K TV to the drug addled public in the USA.
No need to actually go to the moon. The Apollo missions didn't land there so why change it now?
Whichever company builds the most realistic Moonscape will win the contract. NASA simply does not have the money to do anything these days.
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