Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Returning to the Moon - This house believes that NASA should not send humans back to the Moon

Phil Harris forwarded a message about a debate being conducted on the ECONOMIST website which you might like to take part in or at least read the discussion and comments.
- LRK -
8/4/09 - Today, THE ECONOMIST begins and online debate on whether NASA should return to the Moon by 2020 as per US National Space Policy!

As you know, this is a global newspaper with much influence. As a subscriber, I have for years tried to alter their myopic position on space, which reflects the view of some astronomers and space scientists - namely invest in unmanned, automated space science, and play down human missions. Recently, they wrote a feature that began to express a broader view on humanity going beyond Earth. It was written by Natasha Loder, and enclosed is her response to my E mail of congratulations (The Economist, July 16th, 2009, pp.77-78)..

Since you are the experts in manned missions, kindly express your rationale for returning to the Moon permanently, I urge you immediately to participate in this debate @ I made my case for this in my 2009 book, Living and Working Offworld in the 21st Century (

WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN THIS DIALOG TO SWING PUBLIC OPINION IN FAVOR OF UTILIZING LUNAR RESOURCES. The mass of American public know little about our government's lunar plans, and the spending logic for putting their taxes into space development. PLEASE PARTICIPATE. THANK YOU.

AD ASTRA. Phil Harris

From: "Natasha Loder" <>
Date: Sun, 02 Aug 2009 22:25:20 +0100
Subject: Re: Fwd: OVER THE MOON !
Hi Phil
we are starting a debate about whether NASA should return to the moon which starts on the 4th.

Given your interest in this subject, I'd urge you to express any opinions on this subject through this forum (although please note this isn't an invitation to promote your book).

Kind regards,



Well now, the debate is whether NASA should send humans to the Moon and the motion before the debate is that NASA NOT send humans.
You can read into that introduction that NASA should not do the sending.
Check it out.
- LRK -

I hope you find that there is an interest in going back to the Moon for full development of its resources.
The question above is more about who should or should not be doing the sending.
This begs the question of who has the money and interest in sending humans to the Moon, and what would be the advantage in sending them to develop a permanent presence.
- LRK -

Then we open up the question of the Moon or Mars and when to the stars.
- LRK -

Its Moon Vs Mars Time Again

Next Step or No Step, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"The Moon can be reached with existing launch assets; although NASA is currently bogged down in a debate about rocket development, the real issues are how you go back to the Moon and what you do there. The Moon offers the material and energy resources to develop the technology and skills necessary for sustained, long duration capability in space. ... Mars First advocates worry about getting "stuck on the Moon." In fact, it is their obsession for Mars that has kept us in low Earth orbit for the last 40 years. By relentlessly pushing for a space goal that is well out of our technical and fiscal reach, they have gotten an undesired (but not unexpected) result: stasis. There is no choice. You use the Moon or you get nothing. Right now, Mars is a bridge too far - we need the stepping-stone of our Moon to reach it."


A lot of comments on the NASA Watch web site and on the article site.
An interesting read, take a look.
- LRK -

The Once and Future Moon by Paul D. Spudis
August 3, 2009

Next Step or No Step

The Moon versus Mars controversy has reared its ugly head yet again.
For the newcomers, this is the perennial “debate” among space buffs about what the next destination in space should be. I do not mean to suggest that all possibilities are encompassed by these two options; it just seems that most advocates fall into one or the other of these
two camps.

In part, this argument has arisen because the Augustine Commission, currently deliberating the future of NASA’s human spaceflight program, has resurrected the debate with an architectural option they call “Mars First” (a.k.a. Mars Direct, Direct to Mars, Apollo to Mars and Mars-in-MY-lifetime), beloved of the Mars Society and ex-astronauts everywhere. Briefly, this plan calls for sending people to Mars as soon as possible – no Moon, no asteroids, no L-points: do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200. In such a scenario, all pieces of the Mars mission are launched directly from the Earth; this roughly one-million-pound on-orbit mass includes all the propellant needed for the trip, which makes up about 85% of the mass of the spacecraft.

The Mars First option follows the “Apollo template.” In 1961, faced by the political necessity to get men to the Moon and back within a decade, Wernher von Braun designed the biggest rocket he could imagine – basically a scaled-up, clustered V-2 – to lift all of the parts he needed into space. This super heavy lift vehicle was actually a family of rockets (Saturn class), whose ultimate behemoth was the Nova, a vehicle with a lift-off weight exceeding 13 million pounds. Fortunately, the choice of lunar orbit rendezvous for the Apollo mission mode made Nova unnecessary and a self-contained mission was launched by a single, smaller (7 million pound) Saturn V.

The Apollo template makes use of maximum disposability. As the mission proceeds and each flight element is thrown away, unused and unusable, the vehicle gets smaller and lighter. For some items, such as fuel tanks and structural elements, this doesn’t introduce unwarranted penalties, but some parts of the vehicle are high in cost and value. Within the Apollo template, however, their loss is inevitable.

A significant part of the Apollo template is the lack of infrastructure legacy, i.e., the elements brought to a destination that are available for use by the next crew. We need to develop an architecture that leaves equipment in place for future use and expansion by subsequent visitors. This is one reason why sortie missions are inferior to establishing an outpost or a base; sortie missions spread surface assets over a large area where they cannot mutually support each other.


Let us say we have decided to go back to the Moon and we want to get around on a dune buggy.
What kind of tires do you want to use this time as we expect to have for than two on board with more supplies.
See what you think about Good Year's design.
- LRK -

By Wes Siler, 1:40 PM on Fri Apr 11 2008, 2,558 views

With missions to the Moon and eventually Mars in the cards, NASA is in need of a new tire capable of supporting surface exploration. Goodyear has unveiled this tire as a potential solution. Based on the original wire mesh 1960s Lunar Rover tires, they've been updated to fulfill NASA's much increased needs.

The original LRV tires were woven out of piano wire and capable of supporting 60lbs for up to 75 miles. These new version adopt a denser weave and more advanced materials, with the goal of being able to support up to 600lbs over 100 miles. These concepts will be one of several designs strenuously tested across the remainder of the year, with a final version scheduled for released next winter.

and a later version.
- LRK -

Goodyear and NASA Successfully Recreate Original Moon Tire
Posted on: Wednesday, 3 December 2008, 14:11 CST

AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Company (NYSE: GT) and NASA have taken one small step backward to make one giant leap forward and help prepare for future missions to the moon and to Mars.

Goodyear and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) recently completed a jointly-funded project for the development and production of twelve replicates of the original wire-mesh moon tire used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle in the early 1970s. This was the first step toward understanding this unique non-pneumatic tire technology, and its applications on both the moon and Earth.

"Although there was some reference material for designing the replicate tire, there was little detail about the manufacturing process," said Goodyear Project Leader Rick Laske, noting how the team had to reinvent techniques to recreate the wire mesh tire. The team examined one of the moon tires on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and corresponded with two retired members of the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle team, who each had a tire that had been given to them as a souvenir for their work. Examination of the original moon tires provided the primary reference information for judging the quality of the replicates, according to Vivake Asnani, NASA's principal investigator.

Four major components comprise the tire and wheel design: mesh, tread, inner-frame, and hub. The mesh is woven from piano wire and the tread is a series of metal strips intended to protect the mesh from impact while providing increased contact area for floatation in soft soil. An inner-frame, comprised of a relatively rigid metal structure, prevents the mesh from over- deforming during impact, while the hub holds the mesh and inner-frame together and connects the assembly to the vehicle.


But wait, something new to consider, a new spin (or spring) on the presentation.
- LRK -

Moon Tire: Rolling Off the Production Line
Posted At : August 3, 2009 5:55 PM | Posted By : leonard

An airless “Spring Tire” for the Moon has been developed by Goodyear and NASA.

The new Spring Tire with 800 load bearing springs is designed to carry much heavier vehicles over much greater distances than the wire mesh tire previously used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), used on the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions.

The Spring Tire was installed on NASA’s Lunar Electric Rover test vehicle and put through its paces at the Johnson Space Center’s "Rock Yard" in Houston where it performed successfully.

“This tire is extremely durable and extremely energy efficient,” noted Jim Benzing, Goodyear’s lead innovator on the project. “The spring design contours to the surface on which it’s driven to provide traction. But all of the energy used to deform the tire is returned when the springs rebound. It doesn’t generate heat like a normal tire.”

Goodyear specialists also view the lunar tire technology as not only useful for extraterrestrial vehicles, but also, perhaps, for vehicles here on Earth.

NASA has highlighted this technology development in its annual Hallmarks of Success video series.

The series features NASA’s most positive corporate team efforts, including the Goodyear lunar tire work.

That video is available at:

And the Good Year press release.
- LRK -

Goodyear and NASA Invent Spring Tire for Moon, Possibly Earth; Team Develops Energy Efficient Tire That Won't Go Flat

AKRON, OHIO, August 3, 2009 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company have developed an airless tire to transport large, long-range vehicles across the surface of the moon.

The new "Spring Tire" with 800 load bearing springs is designed to carry much heavier vehicles over much greater distances than the wire mesh tire previously used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV).

The new tire will allow for broader exploration and the eventual development and maintenance of a lunar outpost.

According to Vivake Asnani, NASA’s principal investigator at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, this was a significant change in requirements that required innovation. "With the combined requirements of increased load and life, we needed to make a fundamental change to the original moon tire," he said. "What the Goodyear-NASA team developed is an innovative, yet simple network of interwoven springs that does the job. The tire design seems almost obvious in retrospect, as most good inventions do."

The Spring Tire was installed on NASA’s Lunar Electric Rover test vehicle and put through its paces at the Johnson Space Center’s "Rock Yard" in Houston where it performed successfully.

"This tire is extremely durable and extremely energy efficient," noted Jim Benzing, Goodyear’s lead innovator on the project. "The spring design contours to the surface on which it’s driven to provide traction. But all of the energy used to deform the tire is returned when the springs rebound. It doesn’t generate heat like a normal tire.

According to Goodyear engineers, development of the original Apollo lunar mission tires, and the new Spring Tire were driven by the fact that traditional rubber, pneumatic (air-filled) tires used on Earth have little utility on the moon. This is because rubber properties vary significantly between the extreme cold and hot temperatures experienced in the shaded and directly sunlit areas of the moon. Furthermore, unfiltered solar radiation degrades rubber, and pneumatic
tires pose an unacceptable risk of deflation.


Well I best be rolling along and do some reading on paper folding for this frustrated one.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Goodyear "Spring Tire"

See Videos - LRK -
A place for China’s mat in space
by Jeff Foust
Monday, August 3, 2009

For the last several years, some in the US and elsewhere have warned that China has the potential to land humans on the Moon before NASA is able to return under its current timelines. On several occasions, then-NASA administrator Mike Griffin warned that China had the ability to beat America to the Moon. “I will be surprised if the United States is back on the Moon before China is on the Moon,” Griffin said in one speech in January 2008 (see “Defending Constellation”, The Space Review, February 4, 2008). Others have warned that the US is in a new space race with China, one that the US was in danger of losing.

However, for there to be a race, there have to be at least two participants, and while some in the US may think that China is a competitor, it’s less obvious that the Chinese government views itself in such a competition. In A Place for One’s Mat: China’s Space Program, 1956–2003, a monograph published last week by the American Academy of Arts and Scences, Gregory Kulacki and Jeffrey G. Lewis argue an examination of key episodes in the history of China’s civil space program suggests that China’s ambitions may be not to compete with the US but instead be considered an equal.

Kulacki and Lewis based their paper on a detailed study of documents from the history of the Chinese space program that have recently become available, ranging from memoirs to personal papers. “What we sought to do was to take that information… and really try to present what would be reflective of how the Chinese view what they have tried to do since the late 1950s in space,” Lewis said at a Capitol Hill luncheon July 30th organized by the Academy to mark the release of that and other space policy papers. “What we tried to do is reconstruct the decision-making from their perspective.”

NASA and DOE Make Progress on Surface Nuclear Fission Power Technology

Date Released: Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Source: Glenn Research Center

NASA and the Department of Energy have completed tests on several fission surface power components within the last few weeks. The agencies are researching technologies that could enable possible use of nuclear power on the surface of the moon and Mars. Nuclear power is part of the range of options that are being examined for potential human missions on the moon and Mars.

A fission surface power system could use a small nuclear reactor, about the size of an office trash can, and Stirling power generators to produce 40 kilowatts of energy, enough electricity to power a future lunar or Mars outpost. The electricity produced could be used for life support, performing experiments, recharging rovers and mining resources.

Don Palac, NASA Glenn Research Center's fission surface power system project manager
, observed, "This recent string of technology development successes confirms that the fission surface power project is on the right path."

One successful test occurred at Glenn in Cleveland, where a lightweight composite radiator panel was successfully tested in a vacuum chamber that replicates the hard vacuum and extreme cold temperatures that would be seen in space, with temperatures as low as minus 125 degrees C. The radiator, approximately 6 feet by 9 feet, represents one of 20 panels that would be needed to cool the notional fission surface power system. By performing this test, the team showed the radiator panel could reject the required heat at the proper temperature under realistic lunar conditions.

In today's space news from SpaceRef:

-- AMASE 2009 expedition takes off in the Arctic

"From August 1st to 24th 2009 AMASE (Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition) will be taking place in Svalbard (Norway, 76-81* N). This expedition involves different researchers from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA/JPL, ESA, Cornell University, the Earth and Planetary Exploration Services (Norway), DLR (germany), the University of alladolid (Spain) and the University of Leeds (UK)."

-- LCROSS Looks Back at Earth

"On Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009, the LCROSS spacecraft successfully completed its first Earth-look calibration of its science payload. An additional Earth-look and a moon-look are scheduled for the remainder of the cruise phase of the mission."

-- NASA Sustainability Base Groundbreaking and Dedication Ceremony

"On August 25, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., Ames Research Center will conduct a ceremonial groundbreaking and dedication event for what we expect will become the highest performing building in the federal government. Named Sustainability Base, our new building will be a showplace for sustainable technologies, featuring "NASA Inside" through the incorporation of some of the agency's most advanced recycling and intelligent controls technologies originally developed to support NASA's human and robotic space exploration missions."




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