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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back to the Moon, back to the future, and this time, back to stay

I read, why go back to the Moon, been there done that!

I don't think so, --- we went to the Moon to prove we could put humans on the Moon and bring them back safely.

This was sort of a game of one up manship.
Russia had sent a satellite around the Moon and taken pictures of the far side before the USA.
They had landed a spacecraft on the Moon before the USA.

Now --- having landed a few times on the Moon and spending a few days there is an accomplishment, but it is not the establishment of a new frontier where humans will learn how to live off world and develop the resources of space.

Having played king of the hill a few times we turned to learning how to fly a shuttle and go around Earth at LEO for a number of years.

The space station was going to be a test bed for living in space, learning the effects of the lower pull of gravity that might be found on the Moon or Mars and see if it would be detrimental to humans. A centrifuge would be installed and the space station could be used to build space transport vehicles.

Not everything has gone as originally planed. No centrifuge launched, but the mock up made for great public relation tours at Ames. Not all the habitat racks made it to the space station and the space station itself has taken longer to build than expected. We have gone around Earth a goodly number of times and have had some great views looking in towards Earth. How about looking out to the stars?

For a time the idea of living off world and going back to the Moon was not in the everyday vocabulary. Going around and around Earth in LEO with International partners helped public relations but an overall plan to develop space with human occupation seemed out of reach. President George H. W. Bush in 1989 proposed going back to the Moon to stay. It didn't happen, but folks were talking again.

In 1961 it took a crisis -- the space race -- to speed things up. Today we don't have a crisis; we have an opportunity. To seize this opportunity, I'm not proposing a 10-year plan like Apollo; I'm
proposing a long-range, continuing commitment. First, for the coming decade, for the 1990's: Space Station Freedom, our critical next step in all our space endeavors. And next, for the new century: Back to the Moon; back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet: a manned mission to Mars.

It was deemed to be too expensive. The need for humans to learn how to live off world not a priority. More important things happening down here on Earth. Maybe too much money being spent on black ops.

There was a 10 week summer study in 1984 sponsored by NASA and later in 1992 NASA SP-509 'SPACE RESOURCES' was put together. There is a lot of information in this boxed set, even if the time lines have shifted.

It looked like maybe the ideas in NASA SP-509 might be put to the test with the new push to go back to the Moon was announced by George W. Bush.

Once again it looks like time lines will need to be slid, extended, and blurred until we see the necessity and advantage to putting humans permanently off world. We still have all of our eggs in one basket and subject to surprises from space or exhausting of limited resources.
As we adjust to what can be done for now, it still should be beneficial to look at the material that is discussed in NASA SP-509.

I will see what I can find to share as I look through the the books I have. You can look along with me as the books are on-line as well.

Take a look at the 'Overview' and feel free to let me know what interests you.
- LRK -


p. vi

[Our report does not represent any Government-authorized view or official NASA policy. NASA's official response to these challenging opportunities must be found in the reports of its Office of Exploration, which was established in 1987. That office's report, released in November 1989, of a 90-day study of possible plans for human exploration of the Moon and Mars is NASA's response to the new initiative proposed by President Bush on July 20, 1989, the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon: "First, for the coming decade, for the 1990s, Space Station Freedom, our critical next step in all our space endeavors. And next, for the new century, back to the Moon, back to the future, and this time, back to stay. And then a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars." This report, Space Resources, offers substantiation for NASA's bid to carry out that new initiative.]


It doesn't have to represent an authorized Government view and it doesn't need to be an official NASA policy for you to be interested in helping this journey into tomorrow. Wouldn't it be exciting to learn how to live on another planet?

A lot of preliminary work needs to be done. We have been fortunate to have rovers on Mars and rovers on the Moon could help as well, especially if they were being used to scout resources for a lunar base.

We have heard that oxygen can be extracted from the lunar rocks. It would be nice to see it happen for real. We have been told there are a number of other gases that can be captured from the regolith as well. We need to know how to do this without losing these resources to the vacuum of space while crunching around on the surface and doing mining activities. Can this be done with machines operated from Earth by remote control or will humans be required? It shouldn't take a heavy lift rocket to get some interesting projects to the Moon. Lunar Prospector went to the Moon using an Athena II.

Going past the Moon is not so hard to do. Pioneer 10 back in March 2, 1972 weighing in with a light 260 KG, using an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4 combination, past the distance to the Moon in just 11 hours and past the Mars orbit, about 80 million kilometers (50 million miles) away, in just 12 weeks.

So will space be the final frontier for profit?

Maybe if there is a profit to be made there will also be a need for humans to teak the machines.
There will be a need to supply the machines and outfit the humans.
Sharpen you pick hammer and check your dosimeter.
Take a note of the space weather.

Who will be first to the far side of the Moon?
Who has the map to the nearest Lunar Lava Tube?

Alright, for now let us check out those Space Resources in NASA SP-509.

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

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Table of Contents

Space Settlements

A Design Study

Edited by

* Richard D. Johnson, NASA Ames Research Center
* Charles Holbrow, Colgate University

Authored by the participants of




List of Participants
Table of Contents

Technical papers derived from the 1977 Summer Study
at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

Study Director

Gerard K. O'Neill
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey


John Billingham and William Gilbreath
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Brian O'Leary
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Manuscript Editor

Beulah Gossett
Los Altos, California




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