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

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Good evening.

Back from a trip to Las Vegas to visit friends and thought the shuttle would land while we were there but not until this morning. Weather bad in Florida so shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force base here in California.
- LRK -
We drove by yesterday. Edwards is out in the desert and a place where strange objects have taken off in the past. The Mojave is also where our first civilian rocket made it to space.
- LRK -


Tomorrow another expected launch to Mars. (slipped another day
- LRK -)

NASA's Next Leap in Mars Exploration Ready for Launch

Do you have kids that have questions about such things?
You might direct them to a web site that is positioned to answer questions.
Some folks I know would love to have you visit.
- LRK -

Stephanie Wong has written about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Reaching Towards the Sky

Check out What's New

Besides the Mars Rovers there are other missions coming on line to give us more information about Mars and its terrain.
- LRK -

Mars Express radar collects first surface data

We may see the International Space Station completed and new vehicles for going to space with humans. The robots will check out our Moon as they are doing with Mars.
Someone will take the tourist there for real or with a camera. Mars is too far a way for direct driving of a Tonka Toy Rover but the Moon is only about 3 seconds round trip light time for a joy stick control of some walker.

LunaCorp created several projects that engaged the public's interest in space, and that were aimed at enabling direct participation in space exploration. It was founded in 1989 and was dissolved in 2003 after working with NASA, the Russian space agency and commercial sponsors on visionary projects. The company's former president, David Gump, is now CEO of Transformational Space Corp.
Had Radio Shack sponsor, but now disbanded. You were going to be able to drive around on the Moon. Watch what you drive over. Didn't happen, but ..... You can go back and read, then compare below. - LRK -*/

See next link. - LRK -

Opening space to frontier settlement and development requires breakthroughs in lower costs and higher safety. The t/Space team is working toward these goals by combining the rapid-prototyping approach of its innovative aerospace partners with the in-space experience of key personnel drawn from the White House, NASA and large aerospace companies.
t/Space was formed in 2004 to respond to NASA's plans to implement the President's Vision for Space Exploration. The company was one of eight winners in NASA's "Concept Exploration and Refinement" competition to advise the agency on the best architecture for Moon-Mars exploration and the best initial design for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). The effort kicked off in August 2004 with a $3 million contract that was extended in March 2005 with another $3 million.

- LRK -

Do you care where the next viewer goes?

Larry Klaes posted some links that makes one wonder if we had better clarify what the International Space Law should be in regards to protecting some historical sites on the Moon.
- LRK -

Space: The Final [Archaeological] Frontier Volume 57 Number 6, November/December 2004
by P.J. Capelotti
Illustrations by James Jean

Summer 2205

During a preliminary survey of late twenty-first-century mining outposts in the asteroid belt, Dr. Gan Shishu, director of the Institute for Space Archaeology at the China National Space Administration, recognized a unique opportunity. Leaving her field team as they continued to document the massive Halliburton gantry on asteroid Q36, she piloted her team's one-person archaeoprobe L.S.B. Leakey toward a strange-looking artifact nearby that had been drifting in heliocentric orbit for more than two centuries.

Science fiction? Not any longer. The notion of archaeological research and heritage management in space is an idea whose time has already arrived.

Will spray cans be allowed on the Moon? Kilroy was here. - LRK -

Larry Kellogg
larry.kellogg at

NASA's Next Leap in Mars Exploration Ready for Launch

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is ready for a morning launch on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The MRO will arrive at Mars in March 2006 for a mission to understand the planet's water riddles and to advance the exploration of the mysterious red planet.

The mission's first launch opportunity window is 7:54 to 9:39 a.m. EDT, Wednesday. If the launch is postponed, additional launch windows open daily at different times each morning through August. For trips from Earth to Mars, the planets move into good position for only a short period every 26 months. The best launch position is when Earth is about to overtake Mars in their concentric racing lanes around the sun.
NASA Announces Mars Orbiter Launch Delay

The launch of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been postponed 24 hours. The new launch window is Thursday, August 11 from 7:50 to 9:35 a.m. EDT.


Mars Express radar collects first surface data

Marsis, the sounding radar onboard ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, is collecting the first data about the surface and ionosphere of Mars.

This radar started its science operations on 4 July, the same day as its first commissioning phase ended. Due to the late deployment of Marsis, it was decided to split the commissioning, originally planned to last four weeks, into two phases; the second will take place in December. It has thus been possible to begin scientific observations with the instrument earlier than initially planned, while it is still Martian night-time. This is the best environmental condition for subsurface sounding, as in daytime the ionosphere is more 'energised' and disturbs the radio signals used for subsurface observations.

As from the start of commissioning, the two 20m-long antenna booms have been sending radio signals towards the Martian surface and receiving echoes back. "The commissioning procedure confirmed that the radar is working very well and that it can be operated at full power without interfering with any of the spacecraft systems," says Roberto Seu, Instrument Manager for Marsis, of University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Italy.

Marsis is a very complex instrument, capable of operating at different frequency bands. Lower frequencies are best suited to probing the subsurface, the highest frequencies are used to probe shallow subsurface depths, while all frequencies are suited to studying the surface and the upper atmospheric layer of Mars. "During commissioning we worked to test all transmission modes and optimise the radar's performance around Mars," says Professor Giovanni Picardi, Principal Investigator for Marsis, of University of Rome 'LaSapienza'. "The result is that since we started the scientific observations in early July, we have been receiving very clean surface echoes back, and first indications about the ionosphere."

Larry Klaes posted - Subject - Apollo lunar landing sites should be protected history

I hope that there will be some kind of international treaty to keep the
Apollo lunar landing sites left undisturbed - think of an interplanetary
version of the World Heritage sites.

By undisturbed I primarily mean by treasure seekers and tourists, both of
which will find their ways to the Moon one day. Look what has happened to
the Titanic since its discovery in 1985.

Here is a recent article on space archaeology online:


Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

- LRK -


Monday, August 01, 2005

Good afternoon.

So what would you like to see on the front cover of "Life" magazine?

How about Collier's plan.

Bring on the art work and raise the awarness of all. - LRK -
Romance to Reality -
Copyright © 2002-2005 Mars Institute. Romance to Reality copyright © 2005
David S. F. Portree. All rights reserved.

"Man on the Moon: The Journey," Wernher von Braun, Collier's, October 18,
1952, pp. 51-59.

"Inside the Moon Ship," Willy Ley, Collier's, October 18, 1952, pp. 56-57.

"Man on the Moon: The Exploration," Fred L. Whipple and Wernher von Braun,
Collier's, October 25, 1952, pp. 38-48.

"Inside the Lunar Base," Willy Ley, Collier's, October 25, 1952, p. 46.

Probably the most distinctive feature of the Collier's magazine space
articles is the magnificently quaint artwork of Chesley Bonestell, Fred
Freeman, and Rolf Klep. The Collier's moon articles were preceded by an
article ("Man Will Conquer Space Soon," March 22, 1952) describing how
reusable rockets resembling Second World War V-2 missiles would haul into
orbit parts for a spinning donut-shaped space station 250 feet across with a
crew of 80. The $4-billion station is an observation post for minding
hostile nations, an observatory for mapping the moon and planets, and a
staging area for moon missions. The first lunar expedition, set to land in
1977, does nothing by half measures. It includes

50 astronaut explorers

six-week surface stay in Sinus Roris, the Man in the Moon's left eyebrow

three large landers (two containing 20 crew each and one for cargo and 10
crew) [view]

three pressurized caterpillar-tracked rovers capable of supporting seven
astronauts for 12 hours at a stretch. Each sports a crane capable of lifting
another rover and can tow up to three trailers.

a 500-mile, 10-day traverse by 10 astronauts from the landing site to the
24-mile-wide crater Harpalus and back

a surface outpost consisting of two pre-fabricated quonset huts tucked
away inside a lunar crevasse for protection from meteoroids and solar and
cosmic radiation

Closing paragraphs on the long post copied from InsideKSC. - LRK -
The challenge will be to keep the projects on schedule and within budget.
The plan also must survive three presidential elections and five new
Congresses before astronauts again can walk on the moon.

"It's going to take a long, persistent, patient effort," said Rep. Vernon
Ehlers, R-Mich., a member of the House Science Committee. "The question is:
'Will political leaders and the public continue that support for that length
of time?' "

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who flew aboard the shuttle as a congressman,
is optimistic.

"I think with a visionary president, you can ignite the imagination of
people and kindle that yearning for exploration," Nelson said. "I think this
is very doable in Congress because Congress is a reflection of the American

Now get the shuttle trimmed and back to Earth safely. - LRK -

Thanks for looking up.

Larry Kellogg
larry.kellogg at

Rick Fischer on InsideKSC posted
[Inside KSC] NASA outlines plans for moon and Mars
The Orlando Sentinel:

NASA's new road map for the human exploration of space would land four
astronauts on the moon by 2018 as the first step toward an eventual
six-person voyage to Mars.

Pioneers would build a lunar outpost, most likely at the south pole, with
living quarters, power plants and communication systems. Expeditions would
scavenge the desolate landscape for precious supplies such as fuel and

Astronauts would roam the surface in high-tech dune buggies to search for
answers to scientific riddles that continue to baffle researchers. The crews
would blast off aboard rockets derived from the space-shuttle fleet and
parachute back to Earth in capsules similar to those used during the Apollo

The assault on the moon would be a precursor to 500-day expeditions on Mars,
an alien world more than 35 million miles away that some scientists suspect
could hold evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Those and other specifics of NASA's ambitious plans for a new era of human
space travel are outlined in a set of internal briefing charts on the
agency's recent Exploration Systems Architecture Study. A copy of those
briefings, parts of which are scheduled to be made public next month, was
obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

Some things are subject to change, and important decisions have yet to be
made. But the study is the first detailed description of how NASA intends to
accomplish the goals announced by President Bush in January 2004 of
returning astronauts to the moon by 2020 to prepare for later missions to

So far, the program has considerable support from the White House and
Congress, but to become a reality, it will have to withstand the test of
time. The study estimates the program will cost about $217 billion through
2025. NASA's exploration office is projected to receive about the same
amount of money during that period.

To stay within the budget, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin has spent much
of his first three months on the job refocusing the agency and its resources
on preparing for a return to the moon.

"I hope that you will see as we bring it forward," Griffin told Congress on
June 28, "a logical, clean, simple, straightforward approach."

Griffin's influence already has been felt. The current study is the result
of a 60-day review of previous exploration plans. It contains a number of
important changes. Among them:

A version of the same ship designed to carry astronauts to the moon first
would ferry crews to the international space station. The gap between the
initial manned launches of that vehicle in 2011 and the shuttle's planned
retirement in 2010 was shortened from four years to one. And a new fleet of
rockets to support human missions is expected to be cheaper and safer by
building on existing parts of the shuttle.

NASA managers have declined to be interviewed about the plan until its
public release. One, however, said privately that Griffin's involvement has
made a huge difference.

"We [NASA] can no longer take a business-as-usual approach, and Mike Griffin
clearly understands that," the manager said. "We have to be more financially
and technically creative to do the things we need to do."

Doing the heavy lifting

All of the hardware needed for the Apollo moon landings from 1969 to 1972
reached orbit with a single launch of the giant Saturn 5 rocket. But because
Saturn 5 production ended more than 30 years ago, NASA has been looking for
new boosters powerful enough to lift the heavy loads required for lunar

Engineers debated for months whether to develop a heavy-lift rocket from
parts of the shuttle or rely on improved versions of the Atlas and Delta
boosters used by the Air Force to launch satellites. According to the study,
they chose the shuttle-derived option because of lower cost and superior
lifting ability.

"[It's the] only viable solution given [the] time frame and current market,"
the study noted.

The hardware and cargo required for lunar missions would lift off aboard a
40-story colossus built around the shuttle's external fuel tank. This
unmanned booster would be developed between 2010 and 2018.

Five of the shuttle's main engines and larger versions of its twin booster
rockets would power the launcher. Some versions would be capable of carrying
a hefty 125 tons into Earth orbit, making it almost the equal of the Saturn
5. The projected price tag of $540 million per launch is comparable to the
cost of a shuttle flight.

The giant booster would have a powerful new upper stage. This so-called
Earth Departure Stage would be used to hurl spacecraft toward the moon. Also
designed from the shuttle's fuel tank, it would be equipped with an upgraded
pair of the same engines used on the Saturn 5's upper stages.

NASA has decided to launch future astronauts on moon and space-station
missions aboard a separate rocket derived from another piece of shuttle

Starting in June 2011, astronauts would lift off to the station atop a
modified version of the shuttle's pencil-shaped solid-rocket booster. The
rocket's new second stage would be powered by one of the shuttle's main

The $280 million missions would free NASA from having to depend solely on
the Russians for station flights after the shuttle's retirement. The same
rocket later would be used to launch crews into low Earth orbit to begin
trips to the moon. NASA estimates the launcher would be nine times safer
than the shuttle.

"We have ways to construct such vehicles using shuttle solid-rocket motors
and external tanks and shuttle main engines," Griffin said of the new
boosters Friday. "We think the existing components offer us huge cost
advantages as opposed to starting from a clean sheet of paper, and that's
what I've proposed doing."

Next-generation spaceships

New spacecraft are being designed to ride atop the new rockets.

Engineers already are developing a cone-shaped Crew Exploration Vehicle, or
CEV. Initial versions of the CEV would launch aboard the modified shuttle
booster rocket and carry three-person crews to the space station a couple of
times per year.

The ships also could be used to transport cargo to the outpost. Larger,
future versions of the capsule would take four people to the moon and
six-person crews to Mars.

Last month, NASA awarded a pair of $28 million contracts to Lockheed Martin
and a Northrop Grumman-Boeing team to come up with designs for the new ship.
The agency will select one of the two proposals in March.

NASA managers plan to review the CEV's engineering design in July 2006 with
the goal of having the spacecraft ready for a manned launch to the station
in 2011. Having the CEV available as soon as possible could become critical
if the White House rethinks the shuttle's 2010 retirement date because of
continuing problems with hazardous launch debris during shuttle Discovery's
liftoff Tuesday.

The CEV will be strikingly similar to the Apollo command module but larger.
Astronauts on future lunar flights will have more than twice the room.

In another throwback to Apollo, the 12-ton capsule would be mated to a
service module that provides power and propulsion during the journey to and
from the moon. Crews returning home in the CEV would jettison the service
module before making a fiery plunge through Earth's atmosphere and
parachuting to the ground.

The capsule then would thump down on land as Russian missions did instead of
splashing down in the Pacific Ocean as Apollo flights did.

NASA already has identified three possible landing sites in the Western
United States: Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California's Mojave
Desert, the Carson Flats area of Nevada and near Moses Lake in eastern

The ship's flight path would carry it over the Pacific Ocean, minimizing the
risk to people below if something went wrong. If necessary, the capsule
would be capable of making a water landing. The CEV will have an expendable
heat shield, and versions that go to the space station could be reused for
up to 10 missions.

In addition to the CEV, engineers have begun looking at designs for the
lander that will carry astronauts from lunar orbit to the moon's surface and
back. Development is scheduled to accelerate in 2010, with a spacecraft
ready for flight by 2018.

The lander's design follows the same general concept as Apollo's. It has two
basic parts. The bottom descent stage is a four-legged platform with rocket
engines that lower the craft to the moon's surface. A detachable upper
ascent stage serves as a crew compartment and launches the astronauts back
to lunar orbit when their mission is complete.

The ascent stage's engines are designed to burn liquid-methane propellant.
Small amounts of methane are thought to be present in Mars' atmosphere,
creating the possibility that astronauts might be able to produce their own
rocket fuel instead of carrying it with them.

The lander would remain on the lunar surface for about a week. An airlock
would allow a crew of four astronauts to leave the ship for moonwalks. The
lander held only two astronauts during the Apollo missions.

The craft is designed to carry up to 23 tons of cargo and could be used to
rotate crews living at a lunar base.

"We can gain quite a bit of science," said David Black, an astrophysicist
and head of a research association that oversees the Lunar and Planetary
Institute in Houston. "One of the things we can get is a better handle on
the origin of the moon and how it relates to Earth."

Getting to the moon

One of the great technical challenges of the early 1960s was how to design
the Apollo moon landings. Engineers debated a number of ideas.

Some suggested a direct approach in which parts of a massive Saturn 8 or
Nova rocket would launch from Earth, fly to the moon, land there, blast off
again and return to Earth. The size of the rocket needed and the fuel
required made the idea impractical.

Another approach, initially favored by rocket visionary Wernher von Braun,
was called Earth Orbit Rendezvous. This method proposed launching several
smaller rockets carrying the hardware needed for a lunar mission.

The pieces would be assembled in Earth orbit, and then the larger spacecraft
would travel to the moon and back. This plan was abandoned in 1962 largely
because of unknowns about putting together a rocket in space.

Apollo engineers ultimately decided on a third approach known as Lunar Orbit
Rendezvous. A single Saturn 5 booster launched all of the spacecraft needed
for the mission. After the systems were checked out in Earth orbit, the
rocket's third stage restarted to propel the mission to the moon.

Next, the Apollo command module and service module separated and docked with
a lunar lander housed inside the third stage. Once in orbit around the moon,
two astronauts piloted the lander to the surface. An ascent stage atop the
lander launched back to lunar orbit, where it mated with the command module
for the astronauts' return to Earth.

In recent months, NASA engineers have been debating some of the same issues
their predecessors faced four decades ago. The result is a new blueprint
similar to Apollo's but with features of von Braun's early Earth Orbit
Rendezvous approach.

Future lunar missions would launch aboard two separate rockets. The giant
new 40-story booster would carry the lunar lander into space atop the
fuel-filled Earth Departure Stage. Next, the CEV and service module would
lift off aboard the smaller, modified shuttle booster.

Once in low Earth orbit, the CEV would dock with the lunar lander. From
there, the mission would be virtually identical to Apollo's. The Earth
Departure Stage would rocket the spacecraft toward lunar orbit. Four
astronauts would descend to the surface aboard the lander. A week or so
later, they would lift off from the moon and dock with the CEV, which would
carry them back to Earth.

"You have to take the long view and not get yourself into a situation like
before where we go to the moon and aren't positioned to build on it,"
astrophysicist Black said. "This approach makes a lot of sense if you are
going on to Mars."

Lunar-life lessons

Current plans call for a minimum of two lunar missions per year beginning in

Astronauts would conduct long-term research in several scientific
disciplines, including astrobiology, geology, astronomy and physics. Some of
the studies will gauge how the human body responds over time to weaker
gravity, increased solar radiation and other conditions found away from

Crews also would try to take advantage of any available resources on the
moon and live off the land. The goal is to eventually develop a lunar base.

A likely location for an outpost is near Shackleton Crater at the moon's
south pole, where scientists suspect there are relatively high levels of
hydrogen, a potential fuel source, and the possibility of water ice.
Missions would gradually build power, communication and navigation systems,
and a place to live. Rovers more advanced than those during Apollo would be
used to explore the surface.

Other high-priority sites for exploration include the north pole, three
locations on the dark side of the moon and the Sea of Tranquillity, where
Apollo 11 made the first manned lunar landing in 1969.
One of NASA's main reasons for returning astronauts to the moon and living
there is to master the technologies and gain the experience needed for
future human voyages to Mars. Detailed development of those expeditions is
expected to begin about 2020, but the broad outlines already are starting to
take shape.

Four or five launches with the giant heavy-lift boosters would carry into
orbit the mission's spacecraft and hardware. Before the six-person crew
lifts off, however, an outpost with living quarters, power, communications
and a return ship would land on the Martian surface by remote control.

The astronauts' trip would take about six months each way. Once on Mars, the
crew would spend 500 days exploring large areas of the surface and doing
research, including the search for evidence of past or present life.
Astronauts would attempt to tap the Martian environment for oxygen and
water, two essential supplies, and liquid oxygen and methane, the two
propellants that will power the landing craft.

Risks and challenges await

NASA's ambitious plan faces several major technical and political

One is keeping astronauts healthy. For years, scientists have been concerned
about exposure to harmful solar radiation in space, where Earth's atmosphere
no longer provides a shield.

According to the study, astronauts who spend long periods of time in low
Earth orbit have a 3 percent additional risk of contracting lethal cancer
during their lifetime. Currently, there are no radiation guidelines for
missions beyond Earth's orbit, although the National Council on Radiation
Protection is developing some.

A massive solar storm in August 1972 was the largest radiation event ever
recorded. Engineers are trying to develop CEV shielding to offer protection
from a storm four times that strong. NASA estimates that an aluminum vehicle
with moderate shielding would limit the chance of an astronaut getting sick
from such an event to 2.9 percent, with a tiny 0.02 percent chance of death.

The space agency assesses the lunar missions' overall risks as relatively
small, mainly because of the use of proven systems and technology.

NASA estimates the chance of a failure derailing a mission is less than 6.3
percent, with the chance of the crew dying at 1.3 percent. In contrast, a
May 1962 risk analysis before the Apollo program concluded the chance of
losing astronauts during the first attempt to land on the moon was 22

Political challenges here on Earth pose a threat of a different sort. The
program's cost already has stirred debate.

The estimated $217 billion price tag is only $7 billion more than the
projected budget for NASA's exploration office during the next 20 years.
That estimate also includes developing new engines for the Earth Departure
Stage. NASA now plans a cheaper approach that would modify engines used
during Apollo.

The money crunch will be greatest during the next five years while the
shuttle is still flying. But over time, adequate funding for the plan
appears likely, at least on paper, if the projects can manage to stay within
their budgets.

NASA's overall budget is expected to reach about $17 billion in 2006. If the
agency averages only $20 billion annually during the next 20 years, it will
receive a total of $400 billion. The estimated $217 billion exploration cost
through 2025 represents 54 percent of that total. NASA already spends about
half of its budget on human-spaceflight programs.

The challenge will be to keep the projects on schedule and within budget.
The plan also must survive three presidential elections and five new
Congresses before astronauts again can walk on the moon.

"It's going to take a long, persistent, patient effort," said Rep. Vernon
Ehlers, R-Mich., a member of the House Science Committee. "The question is:
'Will political leaders and the public continue that support for that length
of time?' "

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who flew aboard the shuttle as a congressman,
is optimistic.

"I think with a visionary president, you can ignite the imagination of
people and kindle that yearning for exploration," Nelson said. "I think this
is very doable in Congress because Congress is a reflection of the American

Make sure to visit the Flagship website:

Yahoo! Groups Links
<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Moon and Mars - Videos