Mere rhetorical red herrings. There are no two Earth-based operations that are conducted under "exactly the same" conditions.Furthermore, can you explain which earth based operations are conducted on exactly the same material under the exact same conditions. I for one would love to know which terrestrial mining operations are conduction at double digit K figures in the vacuum of space.
Just because you have not thought this through, Doug, it doesn't follow that no one else has. Cf. links above provided by Garrison.Plus, as I asked previously but you ignored, can you share your experience in the construction of building vehicles for operation on the surface of the moon in areas of permanent darkness. (something that no one on earth has ever built )
We know enough to make some educated guesses. Your FUD is unwarranted.You speak with complete confidence on issues you simply do not know about... Because given our current state of knowledge - no one knows enough to make the claims that you do. NO ONE does.
I have suggested the very same thing.I simply suggest it would be wise to conduct a thorough in-situ robotic exploration of these deposits to find out the things that, by magic, you claim to already know.
I am not the one who is lying...Your behavior makes it damn hard not to turn this into a personal issue. Intact, I see very very little point in continuing any discussion with you. You lie about peoples opinions and refuse to retract and apologize when called out on it,
What things?you state as fact things you simply can not know,
The evidence is already in. It came from Chandrayaan and LRO.I would rather wait for evidence before making claims as bold as yours.
I am the first to compute the size of an ice pit required to make a ULA-style Moon base self-sufficient in propellant. It is about the size of a standard Olympic-sized swimming pool. Sorry, this is just a fact.And now you claim to be the 'first' to think of all this. Magically, you have now been blessed with the ability to read the historical thought processes of everyone in this thread.
First true thing you've written in a couple days.Wonders never cease.
Which only goes to show..... you can fool some of the people some of the time, but it's hard to operate a 50 horse power electric motor
on the moon doing extra heavy work for about as long as you can tread water.
It's unrealistic to expect people to spend billions on hear say without doing a preliminary scientific investigation.
All we have is some speculation based on spectroscopic signatures and high school physics. Nobody has investigated this ice. Nobody knows how thick it is. Nobody has even seen this ice. Heck, nobody has even seen what is inside that crater. I can claim that there is a derelict alien base down there and all we need to do is to restart their equipment. And there is no way to verify this at the moment.
Launch a sample return mission, bring some ice cores back. Give that to engineers so they can work out how to make a 'dozer. Or work out Frasch process. Or whatever other ingenious method we can come up with. Optimistically, we can have flight-ready equipment 3 years after we get the data (1 year to analyze the cores and write the requirements, 2 years to develop the equipment if it's not too difficult). But speculating how the extraction should be done at this moment is just that -- speculation.
We need landers to these craters and we need them NOW.
We know enough to do some effective trade studies.Originally Posted by Doug
You're preaching to the choir my friend.Originally Posted by kamaz
And this quote seems relevant:
So unless anyone really thinks drilling for ice on the moon is going to be less expensive than drilling for oil under the oceans I would say some serious mapping is in order.But drilling under the ocean is very expensive, so oil companies need to have as complete an understanding of the geology where they're drilling as possible.
Also here's a Wiki on geophysical surveying, more of a starting point than anything else but it gives an idea of what sort of equipment those surveying landers would need. As it stands we can point in the general direction of where the ice is but it's like saying that we know there's oil in Texas, but not in Maine so as long as we dig a well in Texas it will all work out. Is there anyone actually involved with real space programs who is supporting Warren's, 'let's just break out the backhoe and get going' approach? And before anyone complains no that is not a direct quote, just my impression of what he's advocating.
Second, we have a pretty good idea where the ice is. See this image: http://onorbit.com/node/2335 . This is a crater 8 km in diameter. The crater diameter on the image is about 200 pixels, so the resolution is on the order of 40 meters per pixel. So I'd say that the location of the ice (red pixels) is nailed down pretty accurately.
What we are currently missing is:
- we don't know the thickness of the ice. My understanding of these methods is that they give you the same result regardless if the deposit is 2m or 2000m thick.
- we don't know the physical properties of the ice (i.e. hardness), we don't know if it is mixed with rock/sand or not, we don't know if it is in the form of boulders or a solid frozen lake. We have only some speculations on that.
That is why need to fly there and take a closer look.
The Globe and Mail
Most of it was on Titan. Then the last 5 paragraphs are on earth's moon. And most of the moon paragraphs seem more preoccupied with Helium 3 nonsense than lunar water. But the second to last paragraph was interesting:
Don't know what Neil Reynolds' sources are, but I hope he's right about robotic prospectors and near term lunar in-situ mining being in NASA's plans.U.S. President Barack Obama cancelled the U.S. space shuttle program, reversing president George W. Bush’s policy that NASA “should extend a human presence across our solar system.” He has not, however, ended all lunar exploration. NASA will still attempt to land robotic “prospectors” on the moon within the next four years to test technologies (in NASA’s words) for “in-situ resource utilization.” In other words, for mining.
Do the advocates for this GRAND SCHEME have any idea whatsoever, any inkling at all of how difficult, how extraordinarily expensive it is to send a small light weight package to the moon and the retrieve an even lighter package to rendezvous with it's orbiting command module and return to earth? Any idea how difficult it is to bring enough fuel to simply land there ... with a light weight package, never mind
the heavy equipment you describe so freely? I don't think so, Tim .
But my feeling is we could do with a simple lander, equipped with strong lights and camera. Just having photographs of this ice should be enough to convince the politicians to underwrite a bigger program.
(*) It is supposed to fly in 2018, but then we have to account for the inevitable delays.
You would probably need at least one equipped to do some real geophysics, although I admit most of my knowledge on the subject comes from watching a lot of Time Team you could probably pack some basic gear into a modest sized lander.But my feeling is we could do with a simple lander, equipped with strong lights and camera. Just having photographs of this ice should be enough to convince the politicians to underwrite a bigger program.
(*) It is supposed to fly in 2018, but then we have to account for the inevitable delays.
here. Now, a smallest off-the-shelf Bobcat loader weights 1170 kg (2580 lbs). Note, that since lunar gravity is 1/6th of the terriestrial, the equipment can be made lighter, as the stresses it would be expected to withstand would also be proportionally lower. So making a remotely operated, lunar electrically-powered Bobcat weighting under 1000 kg (reduction factor 1.17) is certainly within the realm of possibility. If we are supposed to dig one swimming pool per year, this would be more than enough. (This of course assumes that we can simply strip mine that ice with a loader, which I am not so sure of. But let's give it a benefit of doubt).
A small nuclear power source and water cracking equipment can be shipped in 2 other launches. Since the bottom of the crater is invisible from earth, a communication relay to be placed on the crater rim (or an orbiting comsat) would require another launch. Allocating one more launch for unexpected contingencies, we get a total of 5 Atlas launches.
Atlas V 551 costs $110M per launch. Assume $30M for Centaur and $30M for the lander. Assuming we can fit the cost of Bobcat, nuclear reactor and comm station in $30M each, we get $200M per launch. We assume 5 launches so we get $1000M. Put aside another $500M for R&D and project running costs. That is $1500M in total.
Proposed schedule, in months, since the project start (S):
S+0 project start. R&D start.
S+24 comm station launch
S+30 nuclear reactor launch
S+36 loader launch
S+42 water cracking facility launch
S+60 project end
On average $300M per year over 5 years, peaking at $500M per year for two years. Fuel production starts on month 42 and continues for at least 18 months. We can handle one catastrophic equipment failure by launching a replacement. We have 6 months (S+36..S+42) to figure out how to operate the loader to mine ice before we start the production.
$1.5B over 5 years is not cheap, but it is not prohibitively expensive either. Even assuming that I have underestimated costs by the factor of 3, the operation would cost around $1B per year. ISS costs about $6B per year. And the project would at least produce something of real value.
Last edited by kamaz; 2010-Jul-08 at 01:52 PM. Reason: link added
Might work better if they were told it's frozen crude oil.Yes. However my point is that if you get the pictures of the ice (pretty pictures) for public consumption, then it would be easier to get money for the survey mission to do real geophysics. When you do the survey, you can use survey results to justify resource exploitation. Small steps.
There are two risks to consider: (1) that Spudis et al. are completely wrong and that there are no major ice fields; ( 2) that the ice will be harder to extract than we would like. I think the first risk is negligibly small. The circular polarization method is a tried and true means of finding ice throughout the Solar System. The new picture of the crater by LRO is interesting: it is not uniform, the distribution of the "ice"; rather the pattern is reminiscent of ordinary shading patterns when light shines obliquely at a crater. This is consistent with there being ice, and not an immense, fresh boulder field. The second risk is also manageable: if the first attempts to mine the ice with ordinary backhoes and hydraulic jack hammers fail, then more drastic means will be enabled. This will require an additional two cargo flights at most; or a delay up to one year. No big deal. It will still be worth it.Originally Posted by kamaz
ISRU propellent can reduce the cost of getting mass off the lunar surface.
Affordable Exploration Architecture 2009 they mention a total of 313 tonnes of accumulated useful mass on the lunar surface as of year three, which is about 100 tonnes a year.
If that 313 tonnes suffice to build an ISRU propellent plant, I would think subsequent years could land more than 100 tonnes per year.
So far as I know, ISRU propellent plants would be clean sheet designs. The cost of developing these should be added to the ULA estimates.
But when you're thinking of betting the farm on a horse race, perhaps Analysis Paralysis is a good thing.
This is one reason I like the ULA proposal better than HLV architectures. With HLVs you just get just a few launches at enormous expense. A HUGE amount of time and effort goes to trying to imagine and prevent every possible failure. But all this analysis is no substitute for experience.
With Atlas Vs (vs Ares Vs), a failed launch doesn't torpedo your whole program. And when you do many launches, you accumulate experience. Again, there's no substitute for experience.
Politicians might be much more willing to bet a month's pay at 12 races rather than the annual income at a yearly horse race.
This is also a reason I advocate robotic as much as possible. Loss of robots is far less expensive (politically) than astronaut deaths.
However if Warren's correct that nickel alloys can make digging equipment that's not prohibitively brittle, perhaps the digging equipment doesn't have to be completely clean sheet designs. It's possible that folks like Caterpillar, Bobcat or John Deere might be able to come up with working vehicles cheaper than the boys at JPL.
(And hopefully Komatsu, Mitsubishi and some of the Japanese industrial giants will be players. It'd be a good thing if Japanese robots on the moon pierced the U.S. hide with a thorn of discomfort).
What I see as the problem with HLV's is that much of the enthusiasm for building them seems to stem from the fact that the last time men went beyond LEO the plan that was developed using an HLV and an assumption that is the only and indeed best way to do it. The thing is there were a lot of unknowns at the time of Apollo with regard to rendezvous and orbital assembly that don't apply now, and technologies like fuel depots that could also contribute to deep space programs without needing a big launcher, and at the same time could meet LEO needs as well. We need to take a serious look at what would be the most cost effective way to get to the Moon, or Mars, or a NEO, rather than just retreading the old route because it worked last time.