Author Topic: First in polar region: India or US?  (Read 7783 times)

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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First in polar region: India or US?
« on: 07/08/2023 08:57 pm »
I was checking the other day where the Chandrayaan 3 will land. It is actually at 69.4 degrees south. Here on Earth this would be within Arctic (Antarctic) circle. So it is definitely polar region of the Moon.

So it looks like India could be the first nation to make a soft landing on the lunar south pole region.

So my question is: Will this give them only bragging rights or could this cause an issue in the future?

I mean it is very likely that they will play nice in the short term. But in lets say 50 years, if the resource scramble becomes tense and borders are drawn, could they use this as a strong argument? 
« Last Edit: 07/08/2023 09:09 pm by turbopumpfeedback2 »

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #1 on: 07/08/2023 09:24 pm »

Very unlikely.  India is party to the Outer Space Treaty and now signatory of the Artemis Accords.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2023 05:50 pm by VSECOTSPE »

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #2 on: 07/09/2023 10:33 am »
Those might, and probably will, change or be replaced in the future.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2023 10:35 am by turbopumpfeedback2 »

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #3 on: 07/09/2023 04:14 pm »
No.  Any argument this gave them would apply only to their specific landing site.  And remember they can't claim ownership of that area, only the right for the site not to be interfered with as the lander belongs to them. Also, I do not consider this site truly polar.  Applying the 'within Earth's arctic circle latitude' criterion is arbitrary and doesn't really mean anything at the Moon.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #4 on: 07/09/2023 05:49 pm »
Those might, and probably will, change or be replaced in the future.

Even more unlikely.  Outer Space Treaty has 136 parties and signatories.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #5 on: 07/09/2023 08:02 pm »
Those might, and probably will, change or be replaced in the future.

Even more unlikely.  Outer Space Treaty has 136 parties and signatories.

It will be replaced if there are viable Lunar or Martian settlements in 50 years. However for the foreseeable future no countries on Earth will be able to claim extra Terrestrial territory.

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #6 on: 07/09/2023 08:31 pm »
Or will wish to, because to allow your own claim is to recognize others may do the same and thereby take something you might want.  Everyone is better off using but not owning territory, with a non-interference policy built in.  In other words, what we have right now.

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #7 on: 07/09/2023 10:13 pm »
And also the probes will be probably forgotten once people start landing. So probably where people land will have much higher weight than any of the probes.

Though Soviets did name a lot of features on the far side ...
« Last Edit: 07/09/2023 10:18 pm by turbopumpfeedback2 »

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #8 on: 07/09/2023 11:04 pm »
It will be replaced if there are viable Lunar or Martian settlements in 50 years.

Probably not.  See Antarctica.

And also the probes will be probably forgotten once people start landing. So probably where people land will have much higher weight than any of the probes.

The colonial era ended over a century ago.  There’s a war ongoing in Eastern Europe rejecting old imperial territorial claims.  Staking flags for king and country is not how the geopolitical system works anymore and hasn’t for multiple generations.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2023 11:10 pm by VSECOTSPE »

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #9 on: 07/10/2023 01:42 am »
The Chandrayaan 3 will be the first to land in the lunar south pole, since the Artemis 3 launch is a couple years despite the Artemis 3 mission being also intended to touch down on the south pole of the moon.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #10 on: 07/10/2023 03:53 pm »
It will be replaced if there are viable Lunar or Martian settlements in 50 years.

Probably not.  See Antarctica.

There are two colonies in Antarctica.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline deadman1204

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #11 on: 07/10/2023 03:54 pm »
No.  Any argument this gave them would apply only to their specific landing site.  And remember they can't claim ownership of that area, only the right for the site not to be interfered with as the lander belongs to them. Also, I do not consider this site truly polar.  Applying the 'within Earth's arctic circle latitude' criterion is arbitrary and doesn't really mean anything at the Moon.

Then what is polar? If you are not using the common definition of it? 69.5 degrees? 70 degrees? By you definition, the entire eastern coast of antarctica is not polar. Pretty sure the entire planet would disagree with that.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #12 on: 07/10/2023 03:54 pm »
India is part of the Artemis Accords, I think it doesn’t really matter if the Us or India gets to the South Pole first with a probe.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #13 on: 07/11/2023 04:29 am »
There are two colonies in Antarctica.

Argentina and Chile use the term “colony” for geopolitical reasons — their territorial claims overlap with each other and the Brits.  But legally, all such claims are held in abeyance by the Antarctic Treaty, which all three parties are members of.  And practically speaking, these are not settlements — no one is living at either Argentine/Chilean research/tourist station permanently, just like all the other national bases in Antarctica 

We may see actual, permanent settlement/colonization in Antarctica next century when global warming kicks into high gear and some of the coastal climate begins to resemble the far northern reaches of Alaska/Canada/Russia/Scandinavia.  If mineral prospecting prohibitions are allowed to expire in 2048 (or later), the probability of permanent settlement/colonization may go up.

Or, like the oceans, high mountains, and other planetary bodies, Antarctica may remain free of permanent human settlement indefinitely.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #14 on: 07/11/2023 03:50 pm »
They fit the literal definition of “colony.” People, including families, have lived there for long periods. Children have been born. There are churches and schools.

But sure, the British and Americans pretend they’re not de facto colonies because they want to either claim it for themselves or ensure no one can claim it. So it’s politically incorrect to say they’re colonies… But they are, in fact, colonies. Sort of grandfathered in at this point. Without being legally allowed to mine, it’s pretty tough to expand.

I just think people need to stop claiming that the lack of extensive settlements on Antarctica is some physical evidence that space settlement can’t be done instead of just something we decided to make effectively illegal. “It can’t be done! SEE we made laws to say it can’t be done!” It’s like a bully making a kid hit themselves and then being like “hey, stop hitting yourself. Why are you hitting yourself?”

I do worry a similar thing is happening with space, though. The people claiming that space settlement can’t physically be done are also those who are pushing to make laws that prevent it from legally being done. It’s super disingenuous and ticks me the frak off.

The people who advocate space settlement don’t really much care to stake a nationalistic claim to an extraterrestrial body (which is the reason the Antarctic Treaty exists), they just want to be allowed to try it.
« Last Edit: 07/11/2023 03:57 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #15 on: 07/11/2023 06:35 pm »
They fit the literal definition of “colony.” People, including families, have lived there for long periods. Children have been born. There are churches and schools.

Deepwater oil rigs, hospitals, etc. have chapels.  All kinds of businesses and offices have daycares attached to them.  None of them are colonies/settlements.

Some Greenland Norse ran a timber operation off the northern tip of Newfoundland (and maybe one or more other locations off the Canadian coast), which they called Vinland, for at least a few years.  We are pretty certain that women were part of these expeditions from the archeology.  At least one child was born there if the sagas are to be believed.  But unlike Greenland (which eventually failed a few centuries later) and Iceland, Vinland/Newfoundland was never a Norse colony.  No Norse lived out their lives or _settled_ there permanently.

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I do worry a similar thing is happening with space, though. The people claiming that space settlement can’t physically be done are also those who are pushing to make laws that prevent it from legally being done. It’s super disingenuous and ticks me the frak off.

Honest folks can have different definitions of “colony” and “settlement”.  I’m anal retentive about a definition that includes the settlers both raising children _and_ living out rest of their/entire lives at the settlement.  Not to be disingenuous or frak anyone off, but because the challenges involved in creating that kind of multi-decadal/multi-century permanence are magnitudes greater than an oil rig that rotates crews every so many weeks/months, a timber camp that gets worked for a few seasons, or a research base that turns over the entire population every few years.  That’s not belittling the brave folks at the oil rigs, timber camps, or research bases, but just trying to be realistic about the differences between those efforts and true, permanent settlement.  If we don’t recognize the differences between the two and think through them rigorously on the space side, then I think we’re setting ourselves up for failure.  One only needs to peruse the handfuls of failed European colonies/settlements in the New World to recognize just how difficult true permanent settlement really is:

https://www.history.com/news/failed-colonies-north-america

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/exploration/text6/text6read.htm#:~:text=Roanoke%2C%20Ajacan%2C%20Fort%20Caroline%2C,settlements%3B%20starving%20settlers%20abandoned%20others.

https://listverse.com/2019/06/26/10-failed-attempts-to-colonize-north-america/

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I just think people need to stop claiming that the lack of extensive settlements on Antarctica is some physical evidence that space settlement can’t be done instead of just something we decided to make effectively illegal. “It can’t be done! SEE we made laws to say it can’t be done!” It’s like a bully making a kid hit themselves and then being like “hey, stop hitting yourself. Why are you hitting yourself?”

The Antarctic Treaty doesn’t keep anyone from living out their entire lives in Antartica.  And given their proximity to that slice of Antarctica and their past military conflicts with each other (Beagle Conflict) and Britain (Falklands War), Argentina/Chile have strong reasons to flex as much as they can geopolitically in that part of the world.  But even with those incentives, neither nation undertakes the cost of permanent settlement and/or can find citizens willing to undertake that permanent challenge.

This is something space settlement advocates should pay attention to.  If no government or organization is willing to underwrite permanent settlements in the remote, harsh environments of Antarctica, the deep sea, or the high altitude regions on Earth, then what would be needed to rationalize and justify the much more expensive proposition of underwriting permanent lunar or Martian settlements?  If no individuals/families are willing to permanently resettle to these kinds of locations on Earth, then what could incentivize them to resettle in the much more remote and forbidding environments of the Moon and Mars?

I don’t have answers to these questions and I don’t expect them.  But I think these are serious questions that the space settlement advocacy community has not taken seriously.

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The people who advocate space settlement don’t really much care to stake a nationalistic claim to an extraterrestrial body (which is the reason the Antarctic Treaty exists), they just want to be allowed to try it.

Nothing in the Outer Space Treaty forbids space settlement and the utilization of space resources.  And the Artemis Accords are helping to reduce the legal uncertainties.  It’s more a matter of biology, resources, and will than legal blockades.
« Last Edit: 07/13/2023 06:31 pm by VSECOTSPE »

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #16 on: 07/13/2023 06:29 pm »
... Applying the 'within Earth's arctic circle latitude' criterion is arbitrary and doesn't really mean anything at the Moon.

Earth based definition would not work on the Moon since lunar tilt is only about 1.5 degrees.

One choice might be e.g. that polar region start at the latitude where the bottom of a typical crater is permanently shadowed. But this would mean defining a typical crater which is also quite arbitrary.

I googled "Lunar Polar Region definition" but currently there is nothing.

But e.g. Planetary Society thinks Chandrayaan 3 landing is in polar region: https://www.planetary.org/space-missions/chandrayaan-3

But the landing place is also quite far from the poles.

Hence, if the Chandrayaan 3 makes a successfully soft landing (a first soft landing in a polar region), it would make sense to define the end of the polar region by its landing latitude, so 69.367621 degrees.

« Last Edit: 07/13/2023 06:34 pm by turbopumpfeedback2 »

Offline sanman

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #17 on: 07/14/2023 05:57 am »
I have a silly question -- why is there more interest in the Moon's South Pole region than in the North Pole region?
What are the main differences between South Pole and North Pole regions of the Moon?

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #18 on: 07/14/2023 07:18 am »
I have a silly question -- why is there more interest in the Moon's South Pole region than in the North Pole region?
What are the main differences between South Pole and North Pole regions of the Moon?

Mantle material of interest to geologists is exposed in the south polar region (and not the north):

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Topography-map-of-the-South-Pole-Aitken-basin-from-LROs-Lunar-Orbitar-Laser-Altimeter_fig1_251493149

More spectroscopic signature for water ice in the south polar region:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/ice-confirmed-at-the-moon-s-poles

South polar region also has more permanently illuminated area for solar power (but most planning assumes movable arrays):

https://wms.lroc.asu.edu/lroc/view_rdr/WAC_POLE_ILL_TWI_SOUTH?_gl=1*1teqg4s*_ga*MTEzNzU1NDMyMy4xNjg5MzE4NjAz*_ga_SBFXQ3JFQY*MTY4OTMxODYwMi4xLjEuMTY4OTMxODgyNi4zMS4wLjA.

https://wms.lroc.asu.edu/lroc/view_rdr/WAC_POLE_ILL_TWI_NORTH?_gl=1*1umk64o*_ga*MTEzNzU1NDMyMy4xNjg5MzE4NjAz*_ga_SBFXQ3JFQY*MTY4OTMxODYwMi4xLjEuMTY4OTMxODY4NC42MC4wLjA.

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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Re: First in polar region: India or US?
« Reply #19 on: 07/14/2023 11:09 am »
I did not realize there are actually three:

Chandrayaan 3    launched today (India)
Luna 25               August 10 (Russia)
IM1                     Q3 (USA)

All of them aim for the lunar south pole region. The launch dates are from wikipedia.



 

 

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