Author Topic: VSE Precursor missions  (Read 17579 times)

Offline alexterrell

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VSE Precursor missions
« on: 04/11/2008 07:29 am »
(Not sure where this question belongs. It's not an alternative, its a precursor question)

Does NASA have any concrete plans yet for unmanned precursor missions to the moon?

I've seen detailed maps of the lunar South Pole with a "resources" area and a solar gathering area, but as yet, no plans to send a robot to actually feel how much water ice there might be.

Dennis Wingo postulated that there might be Platinum Group Metal concentrations from meteorite impacts, but there are no plans to get detailed maps of the surface?

How about technology testing machines? Testing ISRU, lunar diggers, solar towers, etc.

Are any plans on the drawing board?
What should the first NASA mission be doing?
What would be used to launch the first mission?
Given the planning length of these missions, shouldn't these be starting about now?

Offline kraisee

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #1 on: 04/11/2008 11:30 am »
I believe all the Lunar precursor missions have been shelved (or at least indefinitely postponed) due to budget constraints.   At least all but LRO anyway.

Are there any still left in the manifest?   What about in the budget?

You might stretch to consider the first LSAM unmanned test landing as a "precursor" mission, but it isn't actually in that class.

There should be a robust program, but it ain't happening.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline Squid.erau

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #2 on: 04/11/2008 11:41 am »
What about GRAIL and LADEE?

http://nasascience.nasa.gov/missions/grail

And the international lunar network has been talked about some recently:

http://nasascience.nasa.gov/missions/iln

Matt

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #3 on: 04/15/2008 12:14 am »
The 2009 budget request has ~$390 million allocated to GRAIL for 2009-2013, but it's not really a precursor mission. It's a stand-alone in the planetary science budget, whereas LRO and the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program are covered in the Exploration Missions Systems Directorate. LCROSS is lumped together with LRO. Also, NASA is contributing one of the instruments to the Indian lunar orbiter scheduled to launch this year under SMD.

There is no funding for a lunar lander. I don't see ILN anywhwere in the budget, either.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/210019main_NASA_FY09_Budget_Estimates.pdf (5.9 MB pdf)

Basically, when NASA took a close look at what was really needed for an LPRP, the only thing that stuck out as a high priority was LRO.

ISRU experiments will be part of the manned program, provided plans for a lunar outpost are followed through with, as opposed to just sortie missions.

Offline Jim

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RE: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #4 on: 04/15/2008 12:44 am »
Quote
alexterrell - 11/4/2008  3:29 AM

How about technology testing machines? Testing ISRU, lunar diggers, solar towers, etc.

Are any plans on the drawing board?
What should the first NASA mission be doing?
What would be used to launch the first mission?
Given the planning length of these missions, shouldn't these be starting about now?

the need for those are still years away

Offline Nullset

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #5 on: 04/16/2008 06:09 pm »
I just read about the idea of sending chimps to Mars before trying to colonize it with humans. It seems like an obvious prelude, despite PETA's objections to it. However, we're ages away from sending enough people to Mars to colonize. Has anyone looked into sending a group of chimps on a one way trip to the Moon and see how our nearest cousins react to long term life in 1/6 of Earth's gravity? There's really no point in building "transportation system" grade rockets if we can never live there in the first place.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #6 on: 04/17/2008 09:51 pm »
The cost would be extremely high without the benefit of them being able to perform basically anything in the way of structured surface activities.

I believe, however, the Mars Gravity Biosatellite is still progressing, and may eventually get launched.

http://www.marsgravity.org/main/

Offline rsp1202

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #7 on: 04/17/2008 11:01 pm »
Quote
Nullset - 16/4/2008  11:09 AM

I just read about the idea of sending chimps to Mars before trying to colonize it with humans. It seems like an obvious prelude, despite PETA's objections to it. However, we're ages away from sending enough people to Mars to colonize. Has anyone looked into sending a group of chimps on a one way trip to the Moon and see how our nearest cousins react to long term life in 1/6 of Earth's gravity? There's really no point in building "transportation system" grade rockets if we can never live there in the first place.

NASA's already facing large job losses. Giving chimps flight assignments is adding insult to injury.  :)

Offline Nullset

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #8 on: 04/18/2008 02:04 am »
Quote
iamlucky13 - 17/4/2008  5:51 PM

I believe, however, the Mars Gravity Biosatellite is still progressing, and may eventually get launched.

http://www.marsgravity.org/main/

Now _that's_ a neat idea. Using simulated low gravity to do the research in is clever. The 5 weeks they're proposing is far too short, I would think, even using rats. Hopefully if the first mission is successful a longer mission to study bone density loss and breeding issues will be pursued. I wonder if Bigelow is considering the rental value of a low-g platform?

I suppose sending chimps to moon isn't a huge benefit since they're nearly human size and require a similar diet size. Maybe rats, like the Biosatellite folks are using, or a small primate like the tamarin. While I'm all for human exploration of the solar system, it seems we spend a lot of money without experimenting to see if we're physically fit for the task.

Offline wingod

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RE: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #9 on: 04/18/2008 02:21 am »
Quote
Jim - 14/4/2008  7:44 PM

Quote
alexterrell - 11/4/2008  3:29 AM

How about technology testing machines? Testing ISRU, lunar diggers, solar towers, etc.

Are any plans on the drawing board?
What should the first NASA mission be doing?
What would be used to launch the first mission?
Given the planning length of these missions, shouldn't these be starting about now?

the need for those are still years away

Actually I agree that ISRU related science experiments are needed soon.  I had a discussion with a NASA person last night about this.  We need to confirm on the lunar surface the findings by Larry Taylor about the ease of sinterning of the lunar regolith.  We need to do an experiment to heat a bit of lunar regolith up to at least 1000 c at the lunar poles to determine exactly what the concentrations of volitiles are.  We need to do some regolith analysis in situ to determine the composition of that regolith at the site.

We need a lot more than a good map and we need it well before any manned missions are sent.



Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #10 on: 04/18/2008 12:29 pm »
I was more specifically talking about the "lunar diggers, solar towers, tec'
I agree ISRU testing needs to be done before any real exploration/exploitation is done on the moon.  But considering that the next landing is more than 10 years away, the ISRU missions have some margin before they have to fly

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #11 on: 04/18/2008 09:44 pm »
Are ISRU missions necessary precursors, however? Will they have a major effect on the ISRU experiments a crewed mission would conduct?

Constellation isn't dependent on ISRU, so are the benefits of dedicated ISRU robotic missions worth the costs compared to waiting until you've got human hands to operate them?

Offline kraisee

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #12 on: 04/19/2008 03:12 am »
The initial handful of sortie missions aren't dependent on ISRU at all.   But where we plan to go from there has to be planned at this sort of early stage of conceptualization.

There are two completely different approach paths which can be followed; one assumes an industrial ISRU capability is developed on the Lunar surface, the other doesn't.   You need to make the decision pretty early on in the development process for the larger program to get the very best optimization out of the systems you will be developing though, so knowing whether ISRU will be available or not dictates what your Lunar hardware must do too.

Right now CxP is not planning around Lunar ISRU, but that's based only on an assumption, not a the results of a study.

There really has never been a comprehensive trade study done to determine which approach is going to be better in the short-, mid-, long- and very-long-term periods.   There are a lot of opinions and some evidence indicating both ways can work, but the question of whether ISRU can be done in sufficient industrial quantities and if that can be done at a low enough cost to make the additional investment worthwhile or not.   There really is no solid confirmation one way or the other yet.

To ISRU or not to ISRU.

That is the question we really need answered before the LSAM really gets into the very serious development arc - and that's a much shorter time-frame than 2019/2020 first landing goal.

A precursor mission (better still; more than one!) actually testing real hardware concepts on the Lunar surface, would absolutely prove or disprove those concepts in terms of both technology and economics of ISRU.   I don't believe we will have anything more solid than 'opinions' on this issue until NASA decides to fly such a precursor missions.   Right now though, there aren't even any solid plans to do so - and there should be some by now IMHO.   CxP has had three years to put plans in place for something like this.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline alexterrell

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #13 on: 04/21/2008 05:17 pm »
Quote
iamlucky13 - 18/4/2008  4:44 PM

Are ISRU missions necessary precursors, however? Will they have a major effect on the ISRU experiments a crewed mission would conduct?

Constellation isn't dependent on ISRU, so are the benefits of dedicated ISRU robotic missions worth the costs compared to waiting until you've got human hands to operate them?

The SE bit of VSE is dependent on ISRU, (and a lot more).  :)

With a programme management hat on, I'd like to see a chart of planned research into ISRU* (research stuff testing with large vacuum chambers and regolith simulant - $10s of million) leading to a few unmanned missions ($ 100s of million) leading to support for manned lunar missions ($ billions).

At what point do the activities in this program feed into the main program? A descent plan might show NASA needs the research now.

*ISRU: I would use ISRU in the broader sense, so including, for example, burying capsules in regolith to provide radiation shelter. That means moving about 5,000 tons of regolith (only about 1 ton per hour if done over six months).

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #14 on: 04/21/2008 09:31 pm »
Quote
alexterrell - 21/4/2008  6:17 PM
At what point do the activities in this program feed into the main program? A descent plan might show NASA needs the research now.

IMHO.  Second unmanned lunar ascent from the Moon.

The first ascent can be fuelled using propellant sent from Earth.  Keep things simple by separating testing the rocket from testing the ISRU.

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #15 on: 04/22/2008 12:55 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 21/4/2008  5:31 PM

Quote
alexterrell - 21/4/2008  6:17 PM
At what point do the activities in this program feed into the main program? A descent plan might show NASA needs the research now.

IMHO.  Second unmanned lunar ascent from the Moon.

The first ascent can be fuelled using propellant sent from Earth.  Keep things simple by separating testing the rocket from testing the ISRU.

Not going to happen that early

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #16 on: 04/22/2008 01:14 am »
Delaying refuelling the ascent stage for 15 years can easily add over a billion dollars to the cost.

Offline kraisee

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #17 on: 04/22/2008 02:02 am »
Creating an industrial capacity for turning lunar regolith into highly refined and pure rocket propellant is going to cost more than $1bn.   You're probably talking at least that just to land the minimum necessary hardware on the lunar surface in the first place!

ISRU is going to have to offer a much better cost benefit than just refueling a handful of crew ascent stages each year before its going to be worthwhile.

Lunar ISRU will become worthwhile for Mars IMHO.   Although, even then that is dependent on if we decide to use a cryo system as the outbound propellant source.   If we go nuke, then there is almost no worth in Lunar ISRU.   Only if you have a need for hundreds of tons of LOX/LH2 from the lunar surface instead of from the Earth, does Lunar ISRU become a theoretically less costly alternative to Earth launched solutions.

Its actually a lot harder than you'd believe to even make an economical case for Lunar ISRU powering a reusable lander and a cycle-taxi vehicle between Earth and Lunar orbits.   The cost to develop the reusable hardware *and keep it maintained to a sufficiently high safety standard* is higher than the cost savings for the launchers.

The break-even point is a lot higher than most people seem to believe.


Now, Mars ISRU is a different argument entirely.   With readily available Methane there, the case is pretty strong to consider it.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #18 on: 04/22/2008 03:02 am »
Quote
kraisee - 22/4/2008  3:02 AM

Creating an industrial capacity for turning lunar regolith into highly refined and pure rocket propellant is going to cost more than $1bn.   You're probably talking at least that just to land the minimum necessary hardware on the lunar surface in the first place!

The actual cost could easily be higher.

I was thinking of the development cost of two different designs of lunar landers.
Model A - use once and burns fuel from Earth
Model B - reusable and burns ISRU fuel.

Once an expendable ascent stage has been produced it will probably be at least 15 years before a reusable ascent stage is developed.  So resusability and refuelling has to be included in the first lunar ascent stage or ISRU will be designed out.

An alternative ISRU fuel is carbon monoxide.  This can be made from CO2 in Mars's atmosphere and flown between fuel depots using electric propulsion.

Offline Bill White

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #19 on: 04/22/2008 03:30 am »
Quote
kraisee - 21/4/2008  9:02 PM

Creating an industrial capacity for turning lunar regolith into highly refined and pure rocket propellant is going to cost more than $1bn.   You're probably talking at least that just to land the minimum necessary hardware on the lunar surface in the first place!

ISRU is going to have to offer a much better cost benefit than just refueling a handful of crew ascent stages each year before its going to be worthwhile.

* * *

The break-even point is a lot higher than most people seem to believe.

Ross.

Initially, oxygen only lunar ISRU gives you ~80% to ~85% of the benefit without the need to locate water ice or extract, process and purify hydrogen.

Solar furnaces can heat "garden variety" lunar regolith to a temperature that will cause oxygen to out gas. And -- those same solar furnaces can be built from light weight Mylar given a parabolic shape by inflatable (gossamer) structures.

If the Google Lunar X Prize creates small landers, cannisters of Mylar and the gossamer structures can be pre-deployed before any astronauts arrive.

But then again, if this is true . . .

Quote
Its actually a lot harder than you'd believe to even make an economical case for Lunar ISRU powering a reusable lander and a cycle-taxi vehicle between Earth and Lunar orbits.   The cost to develop the reusable hardware *and keep it maintained to a sufficiently high safety standard* is higher than the cost savings for the launchers.

then the Mars-centric people might have a legitimate worry about getting so committed to the Moon, and chasing an ISRU vision, that Mars gets pushed off the table.
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline alexterrell

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #20 on: 04/22/2008 09:56 am »
Does ISRU only mean propellant? You guys are a bunch of rocket scientists so it probably does.  :)

To a surface expedition manager the most useful use of lunar material is (1) radiation shielding. Especially if we want to stay six months. How can capsules be buried?

Next I'd like (2) bricks and maybe glasses (3)

Then propellant would be useful, especially if mined from (4) polar ice (I get water as well).

If I need to get oxygen out of (5) dry regolith, then that's going to have to wait a long time. But at least then I get (=5) iron, or even better, (6) aluminium.

Priority (4) illustrates the need for a precursor mission. Is there water at the poles and is it usable? How is it usable? Until that is established you can't even decide the most useful place to send a manned mission, and you can't even finalise the design for a fuel production device (are we mining wet regolith or dry regolith?)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #21 on: 04/22/2008 08:04 pm »
ISRU Moon technology may have to be developed that does not use hydrogen or carbon (0).  Or only extremely tiny amounts.

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

Offline simonbp

Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #22 on: 04/23/2008 01:44 am »
ISRU equipment is heavy and not necessary for unmanned science missions, so don't expect it to fly until Altair starts up. Rather, lunar science precursor missions (LRO, LCROSS, GRAIL, LADEE, ILN, etc.) are focused more on missions that manned landings can't do, like remote sensing (LRO), gravity mapping (GRAIL), and the space environment (LADEE).

What still remains to be set up are pre-landing missions to do surface surveys of high-priority landing sites prior to an Altair landing. This sounds like a good mission for a cheap, simple rover (of the class going for the Goolge prize)...

Simon ;)

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #23 on: 04/23/2008 02:02 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 22/4/2008  4:04 PM

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

which aren't going to be used on the outpost

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #24 on: 04/23/2008 02:06 pm »
Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:02 AM

Quote
A_M_Swallow - 22/4/2008  4:04 PM

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

which aren't going to be used on the outpost

The boots and flag missions to the Moon have already been performed.  It would be a waste of time and money to repeat them.  Any future mission has to do a lot more and do it without killing the astronauts.

Weight restrictions will prevent more than trivial radiation shielding being sent from the Earth.

The same machines used for burying the building can be used for test mining.

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #25 on: 04/23/2008 02:20 pm »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  10:06 AM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:02 AM

Quote
A_M_Swallow - 22/4/2008  4:04 PM

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

which aren't going to be used on the outpost

The boots and flag missions to the Moon have already been performed.  It would be a waste of time and money to repeat them.  Any future mission has to do a lot more and do it without killing the astronauts.

.

The missions aren't boots and flag missions, they are scouting missions.  Next are outposts and not bases.

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots  are not in the picture


Offline mike robel

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #26 on: 04/23/2008 03:24 pm »
Precursor missions to the moon should include
1.  High Quality orbital reconaissance craft on the order of MRO in polar orbit, possibly including impactors to stir up the lunar surface for spectroscopic examination.
2.  Communication satellites positioned such that there is no signal black out for craft on the far side of the moon.
3.  Not a mission, but a determination as to whether or not any of the Apollo landing sites should be revisited.
4.  Surface reconaissance craft (stationary and mobile) targeted at the locations identified as promising from orbital recon.
4a.  These craft should carry locators to aid in high precision landings and various experiments, including ISRU or to ID water deposits.
4b.  Possible sample return missions from final landing sites.
5.  Land manned missions for medium length reconaissane forays (~ 2 weeks).
6.  Evaluate results and figure out what to do next.  periodically manned science outpost, permanent manned science outpost, skip Moon and go to Mars?

Offline rsp1202

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #27 on: 04/23/2008 03:47 pm »
Quote
mike robel - 23/4/2008  8:24 AM

Precursor missions to the moon should include
1.  High Quality orbital reconaissance craft on the order of MRO in polar orbit, possibly including impactors to stir up the lunar surface for spectroscopic examination.
2.  Communication satellites positioned such that there is no signal black out for craft on the far side of the moon.
3.  Not a mission, but a determination as to whether or not any of the Apollo landing sites should be revisited.
4.  Surface reconaissance craft (stationary and mobile) targeted at the locations identified as promising from orbital recon.
4a.  These craft should carry locators to aid in high precision landings and various experiments, including ISRU or to ID water deposits.
4b.  Possible sample return missions from final landing sites.
5.  Land manned missions for medium length reconaissane forays (~ 2 weeks).
6.  Evaluate results and figure out what to do next.  periodically manned science outpost, permanent manned science outpost, skip Moon and go to Mars?

I agree with some, and assume you mean if we were going to do it right. But since we're doing it cheap:

1. LRO already scheduled.
2. Been talked about since Apollo. No money allocated.
3. Apollo 15 site already designated as such, unofficially.
4-4a-4b. Unnecessary; no money for unmanned, but will no doubt be carried out by manned; unnecessary.
5. First flights will be doing this.
6. Everyone knows Mars is the ultimate target.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #28 on: 04/23/2008 04:02 pm »
Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:20 PM
The missions aren't boots and flag missions, they are scouting missions.  Next are outposts and not bases.

You do not need an Ares-V and astronauts to deliver a rover weighting less than 300 lbs to the Moon.
http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/projects/haughton_field

These are thinly disguised boots and flag missions.

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #29 on: 04/23/2008 04:24 pm »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  12:02 PM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:20 PM
The missions aren't boots and flag missions, they are scouting missions.  Next are outposts and not bases.

You do not need an Ares-V and astronauts to deliver a rover weighting less than 300 lbs to the Moon.
http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/projects/haughton_field

These are thinly disguised boots and flag missions.

Still doesn't change the FACT that early missions will just be landers and habits.  No Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots.  When are you going to understand that they are not in the plans

Offline kraisee

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #30 on: 04/23/2008 09:01 pm »
Jim is totally correct.   There is nothing in the current manifest of more than a dozen landings which has anything at all to do with Lunar ISRU.

More importantly than that though - there is going to be no cash available to even start developing Lunar ISRU before 2025 at the earliest.   Ares sucks up all the funding through 2020, and the initial sortie missions and outpost landings suck up the rest for the next half decade.

At that point Mars will take over, so I don't even see it happening then - and ISRU will not be Lunar, it will be Martian then.

The *only* Lunar ISRU we can hope to afford to develop in the current plans is a 'standard' probe mission.   Typical budget for such a thing is usually ~$300m including the launch vehicle.   Think Mars Rover with a small drill.   That's all we're likely to see under the current plans before about 2030 in the vein of Lunar ISRU.

And no, I don't think this is a good approach.   It's why I argue so strongly for a different approach.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #31 on: 04/24/2008 12:41 am »
Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  5:24 PM

Still doesn't change the FACT that early missions will just be landers and habits.  No Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots.  When are you going to understand that they are not in the plans

Plans change.

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #32 on: 04/24/2008 02:07 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  8:41 PM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  5:24 PM

Still doesn't change the FACT that early missions will just be landers and habits.  No Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots.  When are you going to understand that they are not in the plans

Plans change.

They still won't include the above.     ESAS is the plan.  Until ARES V and LSAM go away, the above are not in the plan.  The above is less likely to happen in the early missions than Orion being canceled or Direct being adopted.  So discussions concerning electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots show be under Advance Concepts and not
 "NASA CEV / CLV / CaLV / MTV / Alternatives"

Offline wingod

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #33 on: 04/26/2008 10:57 pm »
Quote
kraisee - 23/4/2008  4:01 PM

Jim is totally correct.   There is nothing in the current manifest of more than a dozen landings which has anything at all to do with Lunar ISRU.

More importantly than that though - there is going to be no cash available to even start developing Lunar ISRU before 2025 at the earliest.   Ares sucks up all the funding through 2020, and the initial sortie missions and outpost landings suck up the rest for the next half decade.

At that point Mars will take over, so I don't even see it happening then - and ISRU will not be Lunar, it will be Martian then.

The *only* Lunar ISRU we can hope to afford to develop in the current plans is a 'standard' probe mission.   Typical budget for such a thing is usually ~$300m including the launch vehicle.   Think Mars Rover with a small drill.   That's all we're likely to see under the current plans before about 2030 in the vein of Lunar ISRU.

And no, I don't think this is a good approach.   It's why I argue so strongly for a different approach.

Ross.

This is going to change in terms of the priority of ISRU.  Arguing for a different approach is going to do nothing in terms of opening up the solar system for economic development.  If that statement that we can't afford ISRU is your position, then you need to develop a lot more evidence that it is not affordable.   And yes we are developing the arguments for affordability and they will be published soon as part of a multipart series.





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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #34 on: 04/26/2008 11:01 pm »
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A_M_Swallow - 22/4/2008  3:04 PM

ISRU Moon technology may have to be developed that does not use hydrogen or carbon (0).  Or only extremely tiny amounts.

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

There are plenty of technologies that do not require hydrogen or oxygen.  Vapor Phase pyrolysis, magma electrolysis, and a few others.  However, if we are even half assed smart we can make structural elements out of carbon for the lander's dry weight and have all the carbon that we need for limited industrial processes.



Offline wingod

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #35 on: 04/26/2008 11:02 pm »
Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  9:07 PM

Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  8:41 PM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  5:24 PM

Still doesn't change the FACT that early missions will just be landers and habits.  No Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots.  When are you going to understand that they are not in the plans

Plans change.

They still won't include the above.     ESAS is the plan.  Until ARES V and LSAM go away, the above are not in the plan.  The above is less likely to happen in the early missions than Orion being canceled or Direct being adopted.  So discussions concerning electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots show be under Advance Concepts and not
 "NASA CEV / CLV / CaLV / MTV / Alternatives"

There are rovers and diggers already in the current NASA work.  The LETO crane from langely is also a digger for regolith and rover trailers that carry regolith are quite adequate even in the early days.  There is a lot that NASA is doing that is not published right now.  Watch for what happens this summer out in Washington state.



Offline wingod

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #36 on: 04/26/2008 11:03 pm »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  9:06 AM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:02 AM

Quote
A_M_Swallow - 22/4/2008  4:04 PM

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

which aren't going to be used on the outpost

The boots and flag missions to the Moon have already been performed.  It would be a waste of time and money to repeat them.  Any future mission has to do a lot more and do it without killing the astronauts.

Weight restrictions will prevent more than trivial radiation shielding being sent from the Earth.

The same machines used for burying the building can be used for test mining.

Amen


Offline wingod

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #37 on: 04/26/2008 11:05 pm »
Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  9:20 AM

Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  10:06 AM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:02 AM

Quote
A_M_Swallow - 22/4/2008  4:04 PM

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots may be needed to make the holes and cover the roof.  This can be performed in advance of the astronauts arriving for their 6 months stay.

which aren't going to be used on the outpost

The boots and flag missions to the Moon have already been performed.  It would be a waste of time and money to repeat them.  Any future mission has to do a lot more and do it without killing the astronauts.

.

The missions aren't boots and flag missions, they are scouting missions.  Next are outposts and not bases.

Electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots  are not in the picture


NASA has already decided to go straight to an outpost at the lunar pole.  Whether or not the first mission is two weeks or six months duration is far from being decided.



Offline iamlucky13

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #38 on: 04/30/2008 12:49 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 23/4/2008  9:02 AM

Quote
Jim - 23/4/2008  3:20 PM
The missions aren't boots and flag missions, they are scouting missions.  Next are outposts and not bases.

You do not need an Ares-V and astronauts to deliver a rover weighting less than 300 lbs to the Moon.
http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/projects/haughton_field

These are thinly disguised boots and flag missions.

Does a 300 pound rover do what you need it too? And yes, I'm talking from a science standpoint, not merely PR. JPL would contend that even a 1500 pound rover doesn't do what they need it to do on Mars. MSL has had several payload reductions. It can't, in practical terms dig or handle samples larger than a few grams. It can't do ISRU research, and it certainly can't fix itself if something breaks. Yes, it is much cheaper than ESAS and a lunar equivalent would cost even less, but it would not generate the same quantity or quality of data as a manned mission.

I won't comment on the need for that much capability, but I will note there is a difference.

The rovers you linked to are not self-sufficient.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #39 on: 04/30/2008 02:03 am »
Project Constellation is operating on a totally different scale from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).  These machines would be part of the manned landings rather than instead of - their first job should be building the base for the people.

The 300 lb rover is just the tractor, any science or ISRU package would be in addition and may be delivered on a later landing.

Using EELV loads of about 4 and a half metric tons can currently be delivered to the Moon's surface.  Later when the Ares-V or Jupiter-232 are flying larger lunar landers can deliver 20 mT of cargo.

True the rovers are not self sufficient so some of the 4.5 mT will have to be allocated to the solar panels and recharge station(s).

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #40 on: 04/30/2008 02:08 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 29/4/2008  10:03 PM

Project Constellation is operating on a totally different scale from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).  These machines would be part of the manned landings rather than instead of - their first job should be building the base for the people.

.

wrong again.  There is no base for robots to build

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #41 on: 04/30/2008 03:13 am »
Calling the moon base a Lunar Outpost only hides the problems like radiation, it does not eliminate them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_outpost_%28NASA%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_the_Moon
See the Mars Transfer Vehicle threads for the sort of protection against solar and cosmic radiation needed.

From the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
outpost - noun
1 military a group of soldiers stationed at a distance from the main body, especially to protect it from a surprise attack.
2 a distant or remote settlement or branch.

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #42 on: 04/30/2008 11:24 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 29/4/2008  11:13 PM

Calling the moon base a Lunar Outpost only hides the problems like radiation, it does not eliminate them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_outpost_%28NASA%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_the_Moon
See the Mars Transfer Vehicle threads for the sort of protection against solar and cosmic radiation needed.

From the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
outpost - noun
1 military a group of soldiers stationed at a distance from the main body, especially to protect it from a surprise attack.
2 a distant or remote settlement or branch.

It does not "hide" anything and you just disqualified yourself by quoting wikipedia.  

NASA calls it an outpost.  Period.  It doesn't matter what chambers says.

But even you first wiki reference shown

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #43 on: 04/30/2008 05:53 pm »
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Jim - 30/4/2008  12:24 PM

It does not "hide" anything and you just disqualified yourself by quoting wikipedia.  

If the best argument that you can come up with is the other person is using wikipedia then you lose.


http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/163896main_LAT_GES_1204.pdf
For those who want to see the NASA power point.


Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #44 on: 04/30/2008 07:32 pm »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 30/4/2008  1:53 PM

Quote
Jim - 30/4/2008  12:24 PM

It does not "hide" anything and you just disqualified yourself by quoting wikipedia.  

If the best argument that you can come up with is the other person is using wikipedia then you lose.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/163896main_LAT_GES_1204.pdf
For those who want to see the NASA power point.


The document proves my point.  It is just an outpost using landers with no "electrically powered remote controlled bulldozers, diggers, drills and repair robots" are not in the picture"

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #45 on: 04/30/2008 07:41 pm »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 29/4/2008  10:03 PM

Project Constellation is operating on a totally different scale from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).  These machines would be part of the manned landings rather than instead of - their first job should be building the base for the people.

The document you posted doesnt' show this.  
Manned landers are used to build the outpost.

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #46 on: 05/01/2008 11:15 pm »
I know the document does not show an underground base - the current plan is to expose the astronauts to solar and cosmic radiation for 6 months with only protection.

Stronger radiation protection is needed.

The simplest protection is to bury the buildings underground.

Since we are taking about a prediction either manual assembly or remote controlled digging can still be chosen.  Since the construction equipment does not need an ascent stage developing the buildings can be in place before the people arrive.

Offline Jim

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Re: VSE Precursor missions
« Reply #47 on: 05/02/2008 02:37 am »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 1/5/2008  7:15 PM

Since we are taking about a prediction either manual assembly or remote controlled digging can still be chosen.  Since the construction equipment does not need an ascent stage developing the buildings can be in place before the people arrive.

It doesn't matter.  The LSAM is manned for the first few years

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