Author Topic: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969  (Read 36265 times)

Offline William Barton

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #40 on: 03/02/2009 03:54 PM »
Gosh .. living on a moon colony?  What a boring place that would soon become.  No Kentucky Fried Chicken, no Mc Donalds, no Burger King, no whiskey!!  No thanks, I'll stay here with Brittney.

---  CHAS

My guess is, living on a moon colony would be a lot like living in a big shopping mall, complete with KFC, McD, et al. Saturday night at the Metroplex 15, and Britney will come up for a show in the mall auditorium if the price is right. If you can't afford Britney, I'm sure Wayne Newton will come for a lot less...

Offline William Barton

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #41 on: 03/02/2009 03:59 PM »
[quote author=JohnFornaro link=topic=15838.msg370225#msg370225 The kind of leadership required in the space community would acknowledge the need to plan for the political independence of our future colonies.   This is not a hare brained utopian dream, it is the reality we need to face.


This is not applicable to lunar colonies since they will not be able to survive without support from earth.  Much like Antarctic outposts 
[/quote]

I don't see either of those statements as necessarily true, excepting the use of the term "outposts" as opposed to "colonies" for Antarctica. There no reason an Antarctic colony couldn't be self-sustained, once started properly, since Antarctica has everything necessary. For the Moon, that's an unknown, so we can't say whether it is or is not possible. Worth doing is another matter in either case.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #42 on: 03/02/2009 06:04 PM »
Well, even though my non-refrigerated math may be subject to temperate acts, planning for political independence is still absolutely necessary.  The idea, lost to some, is that at 100,000 people, politics will certainly be raised, if only to insist that Wayne, rather than Brittany, get the standing engagement at the "Moon Mall". (Mall of the Lunatics?)

Worth doing is certainly the salient point.  I've been objecting to the line of reasoning that goes, "since there is no business reason to go to the Moon, we shouldn't"  So, building a giant space frisbee to shield the Earth from the Sun while we burn the rest of our fossil fuels represents the business mindset at work?

Mos' def, Not!  We cannot simply stay on the home planet.  The only place to go is up.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #43 on: 03/02/2009 06:07 PM »
  So, building a giant space frisbee to shield the Earth from the Sun while we burn the rest of our fossil fuels represents the business mindset at work?


If it is cheaper then yes

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #44 on: 03/03/2009 01:57 AM »
"If it's cheaper..."

Big if.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Vacuum.Head

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #45 on: 03/03/2009 03:53 AM »
This is not applicable to lunar colonies since they will not be able to survive without support from earth.
You had better hope...
In the Long term: say when there *are* 100,000 people on the Moon (excluding "Bloody Tourists") ...will the Lunar Colonials not be investing in NEO Resource extraction? Then having the profits of their labour taken by tyrannical terrestrial governments: "No taxation without representation!" will be the cry. And the rest is (Future) history.
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Offline Vacuum.Head

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #46 on: 03/03/2009 04:01 AM »
"If it's cheaper..."

Big if.
Really Big
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126973.600-hacking-the-planet-the-only-climate-solution-left.html
and as it says on this nice poster
http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2697/26973601.jpg
"cutting emissions might be cheaper"
Posted here so as not to give them any more ammunition ;D
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"...all the Universe or nothing." Oswald Cabal
["Shape of Things to Come" U.K. 1936  (Dir. William Cameron Menzies)]

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #47 on: 03/10/2009 01:29 AM »
"1/3 Saturn V per person."  From my viewpoint, this is a good starting place to apply an arithmetic rule of thumb to the problem of figuring out if we could have gotten 100 K people on the Moon in the last forty years. In the first place, I think that the above number (.333 Saturn V per person) is low, because the current shuttle ratio of people to propellant is higher than it was back in Saturn days.  But at the same time, we need to figure out how much fuel is needed for how many people, rockets, and stuff.

The point has sorta been raised here that a population of 100K on the Moon in forty years is an optimistic conclusion, and this may turn out to be true, but I ask those with interest to suffer the discussion a bit further.   Also, this is only part of my speculation, the larger point turning out to be a search for a loose consensus of that lunar population which would demand political independence.  To recap, I'm guessing that had we started a lunar colony in 1969, we would have 100K people asking or maybe demanding independence by now. I've made a number of assumptions to get to this point, but I haven't enumerated them until now.  I would be glad to read discussion about these assumptions.

First, that the majority of the American people, if truly polled, would want a lunar colony, so that our policy makers and the world at large would have had a clear, long term mandate to continue with what was begun in 1969.  The major objection to this assertion would be that, as it actually turned out, the American people don't care about space exploration, much less about a lunar colony.  Certainly, this first assumption is a fantasy of sorts.  I notice that all, not just some, but all, of the other threads on the "Missions that never were..." subject are not in the least fantastic, and for my lapse, I offer the Jars of Apollo.

My second assumption is that the lunar colony has always been affordable, because the global war machine could be cut in half and still be virtually as an effective killing machine as it is today.  I'm sure that corruption and so forth only account for the tiniest fraction of our military costs, probably negligible by some accounts, but I'm also suggesting that perhaps we didn't need to fight the various wars we've had since 1969.  (I can see your lips moving, but I can't hear what you're saying; there's too much laughter.)  I'm also suggesting that international antagonisms are mostly artificially inflated, and that people in general prefer their efforts to go to construction rather than destruction.  True, greater global education might support my assertion, so I expect that the masses will remain ignorant, but let's continue as if they had been educated.  We also get to keep the money saved from rebuilding the aftermath of wanton destruction.  In addition, to make the calculation a bit easier on the envelope, I would suggest that we count only the money of the larger players, perhaps from Brazil on up.  So maybe someone could come up with a calculation for review.  Philosophical objections to this assumption are not helpful at this point.  You know, "Why would anyone want to lock themselves up in a tin can", and so forth.  The tired business argument is also unhelpful, because in all cases, not just some, business follows human activity, not the other way around.

My third assumption is that rocket design follow basically the same path that it has followed over the last forty years.  So how many LV's does that add up to be with all this money were assuming?  Further, all of this income from the second assumption also goes to the entire space infrastructure:  factories, launch facilities, propellant, and of course the vehicles as well as whatever else I have omitted in this short list.  I expect some comments regarding how many LV's become available over time, and how quickly they can be launched.  Should we assume an acceptable failure rate as that rate that we have already witnessed?  Allow reliability to improve by a believable amount.  The goal is to find out how many people end up on the Moon and to be able to believe that number more than my baseless intuition of 100K.

The fourth assumption, sort of a corollary to the first, is that this lunar colony is a directed endeavor, an exercise of man's free will.  This implies several things, the most important of which is that a directed endeavor is also a cooperative endeavor.  This cooperation between us, the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Indians and everybody else would suggest that standardization between the countries would introduce synergetic effects regarding the interoperability of spacecraft and software.  Mass production savings would mean unit production costs would have to go down.

The fifth assumption would be that reasonable incremental improvements would take place along the timeframe being considered.  Thus we might consider that the Saturn V rocket could have developed into a cargo version and a passenger version.  Maybe it could carry a 12-18 passenger payload. Maybe the same holds true for the Russian, European, and other manufacturers.  I'm seeing a space ready passenger module in the Shuttle cargo bay that holds at least 25 passengers up to LEO.  Perhaps the ISS is finished earlier, definitely it would be larger and have a different function.  My preference would be that the ISS would be the way station for a Moon tug, maybe along the ideas expressed by Von Braun. At least four modules could be fastened together and towed up to the moon by the tug, which would stay in space.  It would be helpful to see a comparison of the pros and cons of direct travel vs. tug travel.  Plus, would fuel costs go down? What would be a reasonable improvement in rocket launch efficiency from Saturn V to the Shuttle?  Perhaps the Ares projections are as good as it gets.

The sixth assumption is the ratio of stuff to people.   That this is a directed endeavor is already acknowledged (at least by me) and we also would have substantial funding.  Everyone realizes that a certain amount of material needs to be transported to the Moon to begin making the colony and the INSRU factories that would construct directly from the regolith.  At the beginning, the stuff to people ratio is what 25 to 1? And then it goes down to what, 5 to 1?  1 to 1?  Part of this assumption includes the estimate of how much Antarctic ice can we ship up on a launch vehicle?

The seventh and final assumption for the moment regards the number of launch sites and vehicles that could be constructed, consistent with the previous assumptions, always assuming (snort) that the political situation of the world would have been more cooperative.  What would have been the possible launch scenario.  Von Braun envisioned 900 launches in a year.  We would definitely have launch sites off of Brazil, Yemen, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Antarctica, as well as the current ones.  How many flights off of each site?

I think this covers what I would call the optimistic scenario. Maybe there are other assumption categories for the optimistic scenario.  Depending on the following comments, I would embark on discussing the less than optimistic scenario.
 
I feel it is almost certain that we could have had at least 1000 people living on the Moon after forty years, but that colony would not feel politically independent.  Im beginning to feel inklings that others might feel that 100K might not be impossible, at least in theory or principle.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #48 on: 03/10/2009 01:39 AM »
The top quote about 1/3 SaturnV per person above came from the following thread:

Re: Time for a new launch site
Post by: hop on 03/06/2009 06:29 AM
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #49 on: 03/10/2009 11:42 AM »
non plausible, too many assumptions.  Too much willful suspension of disbelief.  This is fiction.  Too many places to easily derail the progression and therefore you arrive to where we are now.  No one on the moon

Offline William Barton

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #50 on: 03/10/2009 11:59 AM »
I would like to know how anyone "knows" that, "...the majority of the American people, if truly polled, would want a lunar colony..." I think that is nonsense. The majority of the American people believe the universe is operated by one or more supernatural beings. So far as I know, no mainstream, churches are preaching for lunar colonies at this time. It's also true that a substantial minority of Americans believe in UFO. If I had to guess, many of those people may believe the space program is a waste of time because the Grays already have starships. We're talking about Cargo cults here. TV sci-fi fans may in fact be the only large segment of the American population who actually support space exploration.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #51 on: 03/10/2009 04:52 PM »
"Non-Plausible, too many assumptions"  I actually read what I write, and I was hoping to make only three assumptions, but I kept on going to see just what it would take.  So I hear the plausibility argument.  But the technical argument is still mine.  We coulda done it if we wanted to.

As to "how do I know what they want", I hear that argument too.  Just because I think it's a good idea, doesn't mean that I'm in the mainstream.  And this goes for a lot of other things, whether or not to eat organic, whether or not to go to church, whether or not to drive a Prius, watch TV, surf the ocean, surf the I-net, etc. etc.

So all I can say right now is:  Dang!  At least I'm technically right.  In theory.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #52 on: 03/10/2009 05:06 PM »
"Non-Plausible, too many assumptions"  I actually read what I write, and I was hoping to make only three assumptions, but I kept on going to see just what it would take.  So I hear the plausibility argument.  But the technical argument is still mine.  We coulda done it if we wanted to.


The technical argument is not valid. Just like a lunar mission was not plausible in 1945.

And what is the point of all this? 

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #53 on: 03/11/2009 03:02 AM »
I believe you've rejected my point in advance.  Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969, we might have had 100K people up there and they would be seeking political independence by now.

Technically, every last bit of it was doable.  In 1945 we had not the capability.  In fifteen years, we knew it was possible, and achieved a Lunar landing by 1969, and then we stopped.

You made two arguments against my point, one ludicrous and one sound. It is foolish to posit that only business directs human activity, in spite of the increasing power of these interests over our political voices.  Rather, our policymakers should weigh the business facts against our societal priorities and then choose courses of action.  When they fail this task, as is currently the case, the economy suffers from the false premises of the business model.

Sadly, my cheerful assumptions require much suspension of belief given the actual history of the past forty years, and thus implausibility must reign.  I have acknowledged your argument in this, and it is sound. 

Nothing I proposed violates the laws of physics.  Cooperation and consensus follow different laws, however.  True, the number 100K in 40 years is in doubt, but there is at least one voice which realizes that we will get to that number and that independence is a sensible goal.  The substance of opposition to my technical argument seems to rest solely on the statement No, you cant which is more a directive or imperative than a proof.  So mine is a shallow victory, bracketed by a smattering of equipment on the Moon and a surfeit of poverty and war on Earth, thanks to the amoral business ethic.

I gotta go now.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline hop

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #54 on: 03/11/2009 06:37 AM »
The top quote about 1/3 SaturnV per person above came from the following thread:
That was off the top of my head to give an orders of magnitude idea of how much energy material it takes to put a person on the moon. Go look at a Saturn V, and think about launching 2 of those per day, for 40 years. Work how much of world jet fuel production you'd burn in the first stages.

That's just to get the bodies on the surface. It does not include sufficient resources for them to live there or create a complete self-supporting infrastructure.

Some people here claim you don't need too much to bootstrap self sustaining ISRU, but I'm not convinced. If you look at the actual amount of infrastructure required to get from raw materials to finished products on earth, along with the demonstrated cost of doing things in space, I don't see how you get anything less than hundreds of billions in development and hundreds of tons landed.

Where your whole scenario really goes off to la-la land however is that you don't have a motive. You are proposing to spend a noticeable portion of the worlds industrial output on something with no hint of a return. This makes your whole idea a bad joke. You idea may not violate any laws of physics, but burning up trillions of dollars without a plausible return is no more realistic than launching your rockets with pixie dust.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #55 on: 03/11/2009 12:11 PM »
Hop:

Math I can do.  I have no fault with the top of the head estimate of 1/3 SaturnV as a starting point.  Shuttle has a better ratio.  Please point me to a concise summary of these salient factors, and I'll do the calculation you suggest.

In the "New launch site" thread, I speculate that the rate of launches ends up creating an equatorial band of rocket exhaust in the stratosphere, so I have a notion of the results of this grand effort.

I tend to agree about ISRU.  I have speculated a stuff to people ratio of 25 to 1 in the beginning stages, tapering off to one to one after forty years.  How far off is this estimate, do you think?

As to motive, I laid bare my assumptions above.  Perhaps the initial motive for the landing in 1969 was to make war, but business follows war making, even as some businesses make it their business to start wars.  Witness Hearst's famous statement.   But even then, he needed Matthew Brady's photographs first.  Human activity always precedes business opportunities.

Business closely resembles Darwinian evolution in that higher purpose is expressly forbidden.  Cooperation, optimism, preference for construction over destruction; these are non-scientific motives, but they are real, self-evident, and no joke.

In the last election, candidate Sharia Palin expressed a fundamentalist perspective regarding the banning of certain library books which failed her moral judgement.  Yesterday, President Obama expressly removed the ethics of humanity from the business of stem cell research.  Both of these people would use their will to create motive, and they reflect opposite sides of the same coin.  Fortunately the first will was rejected by the voters, but the second decision, poorly understood by same ignorati, promises to have far reaching consequences on the quality of human life, and can be discussed further elsewhere.  But the larger point holds: First, there is motive as an expression of will; then business as the afterthought of activity.

In the Darwinian stew of metaphorical motives, the truth is typically well hidden.  But my main assumption, that a lunar colony is a very good idea, is quite realistic.  No pixie dust needed, thank you.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline William Barton

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #56 on: 03/11/2009 12:36 PM »
The technical and financial arguments against the plausibility of a 100K-person lunar colony are actually rather weak. Let's suppose, for the sake of discussion, that the Ares I/V system can be made to work, and that the infrastructure can be scaled up to support 2 launches per day (presumably this would require expanding from 2 pads to about 30, and that we'd need several more VABs to work in). Let's say the anticipated price per launch never goes down, and that the cost of a lunar mission is around $2bln, as currently guesstimated (admitting we really have no idea right now). 2x365 = $730bln. We have just spent a great deal more than that bailing out a bunch of bad businessmen. Let's say it costs $270bln a year to build an maintain the 2-launch/day infratstructure. Thats a trillion dollars a year, which sounds enourmous, but is still only a fraction of the US budget. An industrial enterprise on this scale would probably rescue the US economy from the folly of the past two generations. It would be what we did instead of wasteful and ridiculous foreign adventures. It would generate tens of millions of jobs.

The social and political arguments against it, sadly, are insurmountable. The American people show no evidence they would really support such a thing. Politicians are too short sighted to realize what it would accomplish, and would rather spend the money they steal from the taxpayers on wars and other forms of social engineering. The fact is, you probably could not find 100,000 people who would be willing to spend the rest of their lives on the Moon.

Offline DerekL

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #57 on: 03/11/2009 01:53 PM »
That was off the top of my head to give an orders of magnitude idea of how much energy material it takes to put a person on the moon. Go look at a Saturn V, and think about launching 2 of those per day, for 40 years. Work how much of world jet fuel production you'd burn in the first stages.

At two a day - not a noticeable fraction of world jet fuel production.  If nothing else, consumption at such a rate would spur production.

2x365 = $730bln. We have just spent a great deal more than that bailing out a bunch of bad businessmen. Let's say it costs $270bln a year to build an maintain the 2-launch/day infratstructure. Thats a trillion dollars a year, which sounds enourmous, but is still only a fraction of the US budget.

It's a fraction of the US budget *now*(roughly 3%), but in 1970 it's roughly 130%

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #58 on: 03/11/2009 03:34 PM »
Thank you, William and Derek
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline mlorrey

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Re: Had we begun colonizing the Moon in 1969
« Reply #59 on: 03/12/2009 01:37 AM »
That was off the top of my head to give an orders of magnitude idea of how much energy material it takes to put a person on the moon. Go look at a Saturn V, and think about launching 2 of those per day, for 40 years. Work how much of world jet fuel production you'd burn in the first stages.

At two a day - not a noticeable fraction of world jet fuel production.  If nothing else, consumption at such a rate would spur production.

Given that gas pump prices today have a lot more to do with the refinery scheduling decisions of the oil companies and not on the oil supply, you are right. An oil company could  undoubtedly make a lot more per gallon selling RP-1 to the government on a cost plus contract, than selling gasoline to the rube on the street.

Quote

2x365 = $730bln. We have just spent a great deal more than that bailing out a bunch of bad businessmen. Let's say it costs $270bln a year to build an maintain the 2-launch/day infratstructure. Thats a trillion dollars a year, which sounds enourmous, but is still only a fraction of the US budget.

It's a fraction of the US budget *now*(roughly 3%), but in 1970 it's roughly 130%

And what was the NASA and military budgets back then? Further lunar exploration and settlement was scuttled (along with MOL, Dyna-Soar, and lots of other fun stuff) to pay for Vietnam and the Great Society wastage. Penny pinching also got us a shuttle with a terrible TPS and an aluminum airframe, rather than one with a hotframe and a flyback booster (even though we've spent much more over the long haul on the cheaper option).

Yes, most of the country believes in supernatural beings and all the myths and prejudices that their high priests tell them to believe to the point of going to war over them.

Shakespeare had it wrong: first we burn the priests, THEN we hang the lawyers (and the penny pinching overregulating bureaucrats).

Now, imagine if the Pope decided it was mankinds destiny to teach about Jesus to alien species (if Kepler finds some earth-like worlds I intend to propose this for fun). The wars would stop and all the worlds religions would fall all over each other to make sure THEIR version of THE TRUTH was the first one to land a missionary on another world...

Thats really the big reason the space race died: there are no heathens to be converted to the one true faith. If we'd gotten a solar system a lot more akin to the writings of Burroughs and the other golden age writers, things would be much different today.
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