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  Restarting Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRVs)

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Author Topic:   Restarting Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRVs)
Max Q
Member

Posts: 392
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 08-29-2011 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the lunar rovers were to be accessed right now and the batteries were replaced would they still function after all this time?

Space Cadet Carl
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Posts: 77
From: Lake Orion, Michigan
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 08-29-2011 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet Carl   Click Here to Email Space Cadet Carl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Extremely unlikely. After 40 years of being cooked and frozen repetitively on a monthly basis, I have to guess that a lot of non-metallic components on the rovers have turned to dust by now. However... I'll wait for someone else to give a more technical response to this one.

ilbasso
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Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 08-29-2011 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recall that paraffin wax was used as a heat exchanger in the electronics. I wonder if any of that would be left?

MadSci
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Posts: 188
From: Maryland, USA
Registered: Oct 2008

posted 08-29-2011 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MadSci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I imagine vacuum welding would have seized many if not almost all of the moving parts of the rovers. Particularly when you consider that the whole device was bathed in lunar dust, and that it was not designed for long duration exposure.

Ross
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Posts: 389
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 08-30-2011 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to mention the radiation. Since there is no atmosphere, the UV radiation alone would ensure that any exposed polymer (plastic or rubber) would no longer be viable. In addition any electronics would be at risk from the solar wind and other high energy particles. In short, the answer is an almost certain no.

carmelo
Member

Posts: 817
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 01-27-2014 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are the lunar rovers left on the moon by Apollo 15, 16 and 17 still working, and if not, could be reactivated by future astronauts? (Is a hypothetical question, I know that are historic pieces protected.)

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Mike Dixon
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Posts: 787
From: Kew, Victoria, Australia
Registered: May 2003

posted 01-28-2014 12:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The onboard batteries (powering the drive, steering, comms and camera) would be long shot by now. Beyond that, would a replacement power system get these babies moving? No idea, but great question.

One Big Monkey
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Posts: 29
From: West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 01-28-2014 01:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for One Big Monkey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. Obviously the main issue for something left that long on Earth would be corrosion.

I'd guess a bit problem here would be thermal expansion and contraction of components?

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2250
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-28-2014 02:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suppose galvanic corrosion might be a concern (dissimilar metals causing ion transfer from one to the other resulting in corrosion of the metal). But to me, the more overriding concern would be what four decades of cold and hot soaking the vehicle would have done to the adhesives, fasteners and lubricants used inside certain elements such as the electronics and the electric motors. Would those parafin heat radiators for the batteries even still have parafin in them?

As a result, while the rovers might potentially look good on the outside, I doubt they would be driveable even if somebody were to plug a fresh battery in. Still, it might be nice for somebody to actually get up there to even try.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1679
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-28-2014 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Would those parafin heat radiators for the batteries even still have parafin in them?
Jay, we need to send someone and have a look!

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1072
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 01-28-2014 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about Danny Koker from Count's Customs?

p51
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Posts: 924
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 01-28-2014 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by One Big Monkey:
Interesting. Obviously the main issue for something left that long on Earth would be corrosion.
Hey, I know a guy who went to an Island in the Pacific and found a WW2 2 1/2 ton truck that'd been sitting there since VE day. He dropped a battery in it, hand-cranked the engine over a few times and with some gas down the carb, it fired up. That was over 60 years, in a jungle!

I wouldn't assume the rovers were toast, for this reason alone. Heck, I was told for years that the flags the Apollo crews left turned to dust years ago but the recent sat photos of the landing sites have shown shadows where those flags still stand...

model maker
Member

Posts: 106
From: Colorado, USA
Registered: May 2012

posted 01-28-2014 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for model maker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if the rovers that are heavily coated with lunar dust would in fact have been protected to some degree BY that lunar dust?

Shuttle Endeavour
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Posts: 153
From:
Registered: Aug 2013

posted 01-28-2014 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttle Endeavour   Click Here to Email Shuttle Endeavour     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know if lunar dust would have helped the rovers more than damaged them. I heard that if an astronaut got too much dust on their spacesuit, it would cause them to overheat.

LM1
Member

Posts: 404
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 01-29-2014 06:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
How about Danny Koker from Count's Customs?
Danny could probably restore them remotely from Earth.

carmelo
Member

Posts: 817
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 01-29-2014 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Shuttle Endeavour:
I don't know if lunar dust would have helped the rovers more than damaged them.
In fact seems that Yutu is damaged by lunar dust. But rovers had working without any problem in a lot of lunar dust bowls.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1656
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 01-30-2014 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This from the examination of Surveyor 3 parts to be found in the Apollo 12 mission results might provide some clues as to the rovers state.
A number of microscopic craters were observed on the returned pieces. Some were probably the result of micrometeorite bombardment of the Moon. Many of these craters were on the side of the Surveyor facing the Lunar Module. It is likely that these are the result of a sand-blasting effect from dust that was blown away from the Apollo landing site by rocket exhaust. Some darkening of painted surfaces due to the effects of solar radiation was also observed. Several nuts, bolts, and screws were disassembled after being returned to Earth, and none were found to have become cold-welded by their exposure to space.

Charlie16
Member

Posts: 336
From: Italy
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 01-30-2014 04:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Charlie16   Click Here to Email Charlie16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene Cernan told me: if you go to the moon, remember to bring the batteries, I left the car near the LM.

I want to keep dreaming that one day a man can do this.

carmelo
Member

Posts: 817
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 01-30-2014 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it happens,will be many year from now... said 2030. Sixty years after that Gene left the car.

All times are CT (US)

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