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  Robotic mission (probe) to Apollo landing sites?

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Author Topic:   Robotic mission (probe) to Apollo landing sites?
ASCAN1984
Member

Posts: 1004
From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 08-12-2011 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just reading about GRAIL, the two probes ready to launch to the moon next month, and it made me think.

On the probes to Jupiter and other missions, small drones have been allowed to parachute down and record the surface. We have also seen the pictures of a few of the Apollo landing sites from different lunar orbiters in recent years but it is very hard to see any major detail as they are not high enough resolution.

I believe that the Apollo sites are world history sites or something like that, so a landing there is out if the question. But what are the chances of landing beside one these, where the astronauts never went, but close enough to see and send back super high resolution pictures of the condition of the hardware after 40 years? For example, a hillside close to the landing site with a good view?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-12-2011 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Google Lunar X PRIZE may accomplish this goal as the contest offers a bonus prize for sending back HD video of one of the Apollo sites (the "Apollo Heritage Bonus Prize").
The Heritage Bonus Prize will be awarded to the first team that returns to the Earth a Mooncast including imagery and video of an anthropogenic historical artifact taken by a mobile craft or mobile secondary vehicle after it has landed on the surface of the Moon.

Teams wishing to attempt to win the Heritage Bonus Prize must receive prior approval of the Heritage Mission plan from the Google Lunar X PRIZE Judging Panel in order to eliminate unnecessary risks to the historically significant sites of interest. These sites of interest include landing or crash sites of manmade space hardware such as Surveyor or Luna probes, Lunokhod rovers, Apollo landing sites, the SMART-1 impact site, et cetera.

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1494
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 08-12-2011 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A touchdown even more than a mile from the Apollo sites would risk blowing dust onto the sites. One of the masts on Surveyor III had a small hole in it, and the Apollo 12 landing several hundred yards away still blew dust through that hole and into the structure, in addition to coating the outside of the Surveyor with enough dust to make it appear discolored to Conrad and Bean.

I read once that without air to induce drag on the dust particles and the low gravity, a descent engine could actually push dust fast enough to fly over the horizon.

I would dearly love to see the Apollo sites from the ground again, but I fear for the damage we might inadvertently do to the sites.

ASCAN1984
Member

Posts: 1004
From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 08-14-2011 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
I would dearly love to see the Apollo sites from the ground again, but I fear for the damage we might inadvertently do to the sites.
I'm sure they would allow for that. Would badly love to see.

Max Q
Member

Posts: 381
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 08-14-2011 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I for one would like to have a look at what's left of the Saturn boosters that impacted on the Apollo missions. That would be cool.

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 08-14-2011 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They could send a lander then drive it to one of the sites.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 08-15-2011 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ASCAN1984:
I'm sure they would allow for that.
Never assume anything. The six Apollo sites are historic, and in my opinion there is too much risk trying to re-visit them with existing technology. We should focus on other sites until the technology is proven.

Max Q
Member

Posts: 381
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 08-16-2011 02:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can understand Apollo 11 and 17 being off limits but the other four surely would be okay.

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