Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  Mission to Mars: Why do we need our Moon?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Mission to Mars: Why do we need our Moon?
ALAIN
Member

Posts: 355
From: GENT, Belgium
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 01-15-2004 02:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ALAIN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Moon as a stepping stone to Mars? What's the reality of this ?

I know NASA could use the planet Venus to get boosted onto a Mars-orbit, but first going to the Moon to build there smaller space-vehicles? What's your opinion?

Matt T
Member

Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 01-15-2004 03:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds pretty dubious to me.

Unless we can build an infrastructure on the moon capable of refining raw materials and supporting a huge aerospace manufacturing capability (not to mention an ecosystem to feed all the workers) then we can't produce spacecraft up there.

If we can't produce spacecraft on the moon then at best all we can do is assemble them up there, having launched them in 'flat-pack' form from Earth.

As they don't weigh any more fully assembled why not launch them that way from Earth in the first place?

Cheers,
Matt

Philip
Member

Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-15-2004 07:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We could go to the Moon again for:
  • Testing (underground?) habitat structures and spacesuits in real outer-space environmental conditions
  • Moon as a stepping stone for Mars-vehicles
  • It would take decades to set up the necessary launch-facilities and produce the fuel using lunar resources...
  • Relay of solar power using lunar solar panels and transferring the energy to Earth via microwave technology
  • Military reasons...
  • Prestige (To be established first before the Chinese or any other nation)

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 01-15-2004 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Florida Today:
quote:
Why go to the moon?

Simply said, to use it as a proving ground for subsequent missions to Mars.

Just three days away, the moon is a nearby place where astronauts can learn to live and work in a hostile environment before heading off to more distant destinations. On the moon, explorers could:


  • Set up, for the first time, a full-fledged habitat on another world.

  • Test advanced spacesuits and rovers.

  • Try out methods for protecting explorers from deadly radiation.

  • Learn to operate crucial life support, power and other systems needed on Mars.

  • Further gauge the debilitating effects of the absence of normal gravity on the body. There are scientific and economic reasons too, including:

  • A science station that sheds light on the origins of Earth and the solar system.

  • An astronomical observatory that provides an unobstructed view of the universe.

  • A monitoring post for tracking meteors and asteroids that could bombard Earth.

  • A space filling station where rocket fuels could be made for missions to Mars.

  • A spaceport from which Mars missions could be launched.

Matt T
Member

Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 01-15-2004 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Alain's question only addresses itself to the last point in the Florida Today list. I wouldn't argue that there are numerous valuable (and valid) reasons to return to the moon, but launching spacecraft to Mars isn't one of them.

No doubt we could do it, but why?

Cheers,
Matt

Philip
Member

Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 03-06-2004 05:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Once the (permanent) lunar infrastructure is built, for both minerals and Helium 3 handling and for launching spacecraft... the moon offers the advantage of a low gravity body without an atmosphere to launch from towards Mars.

Danno
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 03-06-2004 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Danno   Click Here to Email Danno     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
From Florida Today
Almost none of these reasons are very valid. The Moon is a much more hostile environment than Mars. "Checking out" Mars equipment on the Moon is almost like checking out scuba equipment on a ski lift.

While I think there are some good ideas for going to the Moon, Mars related activities just don't cut it.

On to Mars!

Danno

BLACKARROW
unregistered
posted 03-06-2004 09:43 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All of the reasons quoted by Robert for going back to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars are valid. I could add many more, but will confine myself to two:
  1. When we see the Moon shining down on us, we ought to be ashamed as a species that it has been over 30 years since one of us left footprints there. It is hard-wired into our human genes to want to find out what's over the next ridge, or round the next bend in the road. I want to find out what's on the parts of the Moon we haven't explored. I want to see photographs and live TV from the floors of Alphonsus, Copernicus, Gassendi and (with a nod to Jack Schmitt) Tsiolkovsky (the last one via relay satellite. I want to see the search for ice near the lunar poles. I want to see preliminary mining efforts to locate Helium 3. All of this can be done in my life-time if the Bush plan comes to fruition.

  2. Yes, I want to see the first live TV of astronauts stepping onto the surface of Mars, but even if the Bush plan succeeds on schedule, I will be nearly 80 (assuming I'm spared that long!) So, from an admittedly selfish point of view, I want to road to Mars to go via the Moon. Bypassing the Moon might shorten the time needed to go to Mars a little, but the time-scale still doesn't favour those of us who witnessed Apollo.

Cliff Lentz
Member

Posts: 639
From: Philadelphia, PA USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-08-2004 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why did we ever stop going there?

Rob Joyner
Member

Posts: 1292
From: GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 03-08-2004 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as I know NASA was given the option of spending their financial allotment from the government on the three remaining Moon missions or use it for the Space Shuttle, but not both. Our tour guide on KSC's NASA Up Close Tour told us that. Anyone else know of other reasons?

Rob

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 03-08-2004 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the NASA publication "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Chapter 12:
quote:
As budgets tightened and public support for lunar missions faltered in 1970, NASA managers faced tough choices. On the one hand, the successful Apollo exploration missions had given lunar scientists an appetite for more and more samples - more, in fact, than even the six missions remaining on the schedule were likely to provide. Against that stood the need to get moving on post-Apollo programs, the first of which (Skylab) had reached a stage where it required substantial funds to stay on schedule. Given the unpalatable alternatives, NASA chose to cut back on lunar exploration and apply the savings to its future.

Philip
Member

Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 05-20-2004 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Had a nice discussion about using the Martian satellites Phobos or Deimos as interim launch bases with (unlimited) fuel storage capacity in Mars orbit... but I guess that option also has fallen away as the Mars Global Surveyor images taken in 1998 suggested that Phobos can be covered by a 3 feet thick cover of powder dust!

TLI
Member

Posts: 23
From: London, UK
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 09-21-2005 03:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLI   Click Here to Email TLI     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anything other than Moon first would be suicidal!

Use the Moon as a practice ground, learn the skills their first, then they can be applied anywhere, Mars and the other Moons of the solar system. You've got to learn to walk before you can run!

mjanovec
Member

Posts: 3593
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 09-21-2005 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem is viewing the moon as a mere stepping stone to Mars. In fact, we should be viewing the moon as a world worthy of exploration on its own. The Apollo missions only explored a tiny fraction of the surface. There is so much more remaining to be explored and discovered. Who knows what untold wonders and resources lie on the moon? It's a huge mistake to assume we learned everything from six Apollo landing missions.

I'd personally love to see some missions to the lunar "far side" as well. Not only would this give us a chance to explore a whole new region of the moon, but it would better simulate a landing on Mars where direct (or near-instant) communication with the Earth wasn't possible to assist in the landing (granted a small satellite in lunar orbit could solve that problem...but the Mars problem is unavoidable).

Philip
Member

Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 12-27-2006 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nobody mentioned:
  1. Training and testing for Mars on the Moon could better be done on the Earth (as is done in fact by MDRS in Utah and Canada) because the Moon is a more hostile environment with a 672-hour day.
  2. Delta V to go from Earth to the Moon is larger than a Delta V directly to Mars.
The Moon itself will have some uses, but none to support a manned mission to the red planet!

John Charles
Member

Posts: 316
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 12-31-2006 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Philip, can you provide evidence to support either of your interesting and thought-provoking statements?

For example, what factors did you consider to conclude that the Moon is more hostile than Mars, and that training on Earth is preferred to acquiring real-world experience on the Moon?

Also, please explain your delta-v statement. I am guessing you use aerobraking to save fuel at Mars arrival, but did you also consider the return to Earth? You might also want to factor in the impact of the ~100-to-1 ratio of travel times (Mars vs. Moon) at minimum delta-v.

------------------
John Charles
Houston, Texas

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 12-31-2006 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Once the (permanent) lunar infrastructure is built, for both minerals and Helium 3 handling and for launching spacecraft...
And here goes the Helium-3 argument. Helium can be used in fusion-based nuclear reactors. We don't know (yet?) how to master this technology on Earth (which is basically to create a Sun - or plasma - controlled in an electro-magnetic field). It's being tested but consumes more energy (electricity) than it produces and there are also corrosion issues regarding the surrounding walls in which the plasma is created. All nuclear reactors (that doesn't apply to RTGs used on space probes) are based upon fission process (you break down the atoms). Add to that, we can barely lift ourselves from the ground; we don't know how much infrastructure would be needed to go mining the moon; who are the idiots who will do such job, etc.

Chris.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement