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Working on the Moon
BBC ^ | January 26, 2004 | Sean Blair

Posted on 01/26/2004 4:05:16 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

The US plans to return to the Moon and establish the first base there as a staging post to a manned trip to Mars. But what would living and working on the Moon do to astronauts' bodies and minds? Neil Armstrong speaking live from the lunar surface to a billion-strong audience on 21 July 1969: "It has a stark beauty all its own. It's much like the high desert of the United States."

The big difference being that the high desert is a mere 4x4-drive away from California suburbs while visiting the Moon means three days of hurtling through hard vacuum at 11km per second.

Nasa should have no problem finding volunteers to crew the long-duration moonbase announced by President George W Bush. But what will they be letting themselves in for?

Twelve astronauts walked on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. The experience changed all their lives - some more dramatically than others. Buzz Aldrin battled with alcoholism while Apollo 14's Edgar Mitchell became a paranormal investigator. Following Apollo 15, the late James Irwin became a born-again Christian, heading to Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark.

Getting to the Moon is much easier than the six-month trip to Mars, but still places extreme demands on machines and people. Lack of political enthusiasm is the main reason further Moon landings were cancelled after December 1972. Another is that planners realised each new mission was a risk - better to finish with a perfect record than keep supplying fresh hostages to fortune. The trip means leaving the protection of Earth's magnetic field. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station orbit low enough to stay shielded, but going further means exposure to cosmic radiation and occasional intense solar flares. Apollo astronauts experienced high numbers of colourful flashes sometimes called "ghosts", caused by charged particles passing through their optic nerves.

Astronauts on the lunar surface are just as vulnerable. For each Apollo mission a network of observatories watched the Sun for show-stopping indications of unusual activity, but if a solar flare had occurred post-launch then astronauts would have had no real defence.

During August 1972 a solar flare erupted with such strength that any exposed astronaut would have been killed within hours. For any future moonbase a buried radiation shelter is a must-have.

Not that constructing it would be fun. It is difficult to dig the compact lunar soil deeper than about 15 cm, and once disturbed, moondust gets everywhere.

"One of the most restricting facets of lunar exploration is the dust and its adherence to everything, no matter what kind of material," remembered Eugene Cernan after Apollo 17. "Simple things like the bag locks and the lock which held the pallet on the Rover began not only to malfunction but not to function at all."

Spacesuits aged fast: Cernan's crewmate Harrison Schmidt scratched his visor to the point of uselessness while trying to clean dust from it - he also turned out to be allergic to the dust. All evidence suggests that sustained dwelling in one-sixth-normal gravity is actually healthier than the zero-g currently endured by Space Station astronauts, which leads to bone wastage and muscle atrophy.

The lunar environment is demanding in other ways. Its rocky surface makes for nail-biting landings while orbiting spacecraft get dragged off course by the gravitational influence of "mascons" - denser zones of lunar crust.

One proposal to make spacecraft operations easier is establishing a network of lunar GPS satellites, enabling the effective automation of navigation and landings.

That would come in useful as returning astronauts will explore some very different settings from the equatorial plains of last time, including descents into permanently-shadowed craters at the lunar poles - if operating in such extreme cold is feasible.

You would see home every time you looked up - and be reminded how just far away it was

If not, robots could take their place: a roadmap prepared by the International Lunar Exploration Working Group suggests the astronauts will have a "robotic village" of advanced rovers preparing for their touchdown. The sense of isolation induced by a prolonged stay on the moonbase would be psychologically tough, but broadly comparable to a tour of duty at an Antarctic base or nuclear submarine. The crucial difference is you would see home every time you looked up - and be reminded how just far away it was.

"I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth," Armstrong recounted after landing. "I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very very small." On the plus side, operating a moonbase might actually be cheaper than maintaining the International Space Station. Everything up in orbit needs to be positioned there by expensive rockets, but the Moon already has plenty of useful raw materials.

Researchers at Houston's Johnston Space Centre have turned simulated lunar material into concrete and glass. And running short of air should never be a problem: moondust is composed of 40 per cent oxygen.

Most of all, if we ever master living on the Moon, then we would be capable of exporting ourselves to similar planetary bodies across the solar system, from Mercury to Pluto.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: exploration; moon; rawmaterial

1 posted on 01/26/2004 4:05:16 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I just had a horrifying thought.

Islam does a lot of moon-worship.

Would they try to sabatoge colonization thereof, or even worse, try to take it over politically?

2 posted on 01/26/2004 4:10:38 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: All


3 posted on 01/26/2004 4:14:33 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Lazamataz
Anything the U.S. plans to advance civilization would be met with their opposition, sort of like Al Gore and his crowd.
4 posted on 01/26/2004 4:15:46 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"And running short of air should never be a problem: moondust is composed of 40 per cent oxygen.

I didn't know that. Seems we would have burned the whole moon up with the first landing!

I have to suppose the oxygen is not "free" but maybe an oxide?

5 posted on 01/26/2004 4:17:45 AM PST by realpatriot
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To: Lazamataz
Islam does a lot of moon-worship.

The months of the Islamic calendar begins at the New Moon .. (as do the Hebrew and Chinese calendars). It is true that unlike the Hebrew and Chinese calendars, the Islamic calendar is purely lunar.. but I'm not sure where the leap to "moon-worhip" comes in.

Lunar phases play a heavy role in Christianity as well. The official definition of Easter (Gregorian) was and still is: The First Sunday After The First Full Moon After The Spring Equinox. I don't think you could say Christians worship the moon, even though they rely on it for calculating Easter.

6 posted on 01/26/2004 4:24:28 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: Lazamataz
When you're on the moon, of course, you're view would be the Earth -- so you'd watch the phases of the Earth - Waxing crescent Earth, First Quarter Earth, Full Earth, Waxing gibbous Earth, etc etc
7 posted on 01/26/2004 4:26:58 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: realpatriot
I have to suppose the oxygen is not "free" but maybe an oxide?

Right. So it's already been "burned," if you will. To use it, we'll have to break the chemical bonds of the oxygen with the various metals it's compounded with. There are many proven processes to do that; no magic, just basic industrial chemistry.

8 posted on 01/26/2004 4:28:49 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: realpatriot
Yes, just an oxide, chemically bonded. Capable of being reactive or nonreactive. Water, after all, is 33% oxygen, and it doesn't burn very well.
9 posted on 01/26/2004 4:34:19 AM PST by Crazieman
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
but I'm not sure where the leap to "moon-worhip" comes in.


10 posted on 01/26/2004 4:36:09 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: MrsEmmaPeel; Crazieman; realpatriot; Lazamataz; All
Getting Power From The Moon***The LSP system consists of 20-40 lunar power bases, situated on the eastern and western edges of the moon, as seen from Earth. Each power base has a series of solar cells to collect energy from the sun, which is sent over buried electric wires to microwave generators that convert the solar electricity to microwaves. The generators then send the energy to screens that reflect the microwave beams toward Earth, where they are received by arrays of special antennas strategically placed about the globe. "Each antenna converts the microwave power to electricity that is fed into the local power grid," says Criswell.***

Silicon PV cell production on the Moon as the basis for a new architecture for space exploration*** A method is described by which silicon photovoltaic (PV) devices can be directly deposited onto the lunar regolith using primarily lunar materials. In sequence, a robotic "crawler" moving at slow speed sequentially melts the top layer of regolith and deposits a conducting layer, a doped silicon, a top conducting grid, and an antireflective coating by vacuum evaporation techniques. Concentrated solar energy is utilized as the energy source. Development of this capability would significantly lower the cost of electrical energy on the Moon and would enable a range of other activities, including lower cost propellant production, human outposts with complete food-growth capabilities, and advanced materials production. Low cost energy could affect the economics of propellants in space by allowing the extraction of solar wind hydrogen from the lunar regolith. This would allow the economical export of propellants and other materials to space, first to an Earth-Moon Lagrangian Point and potentially to low Earth orbit. ***©2001 American Institute of Physics.

11 posted on 01/26/2004 4:36:52 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
"Waxing crescent Earth, First Quarter Earth, Full Earth, Waxing gibbous Earth, etc etc"

haha.....sounds like the history of Earth over the last 2000 yrs......I guess that makes the current Earth and its inhabitants the waxing gibbous Earth.....well thats the impression I get when I have a look at what entertains us........

12 posted on 01/26/2004 4:39:38 AM PST by helives (God bless Australia, God bless America, God bless western civilization)
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To: Lazamataz
Does that mean that you believe that Christians worship fish? Or that Christians worship men (since the cross is also a pagan symbol, related to the ankh, representing Man?)

Or for that matter, according to pagan Barbara Walker, the hexagram (aka the Star of David) is an ancient pagan symbol pre-dating Judaism. It's a fertility symbol, the upward triangle representing the penis, penetrating the vulva of the downward triangle. So do Jews worship sex?

You'll find that many symbols have ancient pagan meanings.

13 posted on 01/26/2004 4:42:29 AM PST by Commie Basher
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To: helives; All
Lunar Telescopes***Why is the moon such a good place for astronomy? First of all the moon has no atmosphere. The sky is perfectly black and the stars do not twinkle. Stars and galaxies can be observed at all wavelengths including x-ray, ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio. ***
14 posted on 01/26/2004 4:43:00 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Commie Basher
So do Jews worship sex?

You have no idea how much we do. ;^)

15 posted on 01/26/2004 4:46:39 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: Commie Basher; All
Mining and Manufacturing on the Moon***Resource utilization will play an important role in the establishment and support of a permanently manned lunar base. The identification of new and innovative technologies will insure the success, sustainability and growth of a future lunar base. These new technologies will certainly utilize lunar resources. Lunar resources can be used to supply replenishables such as oxygen, fuel, water and construction materials. These materials would otherwise have to be brought from Earth at considerable expense.

Lunar resources include oxygen from the lunar soil, water from the poles and a supply of volatile gases. One of the most significant steps towards self-sufficiency and independence from the Earth will be the use of lunar materials for construction.

At least seven major potential lunar construction materials have been identified. These include:

· concrete
· sulfur concrete
· cast basalt
· sintered basalt
· fiberglass
· cast glass
· metals

All of these materials may be used to construct a future lunar base. The basalt materials can be formed out of lunar regolith (soil) by a simple process of heating and cooling, and are the most likely to be used to build the first bases. ***

16 posted on 01/26/2004 4:46:46 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: helives
Using my astronomical program Starry Night, If I were on the Moon right now (Sea of Tranquility at: 8.5N, 31.4E) I'd have a pretty good view of Australia. If I were at the Ocean of Storms (18.4 N, 57.4W), I'd have a pretty good view of Africa. Either case, the Earth phase looks to me like its a Waning Gibbous Earth - Just shy of a Third Quarter Earth
17 posted on 01/26/2004 4:54:26 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: Lazamataz
We just had the Chinese New Year - which is (generally) the Second New Moon after the Winter Solstice. I don't see calling the Chinese "moon-worhipers". But I guess that's just me.
18 posted on 01/26/2004 4:56:46 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Who says the Moon stands fixed within her sphere,
And passionless does spurn all mortal touch?
His heart is ice which dares not love the Moon,
And cry desire to unavailing Night.

19 posted on 01/26/2004 5:46:06 AM PST by Agnes Heep
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To: Agnes Heep

20 posted on 01/26/2004 6:01:15 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Why not use lunar concrete for interplanetary spaceship hulls? There could be thin steel or poly pressure badder inside, but just a thought. Seems like steel reinforced concrete might even be a little safer out there in all the solar radiation? Plus it doesn't take as much energy to create as does steel or aluminum.

Regular concrete weighs about 150 lbs/cuft and aluminum weighs about 165 lbs/cuft on earth. (Steel is about 500).

So steel on the moon weighs about 1/2 what aluminum weighs here, and concrete (by volume) would only weigh 25 lbs/cuft. Obviously, you need more volume of concrete to make stuff, and you need a lotta steel in it to get tensile strength, but for compressive qualities and raw sheilding, it's pretty good stuff, right? They're always making canoes out of it at the Universities....!

21 posted on 01/26/2004 6:03:54 AM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: sam_paine
Aren't the possibilities exciting?!
22 posted on 01/26/2004 6:07:42 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
Moon worship - you need to study the origins of Islam. Moon goddess worship that he melted together with his idea of being connected with the God of Abraham, Ishmael,... (not Isaac, Jacob)

Historical study is your friend.



23 posted on 01/26/2004 6:18:55 AM PST by Louisiana
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
It's been a longtime dream of mine to colonize the moon. You can imagine my dismay when I went down to Immigration Services this morning to apply for a lunar work visa and was turned down. Even though I showed them a reprint of this article, they acted like I was crazy. When I started shouting my taxes pay your salaries they really went ballistic and threatened to call the cops on me. They don't realize I pay their salaries too. Gee, how dumb can some people be.




oh yeah sorry/humor
24 posted on 01/26/2004 6:29:09 AM PST by BipolarBob (which one of my personalities were you talking to?)
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To: BipolarBob
Cute. :^)
25 posted on 01/26/2004 6:31:49 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Louisiana
Historical study is your friend.

Yes, it is. I associate the words: "moon-worship" with ancient cults to the Goddess Hecate etc. Islam simply uses a lunar calendar (so do a lot of other cultures.) If you're argument is that Islam is a "moon-worship" cult now based on its ancient roots, then by the same argument, you might as well claim Christianity to be Pagan, now based on its the Greco-Roman influences.

26 posted on 01/26/2004 6:32:21 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: Lazamataz
Islam does a lot of moon-worship.

So, that means we would be building bathrooms on the face of their god right?

27 posted on 01/26/2004 6:32:59 AM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Those at the south of the equator (Australia, New Zealand, etc), see a slightly different view of the moon. The Tycho Crater (that big crater at the bottom) is actually seen at the top of the moon in the southern hemisphere.

Its always a fun little nit of mine when viewing a Hollywood movie whose location is supposed to be the Southern Hemisphere, to be greeted with a shot of the northern Hemisphere moon.

28 posted on 01/26/2004 6:36:08 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
And the Earth appears topsy-turvy in the same fashion from the Moon.
29 posted on 01/26/2004 6:38:34 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
Its always a fun little nit of mine when viewing a Hollywood movie whose location is supposed to be the Southern Hemisphere, to be greeted with a shot of the northern Hemisphere moon.

Very often they flip the image.

30 posted on 01/26/2004 6:39:23 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Crazieman
Not to split hairs, but a more meaningful percentage would be mass; then oxygen makes up 89% of water.
31 posted on 01/26/2004 6:40:34 AM PST by Flightdeck (Death is only a horizon)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I saw a movie the other day - I trying to think which one it was-- Joe vs The Volcano? -- In any event, a moon was featured, the setting was meant to be the southern hemisphere, but the moon that Hollywood showed was the northern hemisphere moon.
32 posted on 01/26/2004 6:46:24 AM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
In "Apollo 13" there were wrong views of the Moon used and they also used the NASA "worm" logo (etched in the glass) which wasn't being used then. They don't care because they don't think the general public knows the difference. And they're right.
33 posted on 01/26/2004 6:53:21 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: All
ABC Online

Russia, US can collaborate in Mars exploration: Putin. 27/01/2004. ABC News Online

[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1031972.htm]


Last Update: Tuesday, January 27, 2004. 1:03am (AEDT)
Russia, US can collaborate in Mars exploration: Putin
Russia and the United States can collaborate in exploring Mars, Russian President Vladimir Putin told US Secretary of State Colin Powell in talks on Monday.

Congratulating the envoy on the US mission that has seen two probes land on the surface of the Red Planet in the past three weeks, Mr Putin said that Russia "has noted with interest President Bush's ambitious plans for the conquest of Mars," the Interfax news agency reported.

"I believe that in this area there are things we can do together," Mr Putin said.

Mr Powell for his part said that he was "pleased with the developments that are on the horizon with respect to continued cooperation in space."

Mr Bush earlier this month said his administration planned to send American astronauts back to the Moon as early as 2015, perhaps to set up a base to provide a springboard for a manned mission to Mars, and invited other space powers to join in the initiative.

The initial response from Moscow was cool however.

Russian space officials hinted that Moscow was capable of launching its own Mars mission at considerably lower cost than the US proposal, but Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin said last week that "the time is not right" for such a mission.

The US probe Opportunity landed on the Mars surface on Saturday with a similar exploratory mission to Spirit, which landed on Mars on January 3 but broke down last week.

Opportunity began transmitting pictures back to Earth that US space officials described as a "scientific jackpot."

--AFP
34 posted on 01/26/2004 6:59:29 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Well, the Russians want to hitch a ride.
35 posted on 01/26/2004 7:39:18 AM PST by demlosers (<a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com">Miserable Failure</a>)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Russian space officials hinted that Moscow was capable of launching its own Mars mission at considerably lower cost than the US proposal,...

Then do it and quit smack talking.

but Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin said last week that "the time is not right" for such a mission.

Ooooh Surrrrre...What's wrong Boris, ya don't want to pay for it?

36 posted on 01/26/2004 7:43:34 AM PST by demlosers (<a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com">Miserable Failure</a>)
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To: Lazamataz
I kind of like the idea of Islamists worldwide seeing the moon in the night sky and realizing we have Americans on it. Just another reason for them to be ashamed.
37 posted on 01/26/2004 7:49:07 AM PST by Brett66
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To: Flightdeck
All the same, water is made up of two volatile elements, when combined, becomes largely inert. =)
38 posted on 01/26/2004 2:03:26 PM PST by Crazieman
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
obviously you don't know very much about Biblical Christianity.
39 posted on 01/26/2004 5:42:05 PM PST by Louisiana
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To: BipolarBob
I'd like to be the first to welcome both of you to Free Republic.
40 posted on 01/26/2004 5:56:28 PM PST by Ahban
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To: Louisiana
I have a degree in Classics. What's your point? There are no pagan influences in Christianity? That's not true. If that's the scope and breath of your argument, then stop right there. Heck even Dante in his Divine Comedia recognizes the contribution that the pagans made in Christian thought.
41 posted on 01/26/2004 6:06:38 PM PST by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
Breadth?
42 posted on 01/26/2004 6:26:15 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: Ahban
Thanks Ahban. My second day on FR and I love it. The Iowa circus , I meant caucus sent me here.
43 posted on 01/26/2004 6:46:02 PM PST by BipolarBob (The voices in my head are starting to sound like Howard Dean YEEEAAAAGH)
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