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April 21, 2014

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: A Lunar Month [refresh]
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Blogger William Orem wrote on Jul. 22, 2009 @ 20:16 GMT


It’s a summer for celebrating the moon. As anyone interested in our space-faring future knows, we’re commemorating this month the 40th anniversary of humanity’s first stroll on one of the heavenly bodies.

It’s a mighty achievement, and comes with a faint bitterness as well. (Moon soil, I am told, smells a bit like wet fireplace ashes.) That bitterness exists for those of us who think the Apollo program should never have been scrubbed in ‘75—with Apollo 18,19 and 20 never to be launched at all, and our first fragile toehold on the solar system relinquished for low-earth orbit affairs. For all the shuttle program’s achievements, and I have sung them here, it’s a pity to have reached our satellite and then let it go again, like a balloon whose string you once held.

And it’s a greater pity not to have used it as a springboard to farther destinations. At a gathering this month of Apollo 11 astronauts at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in downtown DC, the reigning sentiment was that even returning to the moon now would be anticlimax. Instead, we need to press for Mars.

Collins: "Sometimes I think I flew to the wrong place. Mars was always my favorite as a kid and it still is today. I'd like to see Mars become the focus, just as John F. Kennedy focused on the moon."

Aldrin: (the best way to pay tribute to Apollo 11) "is to follow in our footsteps; to boldly go again on a new mission of exploration."

These are the sentiments of heroes. Flying to the moon wasn’t—or shouldn’t have been—a one-shot deal that we did in order to rest on its laurels for half a century. It was the opening of the door, if only by a crack, that leads to the greater celestial highway.

When the Apollo 11 astronauts made a Mars pitch to President Obama, the response was, however, lukewarm. Obama is interested in showing that “math and science are cool again,” which I can only applaud, but apparently has no interest in sending Americans into deep space. Given our financial wreckage, it’s not a big surprise. But what would make science cooler in the eyes of the next generation than a successful Mars trip? What would give us technological and economic returns whose nature we can’t even foresee? What else would serve to unite our fractured people in an Apollo-era national cheering session?



There’s an intriguing discussion on just these issues—to the moon? To Mars? Or to reign it in?--on Tom Ashbrook’s show *On Point*, with three distinguished guests: Robert Zubrin, author of “The Case for Mars,” David Kring, former director of the NASA Space Imagery Center, and Harrison Schmitt, who flew on Apollo 17. Well worth a listen.

As a side-note for those interested in all things lunar: I can recommend the sci-fi mindbender “Moon,” starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey’s voice. It begins in the relatively near future with a lunar mining operation harvesting helium-3 from the regolith for fusion energy on earth (a sensible premise, as the solar wind has been firing that rare isotope into the moon for millennia—though why you would need to be on the far side to find it is unclear). Just as our hero is wrapping up his three-year contract, he finds the body of another astronaut lying on the surface . . . one that looks suspiciously like . . .

“Moon” is a fusion product itself—it’s part “Solaris,” part “Space Odyssey,” with some of the better plot twists by Phillip K. Dick thrown in. But that’s a fine pedigree, even for derivative work. There’s good speculative science here for those who appreciate it, of the type that makes us ask fundamental questions about identity, technology and the perils of the post-human.



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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jul. 23, 2009 @ 03:40 GMT
It is probably a very rare occurrence in the universe where beings on one planetary body build a rocket or conveyance to travel and step out onto the surface of another body. Yet it did happen here, and I was a little kid at the time.

I doubt some of these expansive dreams about space colonies and space elevators are likely to happen. The last picture has a terraformed Mars with what looks like a space elevator. We certainly are not going off to other planets with some idea of escaping the entropy job we are doing on Earth. It is of far greater importance we get our act together on Earth before we think about setting up shop on the Moon or Mars.

Lawrence B. Crowell

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Ray Munroe wrote on Jul. 23, 2009 @ 13:11 GMT
Hi Lawrence,

I'm a couple of years younger than you, so I was also a kid when we first went to the Moon.

I worked with NASA during the summers of '97 and '98. We wanted to put people on Mars back then, but we ralized that we would be putting Astronauts in harm's way because of Cosmic Rays. The Earth's magnetosphere does a good job of protecting us, but we would need a massive spaceship with significant magnetic and/or material shielding to get to Mars and back. It would be tragic if the first people to walk on Mars died of cancers soon thereafter. I am certain that this is why we have been using robots instead. The robots are more adaptable to extreme conditions. The missions are cheaper and carry less liability.

Thanks for the comments on "E12".

Have Fun!

Ray Munroe

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John Merryman wrote on Jul. 23, 2009 @ 15:39 GMT
There was an interesting clip on the NewScientist site a few days ago about the eclipse across Asia yesterday and how an experiment was being conducted at various locations in China to test for apparent perturbations of pendulums during eclipses. If it's an actual effect, it would raise interesting questions about the relationship between gravity and light, since the same effect isn't mentioned in relation to normal new moons.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jul. 23, 2009 @ 17:14 GMT
Space is essentially lethal. A crew in interplanetary space would require large shielding from keV electrons and protons from the sun. The two options are to use lots of mass for blunt shielding, or to put a big nuclear reactor on the ship that generates a large magnetic field to simulate the magnetosphere. Either way the costs are large. Machines largely operate in these environments with no complaints.

A pendulum has a frequency ω = sqrt{g/L), for g = gravity at Earth surface and L = length of pendulum. The alignment of the moon with the sun might have a slight influence on g.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jul. 24, 2009 @ 09:49 GMT
Hi all ,

It's very dangerous indeed dear Lawrence ,when I see the number of parameters and the necessity of ultim fiability of pieces more the unknew.It's lethal more the spaceship will go more far .

The shield must be the most important thing for this spaceship .

I think that the researchs must focus on the spherical shield of protection .

It's there what I return to the rotation to produce this kind of spherical adaptable shield .

The polarization in this case will be a interesting center of research if we play with gravitional centers .It's like a music of spherical shields where thus the attraction and repulsion can be optimized to be in the good frequences .

Personnally it's my dream to discover our Universe and its lifes .But like you say ,it's very expansive and not prioritary for our Earth ,we have too much problems to solve here before ,furthermore our actual speed of evolution is weak thus in correlation with our technology .

There is a problem ,we don't check well the gravity ,all is there ,I return to the rotation which is for me the reason to all with the spheres .Chect the rotations of spheres and bodies ,it's check the gravity ,the mass ,the energy .

What is interesting is the universal link mv m mass of sphere and v velocity of rotation of the sphere around itself .

Of course we have in our Universe foundamentals spheres like planets ,moons ,stars,black holes ,...thoses spheres ,it's important to say that ,shall be differents than a human invented sphere ,thus many parameters must be inserted to approach the universality of spheres and rotations .

But in theory ,it is ok .

If I imagine our system ,we can say what we have a central sphere ,the sun ,thus a spherical field correlated with gravity ,this field turn around the galactical center ,which is too a more important spherical central field (BH).....theses fields have many rotations ,furthermore this galactical spherical field turns around the universal center ,the main central sphere .

......etc etc

What is interesting is the rotations like a frequences ,thus we can play with a kind of harmonization of the frequances and that to be in the field and thus in the gravity of the field .It's like the waves ,if a guitar or a piano is not in the same frequece ,the music will be bad ,it's the same with all ,the rotations ,the fields ....the aim is to make a classment of these frequences of fields ,rotations and that to be in the good frequence to check the movment and he shield .

In this case ,we can check a big velocity of movement .

Sincerely

Steve

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