Splash! NASA moon crash struck lots of water

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Aero
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Splash! NASA moon crash struck lots of water

Post by Aero »

Indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn't find just a little bit. We found a significant amount,"
The lunar crash kicked up at least 25 gallons and that's only what scientists could see from the plumes of the impact, Colaprete said.
http://apnews.excite.com/article/200911 ... UGKO0.html
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33918160/ns ... ence-space
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33912611/ns ... ence-space
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/sp ... htm?csp=15
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/scien ... TE&ei=5043
Same story, different reporters
Aero

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

I saw that too. Now I would still be careful with the interpretation of the results, but I any substancial amount of water on the moon is really good news. This means that a colonisation of the moon is much easier now.

Aero
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Post by Aero »

yeah, me too. What's the dollar value of 25 gallons of water on the moon?
Aero

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

Aero wrote:yeah, me too. What's the dollar value of 25 gallons of water on the moon?
Current best price would be about $1.20M as a small part of a large delivery.

Assumptions:
  • ~$4,300/kg to LEO:
    ~3.6 kg/gallon water
    ~2X for Lunar insertion
    ~1.5X for lunar landing
25x3.6x4300x2x1.5=1.161E6

This uses highly subsidized Russian launching. For US launch services, it would be about 5 to 10 time more.

Someone check my arithmatic please!

Aero
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Post by Aero »

I just had a thought. Even when we get to the moon, its not going to be so easy to get that water. Its in the bottom of a two mile deep crater and even if we could walk down the slope to the bottom, its almost 400 degrees F below zero, ( 35 K). That's cold. Getting to the bottom to get water will take hours. Our Apollo moon suits are not rated for those low temperatures. How do we even build a vacuum environment here on earth to test the thermal protective gear and tools needed, or the robots if we go that way, to be used to extract the water? I note that liquid nitrogen at 77 K is not cold enough.
Aero

ladajo
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Post by ladajo »

I could donate my old mittens :shock:

Giorgio
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Post by Giorgio »

If indeed there are some ice deposit beneath the moon surface (and that is still a big if), than a drilling machine with an heathing system is all you need to recover it.

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Kiteman, are you sure it is only 3.6kg? I thought it was closer to 3.8
Not that it makes a huge difference anyway.

Aero, I dont think you would have to get people down there. Just use a robot of some sorts. Also, this probably means that there will be other, maybe less extreme regions with water (though probably a little less water).

Aero
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Post by Aero »

Skipjack wrote:Aero, I dont think you would have to get people down there. Just use a robot of some sorts. Also, this probably means that there will be other, maybe less extreme regions with water (though probably a little less water).
My point is that we don't have any material that has ever been tested at 35 K, except of course in low temperature physics experiments. We'll need something to dig with that maintains its strength and ductility at that cold temperature. Building and testing a complicated robot to operate for extended periods at that cold temperature will be a challenge in and of itself. But yes, there probably is ice in some of the shallower and warmer craters. Warmer, but still not warm considering that they will be colder than the night side temperature of the moon.

As for using a heated drill, as put forth by Giorgio above, yes, that could work if we find ice sheets under the surface that are not very deep. Do we have any clues as to where these near surface ice sheets might be? Of course, we probably haven't looked for them yet as we have just now determined that there is in fact significant amounts of water ice on the moon. Transporting any significant length of drill pipe to the moon will be expensive, but making it on the moon using locally available raw materials will require infrastructure and water.

Maybe we should plan for a quite large manned Polywell powered bulldozer crawler and blasting powder to make a road to the exposed ice in the craters. Or would it be less expensive to transport diesel and oxygen for the first crawler?
Aero

pfrit
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Post by pfrit »

Remember that the issue on the Moon is not temp, but heat. The asmosphere is close enough to a vacuum not to transfer any heat and the regolith is a very poor conductor of heat. Even in the shadows the driving concern in temp management will be getting rid of excess heat. At least for a space suit.
What is the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don't know and I don't care.

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Even in the shadows the driving concern in temp management will be getting rid of excess heat. At least for a space suit.
True and that is a problem that you have anywhere on the moon.
The other thing is that you will keep your temperature pretty well actually in the shadows on the moon. You will only loose the heat that you can radiate. Small heating elements and some good insulation should do just fine.

Aero
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Post by Aero »

Skipjack wrote:
Even in the shadows the driving concern in temp management will be getting rid of excess heat. At least for a space suit.
True and that is a problem that you have anywhere on the moon.
The other thing is that you will keep your temperature pretty well actually in the shadows on the moon. You will only loose the heat that you can radiate. Small heating elements and some good insulation should do just fine.
That's true and would work fine if your robot was a cocoon but the working parts will necessarily be exposed to the environment. Would you put most of the parts inside the cocoon with only the wheels or walkers and digging hands exposed or just cocoon the cabin containing the electronics and power trains? The first case would need a flexible cover which I suspect would be a problem in that extreme cold, and the second case would require major components to be insensitive to the cold. Either way, it is still a challenging problem to design, build and test the robot to withstand 35 K.
Aero

kunkmiester
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Post by kunkmiester »

A giant mirror on the rim will give you all the heat you want. 8) Getting rid of heat is the trouble, as stated, and the Apollo suits did just fine, even in the shadow of the vehicles, which would be similar to the conditions in a permanently shadowed crater.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

Aero
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Post by Aero »

Well, maybe it won't be such a problem. From what I can tell, night time temperatures on the moon (Apollo 15 landing site) are between 75 K and 85 K, so 35 K is in the same ball park. It is interesting that just a few cm below the surface the temperature moderates to a balmy average between day and night. Still below freezing, but not very much. Drilling wouldn't be so difficult if the ice isn't too deep.

As for a giant mirror on the rim? Good one! Actually it wouldn't take a very large mirror to moderate the temperatures in the crater. As has been pointed out, its getting rid of heat that is the problem, but the crater floor has had millions of years to radiate heat, so it's cold now. Radiate in a little heat and the temperature should come right up.
Aero

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Yeah, but your robot will only radiate heat slowly. With no air to carry the the heat away from your robot, the electronics, motors etc will produce more than enough heat to keep it warm.
People that emmediately freeze in the "cold" of space is a holywood invention and absolutely not true. Even an unprotected person would only slowly radiate his body heat off into space. A dead (!) body takes hours to radiate all heat into the heat transmitting air on earth until equilibrium with the surrounding air is reached. I think it would take much, much longer in space.
A person in a space suit would stay warm for a very long time.
The outer layers of the space suit could be kept warm easily with a very, very small heating element.
Also, after all, deep space probes are working just fine...

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