Register Register

Author Topic: what if, going back to the moon in order to build a long term /permanent base  (Read 1387 times)

Maingunnery

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6563
  • Pirates and C3 masters are on the hitlist
Given how expensive it is just to get objects into orbit, much less to the moon, I don't think that a Lunar base would be economically viable.
Which means that almost every part of the Lunar Base needs to be made from local resources.
Herb: "Well, now I guess we'll HAVE to print it. Sounds almost like the apocalypse I've been working for...."

Fan XTRO: The Society
Nebula Confederation Ships

guardiandashi

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4679
Which means that almost every part of the Lunar Base needs to be made from local resources.
what would help make it economically viable is it resources were mined, and processed locally and then used both locally and elsewhere.

with the relative values aluminum being sent from the moon to earth questionable, but to stations in orbit (or just about anywhere off earth) valuable
silicon effectively worthless on earth or definately not worth sending it to earth some use in space
iron no real value sending it to earth, some value for use in space
magnesium may have some value sending it to earth
titanium likely may be worth sending it to earth

if you get enough silver, gold, and rare earth elements those may have value and worth sending them to earth

Sabelkatten

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6414
The current case for a lunar base is water mining. The thing is, those expensive things you need to launch from Earth includes fuel. If you can get x kg of LOX and LH into LEO cheaper from the Moon than from Earth you have a business case, and the delta-v from the Moon is way lower!

Maingunnery

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6563
  • Pirates and C3 masters are on the hitlist
The current case for a lunar base is water mining. The thing is, those expensive things you need to launch from Earth includes fuel. If you can get x kg of LOX and LH into LEO cheaper from the Moon than from Earth you have a business case, and the delta-v from the Moon is way lower!
Should it also be possible to make a catapult or tiny mass driver on the moon to get that delta-v for shipments?
That should also really reduce the long-term costs.
Herb: "Well, now I guess we'll HAVE to print it. Sounds almost like the apocalypse I've been working for...."

Fan XTRO: The Society
Nebula Confederation Ships

Colt Ward

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 26920
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
3d printers (especially the non budget-friendly options government funding allows) add an interesting wrinkle of possibilities. we'd have to repeat that dreadful biosphere 2 experiment. also space travel to the moon would have to be made much more routine and mundane. people in distress can't wait months to work out leaks on the lauchpad.

I feel this sort of reflects the change from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam . . . during the age of sail, a ship could put in just about anywhere and find the resources (wood) to repair any damage.  From what I have read, the admirals and captains of that period were concerned about relying on iron/forged parts of the ship and the change over from sail (free) to steam which required fuel and potentially spare parts.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149
Leviathans #104

Triptych

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 838
    • My Amazon Author Page
Given how expensive it is just to get objects into orbit, much less to the moon, I don't think that a Lunar base would be economically viable.
Well, not on its own perhaps, but the moon could be used as a springboard for large orbital construction projects like an O'Neill colony since it's got plenty of aluminum, and building a mass driver to send the mined materials up into orbit is very feasible (I actually wrote a book about this very scenario LOL ;D ).

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 29039
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
The game changer for moon mining will be when (if) we figure out He3 fusion...  ^-^

idea weenie

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4063
The only reason for a permanent base on the moon is that there must be something of value there in order to pay for it. In the end its all about the money. I doubt if government agencies and the fickle public would be willing to fund such a long term venture, so its gotta fall on private industry, like mining and/or tourism.

Tourism might only be for a few people willing to pay for a Lunar excursion.  From this page the inflation-adjusted price of the Lunar program would be $280 billion.  Assuming you can get 20 trips out of it, you would need to charge $14B per person, and they would only be able to go to the Moon one at a time.  This is assuming that 3 people can fit in the Lander (1 to run the Lander, 1 tourist, and 1 to babysit the tourist). At $14B per person this is a very small group of people.

Private industry only goes when there is a relatively cheap item with short payback.  So unless they can find a person who is willing to pay for Lunar material to be shipped from the Moon at costs that are competitive vs sourcing the same material on Earth, private corporations won't do it either.

The only organization that can do it since it doesn't care about profit is a government.  Whether for prestige or just setting up a deep space research facility, governments are the primary ones willing to find a project that has a 20+ year payback time period.  One example would be the Voyager space probes.  Very few modern corporations would fund that as it would never show a profit, but a government would.

(The only corporation I can think of off-hand that might fund a long-term research project like this would be IBM Research)

Given how expensive it is just to get objects into orbit, much less to the moon, I don't think that a Lunar base would be economically viable.

This is likely to be the key.  Get Earth -> LEO cost per kg cheaper, and then we can talk about large lunar bases.  Until then, we will be doing small self-contained Landers that perform small science operations.

Well, not on its own perhaps, but the moon could be used as a springboard for large orbital construction projects like an O'Neill colony since it's got plenty of aluminum, and building a mass driver to send the mined materials up into orbit is very feasible (I actually wrote a book about this very scenario LOL ;D ).

That mass driver would likely be heavily regulated.  Especially if a hacker decided he didn't like someone's house, and had access to an online orbital calculator   >:D

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22981
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Well, not on its own perhaps, but the moon could be used as a springboard for large orbital construction projects like an O'Neill colony since it's got plenty of aluminum, and building a mass driver to send the mined materials up into orbit is very feasible (I actually wrote a book about this very scenario LOL ;D ).

I would be all for the O'Neil colony if they can figure out how keep busy/economically viable and self-sustaining. Personally, I think it would be epic undertaking trying find a Asteroid and wrangle into a Lagrange point and use it to build the station.  I do think it would take epic undertaking to build it unfortunately.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

Sabelkatten

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6414
Long-term (as in 50-100 years) there is a rather desparate macguffin the will definitely benefit from a Moon base. We'll need a massive number of solar shades on the Earth-Sol L1 point to keep large parts of the tropical areas of Earth available for year-round human habitation. Getting the material for those from the Moon will safe a lot of resources.

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 11008
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
My guess is the fast cycler would be first since it would be hauling people and be brand new.  After a second fast cycler has been built, the original one can be downgraded to the slow cargo method.  By this time the first one has had lots of stress from acceleration and cargo being banged around so wouldn't be in the best shape, thus reduce the acceleration on it to get a few more years of work out of it.

So each cycler will be in one of the following modes, and based on its inspections when it returns to Earth it will get changed to a different mode:
1) Fast mode (people/emergencies/first colony setup; when it fails the 'fast mode' inspection it will be put into alert mode)
2) Alert mode (fast mode, but people know to get another cycler built if they haven't done so yet, when it fails the 'alert mode' inspection it will be put into cargo mode)
3) Cargo mode (stuff that doesn't mind being delayed, when it fails the 'cargo mode' inspection it is put to retirement)
4) Retirement (it can no longer be a cycler, and should be used either as pieces brought back for groundside testing/research/analysis or as scrap material in orbit)
there is no such thing as a "fast cycler". cyclers are slow travel only. they're basically just space stations put into orbits that resonate with the orbit of their destination in such a way that they naturally move between two bodies. a lunar cycler would basically be ion an orbit comparable to the moon's, just offset some.

its actually a modification of an idea Buzz Aldrin had for a mars mission. an Aldrin cycler would make 8 orbits in the time mars makes 15. resulting in an orbit where after makign a close approach to earth (and being loaded) it would then make a close approach to mars 4.6 months later. then would spend the next 16+ months nowhere near either of them before making a close approach to earth again. it was calculated that such a mars cycler would make 3 visits to earth and 4 visits to mars in the span of 15 years. needless to say, this sort of approach applied to the moon would result in a cycler that can move stuff between earth and moon in the span of weeks, then spending most of a year away from both. this is why i say you need the ferries, which while a lot more expensive in terms of reaction mass use, allow you to send stuff to and from the moon in the span of only a few days, at just about any time of year. because to get similar performance from cyclers you'd have to build dozens of them on staggered orbits so that one is always passing by. which uses a couple orders of magnitude more resources than building a group of ferries and keepign them supplied. it is also why cyclers work best for cargo transfer and not personnell transfer.

idea weenie

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4063
there is no such thing as a "fast cycler". cyclers are slow travel only. they're basically just space stations put into orbits that resonate with the orbit of their destination in such a way that they naturally move between two bodies. a lunar cycler would basically be ion an orbit comparable to the moon's, just offset some.

its actually a modification of an idea Buzz Aldrin had for a mars mission. an Aldrin cycler would make 8 orbits in the time mars makes 15. resulting in an orbit where after makign a close approach to earth (and being loaded) it would then make a close approach to mars 4.6 months later. then would spend the next 16+ months nowhere near either of them before making a close approach to earth again. it was calculated that such a mars cycler would make 3 visits to earth and 4 visits to mars in the span of 15 years. needless to say, this sort of approach applied to the moon would result in a cycler that can move stuff between earth and moon in the span of weeks, then spending most of a year away from both. this is why i say you need the ferries, which while a lot more expensive in terms of reaction mass use, allow you to send stuff to and from the moon in the span of only a few days, at just about any time of year. because to get similar performance from cyclers you'd have to build dozens of them on staggered orbits so that one is always passing by. which uses a couple orders of magnitude more resources than building a group of ferries and keepign them supplied. it is also why cyclers work best for cargo transfer and not personnell transfer.

The 'fast cycler' is the one that travels from LEO to LLO in time to keep people alive.  From the math I did earlier, a velocity of less than a hundredth of a G is enough to make the crossing in about 2 days.

The slow cycler is the one that will take months.

Sabelkatten

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6414
The 'fast cycler' is the one that travels from LEO to LLO in time to keep people alive.  From the math I did earlier, a velocity of less than a hundredth of a G is enough to make the crossing in about 2 days.

The slow cycler is the one that will take months.
Point was, that's not a "cycler", that's an ordinary ferry/tug.

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 29039
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
You mean acceleration of less than a hundreth of a G, certainly...  8)

Triptych

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 838
    • My Amazon Author Page
The only organization that can do it since it doesn't care about profit is a government.  Whether for prestige or just setting up a deep space research facility, governments are the primary ones willing to find a project that has a 20+ year payback time period.  One example would be the Voyager space probes.  Very few modern corporations would fund that as it would never show a profit, but a government would.



I would think that a manned permanent moon base would cost a whole lot more than an unmanned probe when trying to convince taxpayers to fund it. The Apollo Program was a fluke, imo, and it happened only because two successive presidents were fully committed, and national pride was at stake. I doubt if something like that would ever happen again at this day and age unless it was a world ending emergency of some kind.

Nightlord01

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1552
The only reason for a permanent base on the moon is that there must be something of value there in order to pay for it. In the end its all about the money. I doubt if government agencies and the fickle public would be willing to fund such a long term venture, so its gotta fall on private industry, like mining and/or tourism.

I don't think this is true anymore. The shift to automation and FIFO would effect a moon base too, any budget conscious entity is going to be drawn to automatic systems and only flying workers in and out, not permanently accommodating them. There's less risk, lower overheads, and lower investment thresholds.

guardiandashi

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4679
I would think that a manned permanent moon base would cost a whole lot more than an unmanned probe when trying to convince taxpayers to fund it. The Apollo Program was a fluke, imo, and it happened only because two successive presidents were fully committed, and national pride was at stake. I doubt if something like that would ever happen again at this day and age unless it was a world ending emergency of some kind.

well yes and no honestly

would a manned permanent base cost a lot more than a probe of course.
of course the benefits of a permanent manned base are also significantly greater than a probe.
essentially a probe, is a 1 shot snapshot, unless you include rovers but even then its not likely to do much more than look at a very limited area like an "interesting" landmark.

with a long term  base/facility the startup costs are much higher but depending on the specific plans rewards are much higher as well

my thought is that I am not convinced that we have the tech right now to build a von numan? system
IE send a drone (and some supplies) that builds a base/processing facility, that builds more base/gathering/processing facility, that expands into a factory which....

on the other hand I could see something like a cross between (take on mars/satisfactory) being at least semi feasible
I realize those are games and ignore a lot of the reality but....

I like the idea of the 3d printer system used in take on mars, its at least plausible that it could be feasible now or in the near future

lets say you start with a few pieces of equipment:
base/shelter and its support supplies life support equipment etc.
human support supplies food, water air etc.
construction supplies for initial base:
power sources: RTG (Radio Thermal Generator) big enough to maintain core base + supplemental batteries, and solar
I would hope that using 3d printing processes and local materials (with the possible addition of small amounts of supplementary resources siad base could be mostly built and expanded using local materials)
 

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 11008
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
profitablity only matter if we want to see commercial enterprises taking the reins. governments are less concerned about profits and financial returns so long as some sort of benefit in general comes out of it, which can include new technologies, capabilities, and even just scientific understanding. the original moon program developeled a lot of rocket related technology, which inter-played with the ICBM programs of the cold war, as well as a while slew of communications, computer, medical, and food technologies, all of which eventually worked their way into the civilian fields.

the current NASA moon plans largely revolve around using the effort for a lunar base to develop the technologies required for manned missions to mars and other destinations in the solar system where remote technologies controlled from earth are more limited. due to speed of light lag, mars is about the edge of the the range where we can hope to control remote vehicles or satellite probes and be able to adjust to conditions on the fly. and even there, that sort of thing is very tenuous, since there is a 8 to 40 minute lag time, depending on each world's respective orbital positions.

at the moment, the technology NASA and the USA are focusing on in the new lunar program is building up the launch infrastructure.. new capsules for the crews and cargo, new rockets for putting stuff up on a regular basis. including heavy lift options like the SLS. that commercial interests have also stepped up is ghoing to be a big benefit in the long run. while a falcon rocket (even the falcon heavy variety) can't haul as much as a single SLS, they can handle the smaller cargos no problem, launch more often, and handle the bulk of the civilian contracts that took up so much of the old shuttle flights.