# Will we ever go back to the moon?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 8, 2016.

1. ### Plazma Inferno!Ding Ding Ding DingAdministrator

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A little-known space exploration startup could soon get the green light to launch the first private spacecraft on a path to the moon. If U.S. federal officials approve the plan, the company will leave behind the largest regulatory hurdle that stands in its way to sending a 20-pound package to the Earth’s largest satellite.
People familiar with the details of the project told the decision would establish important legal and diplomatic precedents and would work to ensure that private space exploration companies respected international space treaties. The deal could pave the way for mining asteroids in space and keeping track of debris.
A “formal launch license” wouldn’t be approved until the second half of 2017, and the company, Moon Express, still faces significant technical challenges. That includes the fact that it hasn’t actually launched the rocket it plans to use. The rocket and the MX-1 lander it plans to send to the Moon would also need approval for its proposed two-week operation.

http://www.ibtimes.com/will-we-ever...-approve-private-company-space-launch-2378518

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Of course we'll go back to the Moon...the next time I envisage for the purpose of starting a permanent outpost there.......and we'll mine asteroids, and put men on Mars and do everything else that awaits us and that is allowed for by the laws of physics, in the course of time.

5. ### NachoRegistered Senior Member

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You know, at one time a long time ago -- 20 years or so, I thought that we would go back to set up telescopes for great astronomy observations. At the poles, or right round it on the far-side where we could have very dark observations for half the time. Space-based astronomy platforms have pretty well sealed the need for that, and if the James Webb Space Telescope deploys and works OK, I think that will seal the non-need for large Moon observatories for a long time.

I think there is going to have to be some established economic benefit to return to the Moon before it is done seriously.

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Much more can be done on the Moon, other than telescopes: And I also remember many much talk about the ISS being a waste of money.
Economics and Politics are certainly responsible for a hiatus in space exploration, but I do not believe it will always continue until we master it all and reach the end of our capabilities and knowledge: That's not going to happen.

8. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Or scientific benefit.

9. ### NachoRegistered Senior Member

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What type of science or scientific benefit do you have in mind? I just don't see any serious science presence on the moon being that we can do a lot of it at will (meaning whenever we want to) and remotely.

Of course that doesn't preclude all of the archaeologists that would be running around all over the place if we would find some alien ruin on it!

10. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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About the only thing I have heard of that would make sense is radioastronomy, due to the far side of the moon being extraordinarily quiet (EM-wise.)

11. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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No. Don't assert your BELIEFS as facts, especially when they violate the "laws of economics."

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There is no law of economics...at least not in the sense that I mean. We have good and bad economic times, just as we have good and bad political eras.
But if you prefer to believe that humanity will stagnate on Earth, and in Earth orbit, that's your business.
History has shown that humanity will not stagnate...slow down, even the occasional hiatus....But it will always continue to move forward.

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It would be interesting to see comparable cost analysis of building such a thing of 35 years ago (or, around the time it was first envisioned) VS today, and making the $of equal value. Does analysis of very long baseline astronomy signals now help any in eliminating terrestrial sources of radio emissions? 14. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member Messages: 23,198 Remaining on Earth (and near earth orbits) and even building a "life boat" for humanity on the moon (self sustaing colony) during the next couple 100 years is all feasible (afordable) and can in no way be described as "stagnating on Earth." This is a current example of not stagnating and afordable progress: "Landlocked Switzerland is expected to gain tremendous benefits from the multibillion euro Gotthard Base Tunnel through the heart of the Swiss Alps, which will be used by freight and passenger trains to travel to and from Italy later this year. The tunnel, which is over 57 kilometers long, cost more than$12 billion and took 17 years to complete. Leading European political figures such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, preoccupied with the continuing headaches of terrorism, the refugee influx and economic stagnation, took time out to celebrate the engineering miracle with Swiss leaders that day."

That is the sort of thing man will do as it has economic pay -off.

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Great stuff, and it will continue as those two horrible variables of economics and politics allow, and for many reasons other than "absolute necessity"

Sure he will. And just as sure is the fact that we will put man on the Moon again, as well as Mars, as those factors allow and for many reasons.
That's progress, and that will continue, including the solar system, and in time, even beyond.

16. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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Yes an EM quiet environment is desirable, but not as important as high signal to noise ratio.

If you have N identical receiving antennae, the signal, which adds coherently, is N times larger than each receives BUT the incoherently adding noise is increased only but square root of N.

Thus the real question is where can you get the best signal to noise ratio with a fixed budget to spend.
The answer is right here on Earth.

Yes you pick a spot which is relatively EM quite then you make something like shown below.

The Very Large Array, one of the world's premier astronomical radio observatories, consists of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. Each antenna is 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter. The data from the antennas is combined electronically to give the resolution of an antenna 36km (22 miles) across, with the sensitivity of a dish 130 meters (422 feet) in diameter. …

The photo shows only eight of the 27 dish antennas, which operate as a high resolution interferometer. (Very wave length selective as only the precisely correct antenna spacing for the frequency of interest makes for coherent signal addition.)

Getting this performance on the moon would be much more expensive, if even possible. - at least 500 times more costly is my guess.

The signal is 27 times stronger than each and the noise is only slightly more than 5 times the noise in each.

Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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17. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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Yes. The 27 antenna interferometer array shown in post 13 can be set up to only sense signals coming from less than an arc second, assuming it is in a relatively EM quite region - like unoccupied, New Mexico and is very frequency selective.

Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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18. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Yes and no.

Local signals still interfere with LBA telescopes because the first stages of the individual receivers often get swamped by strong local signals. Even if they don't, nonlinearities in the amplifiers reduce the usefulness of the signal. However, once the signal is accurately received, phased-array techniques can then be used to increase the directivity and sensitivity of the array.

19. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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To add a little economic reality, note NASA can no longer send men to Mars except via the Russian rocket Soyuz, and it cost ~70 million dollars /per seat:

Watch this video on Space X and the three other private suppliers of transport to the space station:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...nce-pooh-poohed-is-wake-up-call-for-europeans

Economics is now guiding manned space programs and these private companies DEMAND profits. Thus, in addition to taxi service to the space station, paid for by NASA they are planning short hops in sub orbital flights for very rich tourist. There is no way to make a profit with trip to Mars.

The trends are against going to Mars. Perhaps in a decade, NASA will admit that is not part of its plans, if there still even is a NASA. In the end it is economics, not physic, which detemines what can be done.

Last edited: Jun 11, 2016

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If there isn't a NASA, then someone else will take up the cudgel.
In the end, we will go to Mars, as economics change and as physics and humanity itself determines.

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The above of course is totally unfounded unrealistic pessimism in every respect.

22. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Did you mean the ISS? No one has sent men to Mars.
That's exactly right. It will happen when someone wants to pay for it. That's why the X-prize model makes a lot of sense, and that's why reusable first stages (and technologies like the Sabre engine, if that works) will make it that much easier to launch such a mission.

23. ### DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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For a long time there was a belief that the moon was made of cheese.

We spent millions or billions getting a man there.

He discovered no cheese & we never sent another mission.

Why is cheese so important?