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Plane a Trip to the Moon

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago

 

 Let's Revisit a trip to the Moon

 

 

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NASA is planning a return trip to the Moon in 2018, and  they’re already working on the spacecraft to get them there. The Link below takes you inside the Habitability Design Center at Johnson Space Center for a look at the new Orion space capsule--and the math, engineering, and problem-solving skills this fascinating career uses.

 

#1 Step: Watch the video at the link below

 

http://www.thefutureschannel.com/dockets/space/revisiting_the_moon/

 

 

If your goal is the exploration and commercialization of space for the benefit of mankind, one of the first challenges you run into is the difficulty and expense of getting materials, equipment and people up out of the earth’s “gravity well.”

 

 

1. Why is it so difficult to move mass out of the earth’s gravity well?

2. What if there were a facility on the moon that could manufacture fuel and other resources from materials found there—how much fuel would be required to move mass up out of the moon’s gravity well?

3. How would the ability to produce rocket fuel on the moon impact the economics of space exploration and commercialization?

 

#2 Attack the Problem

 

1. Why is it so difficult to move mass out of the earth’s gravity well?

Two of the biggest reasons are explained here

 

2. How much fuel would be required to move mass up out of the moon’s gravity well? – The gravitational pull on the surface of the moon is about one-sixth that on earth, but the effect of that is multiplied by the fact that the less fuel you need, the less fuel you have to carry, which means you need even less fuel to get off the ground. Additionally, air resistance is not a problem. So getting from the surface of the moon to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) takes about 1/20th of the fuel that is required to get from the surface of the earth to LEO:

www.transformspace.com

 

3. How would the ability to produce rocket fuel on the moon impact the economics of space exploration and commercialization? – Here’s one example: If you want to go to Mars with fuel that is produced on Earth, you need enough fuel to get yourself into Low Earth Orbit, along with all of the fuel you would need to get from there to the surface of Mars, then lift off from Mars and return to Earth. But if there were a depot of moon-produced rocket-fuel waiting for you in Low Earth Orbit, you don’t have to lift any more fuel than it takes to get you there. The same reasoning applies to any other supplies you can bring from the moon, such as water and oxygen for breathing.

It seems pretty clear from this “What if?” train of thought that a lot depends on whether or not there is water in the moon in large quantities (from which fuel could be made). It’s not surprising, then, that NASA has made plans to investigate this question in the very near future.

 

 

#3 What are the Costs/Benefits of the project?

 

 

 

#4 Visit the NASA Page below to read about the project in more detail

 

 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/exploration/main/index.html

 

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/exploration/whyweexplore/index.html

 

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