Saturday, April 6, 2019

Bridenstine's Why The Moon Matters

Please support my efforts. I just finished a conic sections and orbital mechanics coloring book. I need help with printing costs. Through this Kickstarter you can pre-order a signed coloring book. I look at conic sections, Kepler's laws, Hohmann transfer orbits, the Oberth effect, space tethers, Tsiolkovsky's rocket equation and lots of other space stuff. The coloring book is $5 plus $5 shipping and handling ($10 shipping and handling if you're outside the U.S.).


Kickstarter for this coloring book ends 4:30 a.m. April 13, 2020.
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Back in December 29, 2016 Bridenstine made a blog post "Why The Moon Matters". Bridenstine was representative of Oklahoma at the time.

Sadly the post was taken down when Bridenstine left his post as representative and became NASA administrator. But I recently found the post using the Wayback Machine.

Bridenstine's reasons were pretty the same arguments made by lunar scientist Paul Spudis (RIP).

I post it here for historical reference. Copying and pasting:

Jim's Blog

Why the Moon Matters

by Rep. Jim Bridenstine

f t # e
Washington, December 29, 2016 0 comments
On July 20, 1969, the free world won the space race when an American flag was planted on the Moon. Twelve Americans walked on the Moon during the Apollo program, resulting in a treasure trove of knowledge not only about the Moon, but about the universe.  Even better, by demonstrating the United States’ political, economic, and technological prowess, it played a part winning the Cold War. In 1983, Ronald Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative to defend the free world from nuclear ballistic missiles. While many called it destabilizing, and even suggested it was impossible to achieve, the Soviet Union took it very seriously, made every effort to eliminate it, and spent whatever it took to compete. They eventually went bankrupt.  SDI, while not fully implemented, was a geopolitical success built on the technical credibility provided by Apollo. As Ronald Reagan predicted, “We win. They lose.”

Through SDI, the Brilliant Pebbles program was born as a space based system to track and destroy ICBMs. Years later, in 1994, a Brilliant Pebbles satellite was repurposed to orbit and map the Moon. That mission, called Clementine, tested military sensors and made history when it provided evidence of lunar water ice. Later experiments by NASA and other space agencies indicated billions of tons of water ice at each lunar pole.

This single discovery should have immediately transformed America’s space program. Water ice not only represents a critical in situ resource for life support, but it can be cracked into its components, hydrogen and oxygen, to create the same chemical propellant that powers rockets.

All of this is available on a world that has no atmosphere and a gravity well that is 1/6th that of Earth. In other words, standard aerodynamic limitations do not apply, permitting the placement of the propellant into orbit either around the Moon or around the Earth.

From the discovery of water ice on the Moon until this day, the American objective should have been a permanent outpost of rovers and machines, with occasional manned missions for science and maintenance, in order to utilize the materials and energy of the Moon to drive down the costs and increase the capabilities of American operations in cis-lunar and interplanetary space.

Water ice on the Moon could be used to refuel satellites in orbit or perform on-orbit maintenance. Government and commercial satellite operators could save hundreds of millions of dollars by servicing their satellites with resources from the Moon rather than disposing of, and replacing, their expensive investments. Eventually, the customers of Direct TV, Dish Network, internet broadband from space, satellite radio, weather data, and others could see their bills reduced and their service capacities greatly increased.

While most satellites are not currently powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, next generation satellite architectures could utilize lunar propellant if low-cost in-orbit servicing were available. Commercial operators will follow if the United States leads with its own constellations.  Such leadership would require a whole-of-government approach with the interagency support of the newly reconstituted National Space Council. The objective is a self-sustaining, cis-lunar economy, whereby government and commercial operators save money and maximize the utilization of space through the use of lunar resources.

This is also the first step for manned missions deeper into our solar system. A permanent human presence on other celestial bodies requires in situ resource utilization. The Moon, with its three-day emergency journey back to Earth, represents the best place to learn, train, and develop the necessary technologies and techniques for in situ resource utilization and an eventual long term human presence on Mars. Fortunately, the Space Launch System and Orion will start testing in 2018. This system, with a commercial lander, could quickly place machines and robots on the Moon to begin the cis-lunar economy. With the right presidential guidance, humans could return in short order as well; this time, to stay.

There are other economic benefits to a permanent presence on the Moon. Utilization of lunar oxides for in situ additive manufacturing (3-D printing) could sustain and develop lunar operations. If economical, we should pioneer the extraction of highly valuable platinum group metals and the ability to transport them back to Earth. The development of practical solar power satellites that beam energy directly to all areas of the Earth is made possible through the use of the resources of the Moon. Research on this concept is already being done in Japan, as well as at the Naval Research Lab here in the United States. The United States government should lead the way in retiring risk for these endeavors with the intent to empower commercial companies to sustain the cis-lunar economy. This could fundamentally alter the economic balance of power on Earth.

As the cis-lunar economy develops, competition for locations and resources on the Moon is inevitable. The Chinese currently have landers and rovers on the Moon. The United States does not. Very soon, the Chinese will be the first of humanity to explore the far side of the Moon and place robots at the poles. As my friend Congressman Bill Posey says, “They are not going there to collect rocks.” China has its own manned space station. The United States’ commitment to the International Space Station ends in 2024. China has a domestic capability to launch its Taikonauts into orbit. The United States relies on Russia. American adversaries are testing antisatellite weapons and proliferating satellite jamming, spoofing, and dazzling technologies. It is time for the United States to re-posture and assert true space leadership.

It must be stated that constitutionally, the U.S. government is required to provide for the common defense. This includes defending American military AND commercial assets in orbit, many of which have the dual role of providing commercial and military capabilities. The same applies for assets on and around the Moon. The U.S. government must establish a legal framework and be prepared to defend private and corporate rights and obligations, all keeping within the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The United States must have cis-lunar situational awareness, a cis-lunar presence, and eventually must be able to defend freedom of action in space. Cis-lunar development will proceed with American values and the rule of law if the United States leads.

Space utilization has transformed the human condition, including how we communicate, navigate, produce food and energy, conduct banking, predict weather and perform disaster relief. While many of these gains are a result of private investment and commercial markets, they are only possible because the United States government took the lead and retired risk for these capabilities. Today, we are experiencing a space renaissance. The first launch of the Space Launch System is less than two years away. In 2021, we will use the Orion capsule to send astronauts beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the 1970s. Commercial launch vehicles are maturing and commercial deep space habitats are currently in development. A renewed focus on utilizing the Moon can help further these advances and achievements. The choices we make now can forever make America the preeminent spacefaring nation.



8 comments:

gbaikie said...

"This single discovery should have immediately transformed America’s space program. Water ice not only represents a critical in situ resource for life support, but it can be cracked into its components, hydrogen and oxygen, to create the same chemical propellant that powers rockets."

Yes, I thought it should.

"All of this is available on a world that has no atmosphere and a gravity well that is 1/6th that of Earth. In other words, standard aerodynamic limitations do not apply, permitting the placement of the propellant into orbit either around the Moon or around the Earth."

That interesting way to say it.
I usually just think of Moon having potential very low launch cost.
Unlike Earth.
Or earth limit in terms of chemical launchers is about $100 per lb to LEO.
Moon with chemical launchers is about $1 or less per lb to low lunar orbit. Or about $1 per lb to GEO or Mars orbit or anywhere.
Though if don't limit it to chemical rockets, it can be lower than $1 per lb and the lack of atmosphere and low gravity allows using things other than chemical rockets to launch anything from lunar surface.
And lack atmosphere and low gravity allows huge things to be launched from the Moon- an entire city, if you want.

Hop David said...

gbalkie, Thanks for commenting here. Sorry I didn't notice your earlier post. I've been getting hordes of spammers attempting to comment. Any anonymous posts I usually delete without a second glance.

Dennis Wingo seems to envision launching many tonnes of platinum group metals from the lunar surface. Which might be viable if most of the delta V could be provided by mag lev rails or some other non propellent way to provide delta V.

gbaikie said...

--gbalkie, Thanks for commenting here. Sorry I didn't notice your earlier post. I've been getting hordes of spammers attempting to comment. Any anonymous posts I usually delete without a second glance.--
I just trying to see if/how it works.

--Dennis Wingo seems to envision launching many tonnes of platinum group metals from the lunar surface. Which might be viable if most of the delta V could be provided by mag lev rails or some other non propellent way to provide delta V.--

I think it could be viable with just chemical rockets.
But I think you could launch many tonnes of just lunar dirt to bring back to Earth, such as a 100 tons over a time period of few years.
And maybe you just have mine platinum group metals and have act them like reserve gold reserves and/or people regularly buy precious metals without getting physical possession of them.
But perhaps such precious metal will serve as means of making/driving mass driver type lunar launch. Or if hold them on Moon and have cheaper launch which could be available, then you are making money from a future of lower cost to ship them. Though it seems possible one stores them on moon with the future idea of shipping them to Earth, but when cheap way to ship them happens, you then actually decide it's better just to keep them on the Moon- not to mention there could be demand for the use of such metals on the Moon.

I think the main thing is to mine lunar water and then lunar iron, and lunar iron could fastest thing to lower price to earth like levels. Or water will "always" be pretty expensive compare to cost of water on Earth, but within several decades lunar iron could get as cheap as Earth iron.
I want NASA to quickly explore the lunar polar regions. Not a fan of NASA lunar bases, but need Mars bases to explore Mars.

I am wondering about getting to the quasi moons. It seems problem of getting to them is inclination of their orbits, and don't understand why can't use the Moon in order to change inclination in order to get to them.

There is also space dust:
"Two recent studies report new discoveries of dust rings in the inner solar system. One study uses NASA data to outline evidence for a dust ring around the Sun at Mercury’s orbit. A second study from NASA identifies the likely source of the dust ring at Venus’ orbit: a group of never-before-detected asteroids co-orbiting with the planet."
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/what-scientists-found-after-sifting-through-dust-in-the-solar-system
Which suggest to me, there could be quasi moons around Venus [and even Mercury]. Quasi moons of Venus might be low delta-v destination [and fairly short travel time]

gbaikie said...

Oh, my mistake there is quasi moon of Venus detected awhile ago [November 11, 2002]: 2002 VE68:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_VE68
Oh, from Venus it appears to orbit venus, but:
"...its eccentricity is rather large (0.4104) and its orbital inclination is also significant (9.0060°)". Very hard to get to. And I wondering about a quasi moon which would easier to get to.
Anyway going to try post with google account- which don't generally do.
So, this a test post.
And see if this works:
https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=%202002%20VE68;old=0;orb=1;cov=0;log=0;cad=0#orb

Art said...

Sounds like a great plan. I don't like it. Our space programs seem to me to lack flexibility. Collision with even small debris on orbit can jeopardize the entire flight. If the ISS takes a hit from something the size of my fist, it may lose all of its' function and need to be abandoned. My views are a bit closer to home. Why not build LEO infrastructure for re-fuel, repair, and R & R? Then higher orbit facilities for the same. Make them more robust. Putting a 2 inch thick, 20 foot diameter tube of stainless steel in orbit would cost an immense amount of money, but it could withstand many collisions with debris and not lose integrity.
We also lack the ability to move around in orbit. This would require fueling depots in several orbits. A tugboat capable of vacuuming up space junk as well as correcting orbits of wayward satellites, and de-orbiting people in an emergency is the first step to opening up space. Until we can put someone in orbit, have them suffer a complete equipment failure, and bring them back alive, then we will be forever letting NASA's launch schedule slip with no monetary penalty, and our memory of space travel beyond LEO fading with each passing year.

gbaikie said...

--Make them more robust. Putting a 2 inch thick, 20 foot diameter tube of stainless steel in orbit would cost an immense amount of money, but it could withstand many collisions with debris and not lose integrity. --

It seems to me that if had station at Earth/Moon L-1, the debris would largely come from the direction of the sun. Put station behind a solar shade, pile of rocks, a collection of dead satelites and/or a large disk. So it's like being under a roof against debris, though solar panels would be on other side of the roof in sunlight, or on the sides not in the shade of solar shade. And your station will be easier to keep cool.

Hop David said...

Art, a propellent source not at the bottom of earth's gravity well could take 5 to 10 km/s off of many delta V budgets. Not only would travel about the earth moon neighborhood become much less difficult but we'd have less difficult access to the solar system.

This doesn't seem lost on Spudis or Bridenstine. I'm guessing you don't know where delta V fits in Tsiolkovsky's rocket equation.

Art said...

No, I don't have a good understanding of delta-v. But until we have a source of delta-v supplied from out of the gravity well we all reside in, it doesn't matter where it will be produced some time in the future. Until that exists, we will need to lift hundreds, if not thousands of tons of structural steel or equivalent material, beyond LEO to process this new-found source of fuel. I believe you are skipping a necessary step in this process. I am always open to new ideas about how to get this done. But processing ore still needs lots of large, heavy machinery to complete the process.
As far as Spudis and Bridenstine, I do not have to keep their sources of money happy. My only concern is actually getting the job done, not paying NASA to tell me how it can't happen.