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Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

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Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 18 Sep 2016 18:12

Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP), sometimes referred to as Moon 2.0. An incentive prize space competition organized by XPRIZE, and sponsored by Google was announced at the Wired Nextfest on 13 September 2007. The challenge calls for privately funded spaceflight teams to be the first to land a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high-definition video and images. Interestingly the price money is far less than the estimated total cost, and we need to see how these new-age space flight teams worldwide would achieve their mission objectives. And now the deadline is approaching at the end of Dec 2017, I think it would be good to track the teams’ achievement worldwide in this tread.

Space 2.0 is a new order, in my view that would emerge from what we believe from Space 1.0. The Space 1.0 is driven by mainly super powers and consortiums with deep pockets and unlimited possibilities. I consider Space 2.0 signifies the evolution of new age entrepreneurs and ventures into aerospace which itself a disruptive progression in aerospace domain. For GLXP competition and to deliver, the spaceflight teams worldwide requires much needed innovations in engineering, which were once thought virtually possible for government organizations lone. One of the driving factor for innovation would be, that GLXP mandate that the government contribution could not exceed 10%, hence these ventures are required to sell their idea to investors before a product ever out of their garage. It would be worth watching this space and how the world achieve the new order Space 2.0 and the government reaction to. There are questions unanswered, who would own the piece of lunar landing area, the spaceflight team who does the feat or the country of its origin? Will government promote these disruptive behavior in aerospace and engineering or will they bring more regulations to inhibit or promote? Will wait for these questions to be answered.

GLXP Main page: http://lunar.xprize.org/
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Lunar_X_Prize

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 18 Sep 2016 23:22

Who will make it to the moon? Who will win the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE?

The competition offers a total of US$30 million in prizes to the first privately funded teams to land a robot on the Moon that successfully travels more than 500 meters (1,640 ft) and transmits back high-definition images and video. The first team to do so will claim the US$20 million grand prize; while the second team to accomplish the same tasks will earn a US$5 million second prize. Teams can also earn additional money by completing additional tasks beyond the baseline requirements required to win the grand or second prize, such as traveling ten times the baseline requirements (greater than 5,000 meters (3 mi)), capturing images of the remains of Apollo program hardware or other man-made objects on the Moon, verifying from the lunar surface the recent detection of water ice on the Moon, or surviving a lunar night. Additionally, a US$1 million diversity award may be given to teams that make significant strides in promoting ethnic diversity in STEM fields.

Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP), began with 29 teams. As of 2016, 16 teams remain in the competition, with three teams, SpaceIL, Moon Express and Synergy Moon, having secured verified launch contracts for 2017 (with SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Interorbital Systems respectively). All other teams have until the end of 2016 to secure a verified launch contract, and remain in the competition.

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 18 Sep 2016 23:50

Meet the teams:
#1 SPACEIL, ISRAEL: The Mission is landing the First Israeli Spacecraft on the Moon.
SpaceIL is an Israeli nonprofit organization working to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. The organization was founded in 2011, when three young Israeli engineers undertook upon themselves to enter the international Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Today, SpaceIL is led by CEO Eran Privman (PhD) together with the three co-founders: Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub. SpaceIL’s goal is to inspire the next generation of children in Israel and around the world to think differently about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In early 2015, Google had announced that the deadline for winning the prize would be extended to December 2017 if at least one team can show a verified launch contract by December 31, 2015. If no competitor had a contract by the end of 2015, the prize would expire without a winner at the end of 2015 as previously scheduled. GLXP officials announced that the SpaceIL contract met the requirements and the incentive prize contest would continue through the end of 2017. For meeting this requirement, in October 2015, SpaceIL paid the significant launch deposit to book a launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 with a planned launch date in 2017.

SpaceIL believes in multifunctional use of every single part of the spacecraft. SpaceIL's entry is unique among GLXP contenders, in that instead of building a tracked or wheeled rover, SpaceIL plans to meet the requirement to travel 500 meter on the lunar surface by having the lander "hop" from its landing site to another site 500 meters away using rocket propulsion.
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Website: http://www.spaceil.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 01 Oct 2016 00:03

#2 Moon Express, USA: Moon Express is a privately financed commercial space company blazing a trail to the Moon. The prime directive is to open up the Moon’s vast resources for humanity, and establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit. Moon Express is merging the best practices of traditional aerospace know-how with the innovation and entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley. Moon Express has partnerships with NASA as both collaborator, and customer. Their motto is creating innovative, flexible, and scalable new spacecraft that will radically reduce the cost of space exploration and unlock the mysteries and resources of the Moon.

No regulatory framework currently exists for a commercial space missions to another world. Lawmakers are working on a permanent solution, but it likely won't be ready in time for Moon Express' 2017 mission. So the company came up with its own temporary regulatory patch that the US government could use to oversee the company's mission. And after a meeting between the Federal Aviation Administration, the White House, and the State Department, Moon Express has been given the approval it needs to launch to the Moon.The company has purchased a ride for its lander on the Electron rocket, using the MX-1E lunar lander on a vehicle currently being built by startup Rocket Lab.

Team Moon Express has won two Milestone Prizes, the Landing Prize ($1 million), and the Imaging Prize ($250,000), for a total of $1.25 million in prize winnings. Moon Express is one of three teams in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition with a verified launch contract for its 2017 lunar mission. In October 2015, Moon Express announced that it had signed the worlds' first multi-mission launch contract with Rocket Lab USA for 3 lunar missions between 2017 and 2020.

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Website:http://www.moonexpress.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 01 Oct 2016 23:17

#3 Astrobotic Technology Inc, USA: Astrobotic was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Astrobotic is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits and individuals. Astrobotic’s landing destination is near the Moon’s Lacus Mortis region (Latin for “Lake of Death”). Astrobotic is also opening up the mission to individuals, through a program called MoonMail™ that provides the opportunity for people around the world to send mementos on Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander, and forever linking them with the Moon in the night sky. Astrobotic is an established NASA contractor, and an official partner with NASA through the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Astrobotic aims to become the FedEx or DHL to the Moon by offering multiple customer shipments on a single flight via its Peregrine Lander spacecraft. Team Astrobotic announced partnerships with Team HAKUTO and Team AngleicvM that will enable the competing teams to fly with Team Astrobotic aboard the Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander. Team HAKUTO will attach two rovers, MoonRaker and Tetris, and Team AngelicvM will fly the Uni Rover on the first mission.

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Website: https://www.astrobotic.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 01 Oct 2016 23:36

#4 Team Italia, ITALY: Team Italia aims at bringing together the Italian academic and industrial capabilities in space exploration and planetary missions. Team Italia aims soft landing achievable to a cluster of dedicated thruster rockets. The landing will occur after a few days of orbiting the Moon, in order to finalize commissioning operations.

Team ITALIA is considering many different possible rover designs, ranging from traditional wheeled rovers to more advanced robotics. A single big rover (rover 10 kg; with devices to host and deploy the rover support elevator for antennas, TV cameras, rover guidance & tracking laser, and the needed Power Supplies, for a total 62kg); or, a colony of many robots, light and mobile, with many legs and wheels, able to be compacted in the lander and distributed quickly on the Moon's surface with cameras & sensors support.The colony of small robots would perform 4 actions: preparation of soil for human use; Internet connection on the Moon; special actions for science on the surface; presentation with laser of images Moon and Earth. Every small robot contains locomotion motors, micro cameras, nano sensors, micro actuators at high efficiency, solar cells and batteries, and a special material body. A prototype is already running at Politecnico di Milano.

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Website: http://www.amalia-teamitalia.it/index.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 01 Oct 2016 23:58

#5 Team Stellar, INTERNATIONAL: Team Stellar's mission is to develop a new business approach to exploration of space, and to the creation of innovative new technologies. Team Stellar is a joint venture between international companies dedicated to enable the next generation of space exploration. Team Stellar is developing advanced hardware and software solutions to reach goals set by the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition and beyond. Team Stellar is working hard to open up possibilities for private companies, research institutions and all those interested in space exploration.

Team Stellar believe success is based on new technologies, expert and highly motivated professionals, and good management. A process-oriented management makes projects more efficient, reduces the cost of our services, and makes our services affordable to potential partners. Team Stellar also has an educational outreach programs that are designed in such way as to enable talented young people to work with Team Stellar best experts, and learn from them.
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Website: http://www.teamstellar.org/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 00:23

#6 Team Indus, INDIA: The Team Indus is the only Indian team in Google GLXP competition. Team Indus vision is 'new world thinking for tomorrow’s challenges' and mission is 'engineering path-breaking solutions that take on critical challenges for humanity'. Team Indus view point is celebration of all things great about India, people who commit their resources, and the new breed of world-class entrepreneurs whom are united by a vision to deliver a best-in-class technology outcome entirely out of India. In 2015 January, Team Indus were awarded $1 million for having successfully completed a test of their landing system.

The Team Indus spacecraft will be housed inside the nose cone of a ISRO’s PSLV and to be launched from Sriharikota in late 2017. Team Indus has designed the lunar rover, code-named ECA, which is an all terrain, four-wheel electric rover has been tested to drive on the dustiest lunar surface. The ISRO launcher PSLV, will take 12 minutes from ignition, will take the spacecraft to an orbit of 880 km x 70,000 km around the earth. After going two and half times around the earth, 15 days voyage, raising the apogee by 10,000 km each time by firing the thrusters on spacecraft, a trans lunar injection will help the spacecraft escape the earth’s gravity to set it in the direction of the moon. At moon, Team Indus also plans to attempt the endurance and distance bonus prizes.

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Website: http://teamindus.in/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 00:44

#7 HAKUTO, JAPAN: Hakuto is the pnly Google Lunar XPRIZE team from Japan, and a frontrunner among the sixteen privately-funded teams from all over the world who are racing to develop robotic rovers for exploration of the moon. Hakuto is facing the challenges of the Google Lunar XPRIZE and skylight exploration with its unique “Dual Rover” system, consisting of two-wheeled "Tetris" and four-wheeled "Moonraker.” The two rovers are linked by a tether, so that Tetris can be lowered. The rovers’ bodies incorporate strong, lightweight, autoclave-molded Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) materials. The wheels are made with thermal insulation material to prevent the extreme heat and cold of the lunar surface. To leave the surface of Earth, Hakuto will be carried by another participant Astrobotic, USA on top of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

In 2015 January, Hakuto took home $500,000 for a successful rover demonstration. In addition to the final Grand Prize, Hakuto will be attempting to win the Range Bonus. In addition, Hakuto’s ultimate target is to explore holes that are thought to be caves or “skylights” into underlying lava tubes, for the first time in human history. These lava tubes could prove to be very important scientifically, as they could help explain the moon’s volcanic past.

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Website: http://team-hakuto.jp/en/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby TSJones » 02 Oct 2016 00:55

the thing is, none of this is new technology. it is a reworking of what some government agency has already done. I hope it works and wish for its success but to be sure, the taxpayer has already paid for the breakthrough.

I know that for instance NASA is ready to cede LEO access to commercialization. the moon is the logical next step. the UN is planning a LEO mission featuring input from third world countries in 2021. So, it not just relatively rich or large countries can participate.

once the tech is established, commercialization can follow.

access equalization is still going to take a government agency like the UN to step in and promote it.

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 01:13

#8 Angelicvm, CHILE: Team Angelicvm is to build a rover that will land on the surface of the Moon, comply with the competition requirements, and broadcast back to Earth a high definition music video that carries a message of faith, hope, peace and unity to the world. Team Angelicvm want to create awareness of the problems as a global community and encourage the new generations to get involved and work together to make a difference. And hope that this message will reach across the globe and impact all of humanity for the better.

Astrobotic, USA will carry Uni, a five-kilogram rover being developed by Team AngelicvM of Chile, on its lunar lander. The agreement is to launch the rover of Team AngelicvM on a single SpaceX Falcon 9 which would then use the Astrobotic Griffin lander to touch down on the surface of the Moon. After landing on the lunar surface, Team AngelicvM will compete against each other to achieve the objectives and win the GLXP prize.

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Website: http://www.teamangelicvm.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 12:05

#9 Synergy Moon, INTERNATIONAL: Team SYNERGY MOON is an electrifying merge of the arts and sciences. Team SYNERGY MOON represent a collaboration of individuals from over 15 countries. Team SYNERGY MOON plan technological innovations will make manned orbital travel, personal satellite launches, and Solar System exploration cost-effective, and possible for everyone.

In August 30, 2016 XPRIZE officially verified Team SYNERGY MOON's launch agreement to use a NEPTUNE 8 rocket, built and launched by Interorbital Systems, to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the moon, launching from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017. NEPTUNE 8 rocket will carry a lunar lander and rover to the surface of the Moon from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017.

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Website: http://www.synergymoon.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 12:18

#10 EUROLUNA, INTERNATIONAL: The purpose of the EUROLUNA (European Lunar Exploration Association) is to contribute to the peaceful exploration of the moon and space, and support the effort to launch unmanned missions to the moon in connection with the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.

The EUROLUNA team, whose ages span from 16-60, is headquartered in Denmark, with members in Switzerland and Italy. And according to the team, the members have been discussing moon rovers and lunar bases for at least 10 years now. Also EUROLUNA has introduced a brand new way to get people involved with and support of project and fly into space. EUROLUNA is 'selling' each meter to lift off from Earth to the Moon. The price is 1 euro, 1 $ or 10 danish crowns per meter.

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Website: http://www.euroluna.dk/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 12:34

#11 TEAM PULI, HUNGARY: The mission of Puli Space Technologies is to develop the new techniques required to routinely send spacecraft to the Moon, to explore new frontiers and to provide quality services for forward-thinking investors interested in commercializing space. Named after the Puli, a dog-breed long used by shepherds for the protection and guidance of livestock in Hungary. TEAM PULI hope that their efforts to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE will be appreciated in Hungary and all over the world. With hard work, endurance, humility, perhaps a pinch of luck, aim to go high, and hope that many Hungarian people will look at the Moon differently in the future.

TEAM PULI announced in the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) Summit in Tel Aviv, Israel that they have signed an agreement to fly to the Moon on Astrobotic in reserving a ride to the surface of the Moon on Astrobotic’s lander with a 'Memory of Mankind (MoM) on the Moon' time capsule and an option to add their rover.

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Website: http://www.pulispace.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 12:55

#12 PLAN B, CANADA: TEAM PLAN B is the only Canadian Team in the Google Lunar XPRIZE. TEAM PLAN B mission is to utilize existing technologies in software, microprocessors, communication, guidance and robotic systems to produce a small-weight vehicle capable of traveling to and transmitting data to/from the Moon’s surface, planning a delivery of a vehicle to lunar surface by a probe/craft with fixed impulses engines.

Main weight target on low-earth orbit for a probe and vehicle total is 100-150 kg. Two launches are planned to succeed in winning the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Launch on a “low earth” orbit can be done via commercial vehicle or as additional payload for a regular government’s funded space launch. Parameters of orbit after successful launch are to be independently calculated and verified by use GPS modules. Flight schema will include two orbit correction impulses,“Low-orbit” to “high-orbit” transfer has to be done via two impulses one main and one brake impulse with direct arrival to the moon surface and soft landing with air-bags assistance. After separation from the tag platform, an automatic system check will take place, resulting in an “READY” message being sent over a backup communications link to mission control, to acknowledge that the craft is functional. For the prime landing point coordinates 2S15E on the lunar surface were chosen. From the moment of the landing, the mission will be moved to a mobility phase.

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Website: http://www.teamplanb.ca/#team-planb

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 13:13

#13 PART TIME SCIENTISTS, GERMANY: The PART TIME SCIENTISTS goal is to soft land two lunar rovers in travel distance to the Apollo 17 landing site using a fully autonomous soft landing vehicle. ALINA is the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module, build to transport and land our two rovers safely to the moon. The rover Audi lunar quattro is equipped with a 4 wheeled electrical drive chain, tiltable solar panels, rechargeable batteries and science grade high definition cameras. The rover will deploy and operate a series of technological payloads to demonstrate and explore new ways to shortcut space exploration. In 2015 January, PART TIME SCIENTISTS has won two Milestone Prizes: the Mobility Prize ($500,000), and the Imaging Prize ($250,000), for a total of $750,000 in prize

In cooperation with several other technology and research partners including German Space Agency (DLR) PART TIME SCIENTISTS is developing both mobility and landing technology with the goal to lower the costs of space exploration and make moon more accessible. With the first mission heading back to Taurus-Littrow Valley, the landing site of Apollo 17, the goal is to pickup on surface exploration right where Apollo left off over 43 years ago.

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Website: http://ptscientists.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 15:34

#14 OMEGA ENVOY, USA: OMEGA ENVOY is a project of Earthrise Space Foundation (ESF), dedicated to developing space technology in collaboration with industry and academic institutions. ESF seeks to leverage experience gained through its Omega Envoy project to create the first viable commercial lunar delivery service to support future space transportation infrastructure. ESF provides services to private companies, government agencies, and educational institutions that have the resources to explore space and are looking for low cost products to meet their mission requirements.

ESF leverages its infrastructure and personnel to support research, development and STEM related activities. Current project objectives include the development of lunar robotic technologies, rapid prototype design, in-house manufacturing, verification and validation processes through test series, and In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology development. Omega Envoy's Sagan rover perfomed mobility tests in NASA Lunar Regolith Bin, Cape Canaveral. ESF believes their rover Sagan has been designed with components that can be space qualified in order to send it to the Moon, and are look forward to lunar missions in the future.

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Website: http://www.earthrise-space.org/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 15:52

#15 INDEPENDENCE-X, MALAYSIA: INDEPENDENCE-X aim to innovate space exploration technologies to deliver efficient and cost effective solutions for humanity. INDEPENDENCE-X vision is to transform Malaysia into a developed space nation and hub by 2020. And utilize space based technologies for Socio-economic development growth across the region through cost effective space led missions.

INDEPENDENCE-X mission is to accomplish the Google Lunar X Prize mission successfully by 2018. Also develop Dedicated Nano Launch Vehicle (DNLV) for commercial launches and develop Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications module for commercial services. Beside INDEPENDENCE-X wanted to develop Electric Ion Propulsion Engine for communication satellite station keeping.

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Website: http://www.independence-x.com/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 16:08

#16 SPACEMETA, BRAZIL: Team SPACEMETA intends to pursue very innovative ideas as this venture moves forward. SPACEMETA Mission Overview Summary, as presented to the XPrize Committee, has proposed several rupture innovation approach for its mission. The innovations are related with the technical approaches including Usage of ethanol as rocket fuel, Launch the vehicle not from the ground but a lifted launch using balloons or auxiliary craft, Usage of inflatable structures to transport big things that should be armed there (like antennas and solar panels). Also Infinity Motion - SPACEMETA doesn't use conventional energy system to create movement on the moon rover (called Solitaire (x-Frog and x-Blob)), but a NITINOL and Coil based kinetic energy converter called Infinity Motion. Send information to the Earth via special Optical Modulation reflecting the solar light and not using electromagnetic waves. During the movement of the Lunar Modules on the Surface, usage of the contact/impact process, so embedded sensors will capture the echoes above the surface.

Geographically, SpaceMETA plans to visit some SETI / Scientific related sites of interest on the Moon.

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Website: http://www.spacemeta.com.br/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 21:36

Launch contract deadline looms for lunar lander teams
by Jeff Foust, Space News
— September 28, 2016

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The organization running the Google Lunar X Prize said Sept. 27 it has no plans to extend an impending deadline for launch contracts that most teams are currently in danger of missing.

The competition offers a $20 million prize for the first team to land on the moon, travel at least 500 meters and return video “mooncasts” and other data. It requires teams to have a launch contract, verified by the X Prize Foundation, in place by the end of this year in order to remain in the competition. The prize itself has a deadline of the end of 2017. Andrew Barton, director of technical operations for the prize at the X Prize Foundation, said in a talk at the International Astronautical Congress here that three teams out of the 16 still in the competition have launch contracts verified by the foundation. Two of those teams, SpaceIL and Moon Express, had their launch contracts verified last year.

The foundation verified the contract of the third team, Synergy Moon, Aug. 30. That team plans to launch their lander on a rocket called the Neptune 8 built by Mojave, California-based Interorbital Systems, itself part of the Synergy Moon team. That rocket is still under development, and the company has yet to launch any rocket into space. Several other teams are working on launch contracts, Barton said. Team Indus, he said, is in discussions with the Indian Space Research Organisation for a launch of its lander on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. “They’re still trying to put together that launch contract,” he said.

Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh company developing a lander for the competition, is also in discussions with SpaceX. “They’re aiming to fly on a Falcon 9, but also have yet to close their contract,” Barton said. In addition to its own lander and rover, Astrobotic is carrying rovers from Team Hakuto of Japan and Team AngelicvM of Chile. Those teams and others that wish to remain in the competition must submit contracts in time to be verified by the X Prize Foundation by the end of this year. Barton confirmed that the Dec. 31 deadline is for the launch contract to be verified, and not simply submitted to the foundation for verification.

The Google Lunar X Prize has pushed back its prize deadlines several times since it was announced in 2007. Originally, the prize purse was to decrease from $20 million to $15 million if no one won by the end of 2012, and expire at the end of 2014. Updates removed the decrease in the prize purse and pushed back the deadlines until the current one of the end of 2017. Despite that track record, and the limited number of teams with launch contracts, Barton said there are no plans to push back either the launch contract or overall prize deadline. “We’re stuck now with this timeline,” he said.

Barton emphasized, though, the progress that the teams have made. The teams combined have spent more than $100 million to date, with even more in form of donations and in-kind contributions. “It’s really an extraordinary amount of activity that has been incentivized by a relatively modest prize,” he said.

Website: http://spacenews.com/launch-contract-de ... XTrmt.dpuf

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 21:43

Japan's ispace testing rover with eye on Lunar Xprize
by TAKASHI SUGIMOTO, Nikkei staff writer — September 30, 2016 1:00 pm JST

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ispace's lunar rover

A lunar exploration team led by ispace technologies, a Tokyo-based aerospace startup, began a test-run of its lunar rover Tuesday on sand dunes in Tottori Prefecture, western Japan. The Hakuto project team is testing the four-wheeled robot's ability to communicate and shoot video while moving across the dunes. The project aims to put the finishing touches on the rover by the end of the year and send it to the moon in 2017.

Hakuto is the sole Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar Xprize. The first team that succeeds in landing a rover on the moon, navigating it at least 500 meters across the surface and sending high-resolution images back to Earth, will receive a monetary prize. The demonstration in Tottori involves two models of the lunar rover. On the first day of the test, the team checked the vehicle's four cameras and a sensor to verify its ability to capture images. The fine-grain sand of the Tottori dunes is similar in texture to lunar dust, although the environment is very different. Without an atmosphere to deflect them, the sun's rays strike the moon's surface nearly head-on. On Earth, light is refracted by the atmosphere. The team simulated conditions on the moon using artificial lights at night for the tests.

A number of Japanese companies, including Suzuki Motor, Japan Airlines and IHI, are providing financial and technical support to the project. KDDI is offering expertise in telecommunications. Financing has been a major hurdle for the first private Japanese group to develop a lunar probe. To minimize costs, the team uses off-the-shelf auto and smartphone components for 70% of the rover's own parts. Transporting a rover to the moon can cost 120 million yen ($1.18 million) per kilogram. The project team has managed to cut the rover's weight by 3kg over the past year. The vehicle now weighs about 4kg.

Website: http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Compani ... d=NARAN012

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 22:03

Team Indus is tapping into millennials for its plans to send experiments to the Moon
By MATT BURGESS, Wired — Thursday 15 September 2016

Team Indus, as part of its Lab2Moon competition, will send a soda-can-sized experiment to the Moon with its rover in 2017
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Team Indus, the only Indian competitor in Google's XPrize competition to send a rover to the moon, is planning to launch a soda-can-sized experiment to the satellite. The team, which wants to launch its attempt in December 2017, has had more than 1,6000 registered entries into its Lab2Moon competition specifically aimed at young people. And the entries have come from 13 countries around the world.

"Elon Musk is talking about colonising Mars, and everyone else is talking about colonising the Moon," Sheelika Ravishankar, from Team Indus, told WIRED. "So one of the very first things you have to look at is seeing how you would have sustainable life on the Moon. Even if you want to explore the rest of the universe, the Moon is the logical first stop. "The theme is to imagine, design, and build a project that would enable sustainability and allow for sustainable life on the Moon. It could be a seed you want to grow, a water experiment, or a fire experiment," Ravishankar added, speaking ahead of an appearance at WIRED2016.

In total, 20 of the projects submitted to Team Indus will be long-listed with the number being reduced by the judging panel until a winning competitor has been selected to fly on the lunar mission. But, before an experiment can make it to the Moon, the team needs to stay in the competition. So far, as part of the Google XPrize, the Indian team, led by Axiom Research Labs, has been awarded $1 million in competition to put an unmanned rover on the surface our Earth's only natural satellite.

A total of 13 teams are still in the competition and three – SpaceIL, Moon Express and Synergy Moon – have made a verified launch agreement. This means they have signed deals with companies willing to send their crafts to space. To stay in the competition, the launch contracts have to be completed before the end of 2016.

Ravishankar said Indus is making progress: "We're on the last leg of that discussion with ISRO, to get us a launch contract and provide us with a rocket launcher, but that is one of the challenges that we need to complete. "In the end it is going to be a maximum of three to four teams that are vying for this and ultimately I think it will just be two teams neck-to-neck with a couple of other teams lagging behind. We see ourselves among those two teams." Ravishankar is confident about being ready for a December 2017 launch, but does say the team also has some funding issues it needs to overcome before this can happen. "The technology is moving on par, we're altering all our components, we're building out our facilities at the moment to integrate the spacecraft. We're moving according to the milestones setup for the technologies," she said.

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The teams taking part in XPrize are racing to not only get a rover on the surface but also move the craft 500 metres and beam HD video back to Earth. If one team is able to win the competition, it will get the grand prize of $20m for Google.

For Team Indus, there are currently around 100 staff working on the project now, with around 75 engineers. As well as internal growth, the organisation is also working with the French space agency Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES). "They're going to be sending their cameras aboard our spacecraft," she says. Sheelika Ravishankar, as part of Team Indus, India’s private space programme, aims to land a spacecraft on the Moon by 2018. Ravishankar is building its workforce and leads its outreach programme. She will be speaking at WIRED2016 in London on November 3-4.

Website: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/teamindu ... gle-xprize

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 22:17

The Google Lunar XPrize competition is heating up
By Leslie D'Monte, Livemint — Thursday Sep 22 2016. 08 22 AM IST

While Team Synergy Moon, SpaceIL and Moon Express have secured a contract to launch their spacecraft, the remaining 13 teams, including TeamIndus, have until 31 December to do so
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16 teams are part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition, including India’s TeamIndus.

Mumbai: On 30 August, XPrize announced that it had officially verified US-based Team Synergy Moon’s launch agreement as part of the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize—a global competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon by 31 December 2017. The Synergy Moon mission will use a NEPTUNE 8 rocket, built and launched by Interorbital Systems, to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the moon, launching from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017.

Other than Synergy Moon, two other teams—SpaceIL and Moon Express—have secured a contract to launch their spacecraft. On 7 October 2015, SpaceIL said in Jerusalem that it will use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the XPrize challenge. Two months later, US-based Moon Express announced it will be using the MX-1E lunar lander on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket. The remaining 13 teams, including India’s TeamIndus, have until 31 December this year for their launch agreements to be verified by XPrize in order to proceed in the competition.

To win the Google Lunar XPrize, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to earth, before the mission deadline of 31 December 2017. “This was a two-line problem statement though it was a 110-page legal contract,” says Narayan who recalls signing “an abridged contract which specified four things—our business plan, technology plan, risk mitigation plan and our branding strategy”. TeamIndus submitted these four documents and were announced as a formal team on 14 February, 2011.

TeamIndus, on its part, plans to use Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro’s) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to take off from earth. It is a 14-minute journey. The spacecraft gets injected into the earth’s orbit and after that, it is on its own. The spacecraft that TeamIndus built qualified for about 24 tests certified by Nasa scientists at Isro’s Bengaluru facility, for which they got the $1 million Milestone Prize. The spacecraft, which has its own propulsion system, has to slow down and land. The landing is the most complicated piece of the technology.

The spacecraft will approach the moon, travelling at close to 2.5km/second—the speed at which a bullet travels. If it is not able to slow down correctly and accurately, the craft would probably just orbit out of the moon. If it slows down too fast, it can get pulled into the lunar gravity and crash-land on the moon. Hence, sensors on the spacecraft will scan the lunar surface, map out the various routes, analyse which one to get into and then land on that particular surface. All the materials and parts for the spacecraft that TeamIndus has built are from India.

The first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded the $20 million grand prize. The second team gets $5 million. To win either of these prizes, teams must prove that 90% of their mission costs were funded by private sources. Teams have until the end of 2016 to announce a verified launch contract and complete their mission by the end of 2017.

Only three countries have ever soft-landed on the moon—the US, the former Soviet Union and China. “Soft landing” refers to the landing by a spacecraft on the moon or a planet at a sufficiently low velocity for the equipment or occupants to remain unharmed. China’s soft landing on 14 December 2013, took place 37 years after the erstwhile USSR soft landed on the Moon on 22 August 1976. The Luna 9 spacecraft, launched by the Soviet Union, performed the first successful soft moon landing on 31 January 1966. That very year in May, the US’s Surveyor 1 spacecraft first soft landed on the moon. The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, the mission of the Luna 24 probe, was the third Soviet mission to retrieve lunar ground samples in August 1976.

Website: http://www.livemint.com/Science/YBui5gb ... ng-up.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 22:25

Astrobotic Selects Space Industry Veteran to be Mission Director
Press Release From: Astrobotic Technology

Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces the selection of Sharad Bhaskaran as Mission Director.
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A nationwide search was conducted for the new position and Bhaskaran stood out as a clear fit to lead the team, with 25 years of experience at Lockheed Martin successfully developing and managing payload projects for spaceflight applications. “Sharad, with his extensive space experience, is a perfect fit to lead our team of world class partners including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus Defence and Space, Carnegie Mellon and NASA in the development of the Peregrine lunar lander,” said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.

Bhaskaran started his career at Lockheed Martin in 1989 as a Payload Systems Engineer, where he performed Spacelab payload structural analysis for three integrated racks that flew and operated on Shuttle missions SLS-1 and SLS-2. In addition, he led negotiation and testing of more than 30 U.S. payloads onto the Mir Space Station. When the Mir program concluded, he supported the International Space Station (ISS) Human Research Facility in various project and leadership roles, contributing to successful launch and operation of the system on ISS. He would go on to contribute as a prime technical volume writer for the winning Bioastronautics proposal, worth more than $1 billion to the prime contractor. On Bioastronautics he became the Lockheed Martin Department Manager for Systems Integration & Development, developing and managing payload concepts for ISS science and operations support.

Bhaskaran rounded out his career with Lockheed Martin when he was selected by his business unit to take over as Program Manager for the West Coast portfolio, which included the $300 million NASA Ames Research Center Programs & Projects engineering and science services contract and Shuttle operations support contracts at Armstrong Flight Research Facility and White Sands Space Harbor. The Ames contract provided science, engineering, IT, and outreach support to more than 35 projects across all 9 technical directorates at Ames, including: SOFIA, Kepler, ISS life science payloads, the Astrobiology Institute, the Ames Proposal Office, and lunar and Mars science instrument development. During this time, he achieved the highest performance score and highest annual sales in the contract’s history, and successfully added a second technical services subcontract to Lockheed’s portfolio at NASA Ames.

“I am honored to be selected for this role and excited to lead an exceptional team to help Astrobotic create a commercial lunar delivery service,” said Sharad Bhaskaran, about his new position as Mission Director at Astrobotic. “Astrobotic’s accomplishments to date, along with the key partnerships they’ve forged, position them well to successfully land the first privately-funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon. I look forward to working with the entire team on this historic mission.”

Another passion of Bhaskaran’s is giving back to the community. He led workshops for InnVision Shelter Network in San Mateo, a shelter that is dedicated to helping homeless families and individuals regain permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The workshops taught clients financial planning, life skills, and career counseling. He also has provided tutoring in math, and reading and writing to inner city disadvantaged youth through Interfaith Ministries of Houston.

About Astrobotic:
Astrobotic Technology is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, nonprofits, and individuals. The company’s spacecraft accommodates multiple customers on a single flight, offering lunar delivery at an industry-defining price of $1.2 Million per kilogram. Astrobotic is a partner with NASA through a Space Act Agreement under the Lunar CATALYST program, and has 21 prior and ongoing NASA contracts. The company has 10 deals in place for its first mission and dozens of customer negotiations for upcoming missions. The company is also pursuing the Google Lunar XPRIZE with partner Carnegie Mellon University. Astrobotic was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in 2007, and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

Website: http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=49000

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 02 Oct 2016 22:44

How Moon Express Launched Commercial Regulations In Space
By Mark R. Whittington, Forbes — Tuesday Sep 6 2016. 10 00 AM

August 3, 2016 is a date that will live forever in the history of the space age, not because of a rocket launch or a spacecraft landing on another world, but because of a decision by a group of government bureaucrats. After just a little more than four months of work, officials from a diverse number of agencies including the FAA, NASA, the State Department and others granted a private company called Moon Express permission to land on the moon. The entrepreneurial company and its launch provider, Rocket Lab, have a few technical challenges left to overcome, including making sure that the Electron rocket upon which the lunar lander will fly works as designed. But the way is clear for Moon Express to land the first private payload on another world sometime before the end of 2017 as part of the Google Lunar X Prize competition.

The process for granting what is essentially a Mission Approval document was made necessary by Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty. The article states, in part, “States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty.”

The laissez-faire approach thus far
Just 49 years passed before Moon Express’ mission to the moon required compliance with Article 6 of the treaty. The U.S. government was not prepared for complying with the provision because, before the Google Lunar X Prize, no private entity had ever seriously undertaken a moon landing. The various government agencies involved, with the cooperation of Moon Express, literally developed the approval procedures on the fly. The process will serve as a model for other private space missions, including other participants in the Google Lunar X Prize and SpaceX’s proposed Red Dragon mission to Mars, slated for 2018. The procedure developed for Moon Express will likely be codified by legislation within the next year or so. The United States government has been taking a remarkably laissez-faire approach to regulating commercial space, compared to how it deals with more Earth-bound businesses. The FAA has a simple procedure to acquire a launch approval, something that has helped the development of a commercial launch industry. Last year, a provision in a commercial space bill allowed future lunar and asteroid miners to retain ownership of the minerals they extract.

It’s time for mission control
The task of developing a regulatory regime governing private business activities in space has just begun. One big unanswered question is who will arbitrate disputes between two or more private companies in space, especially if they are based in different countries? The matter cries out for a new space treaty governing commercial activities beyond the earth. Unlike the infamous Moon Treaty of the late 1970s, such an agreement should encourage the private, economic development of the high frontier. Whatever regime that is developed needs to be easy to understand and comply with.

In the meantime, 2017 may become one of those historical years in the history of space travel. So far, three countries (the United States, the Soviet Union and China) have landed on the moon. The next entity to land on the lunar surface may well be a private company. Besides Moon Express, an Israeli group, SpaceIL, seems ready to make an attempt next year.

While going after the same Google Lunar X Prize, the two groups have different motivations. Moon Express is trying to develop a business designed to take payloads to the moon and then mine it for useful materials such as water, a potential nuclear fusion fuel called helium 3, and platinum group metals. SpaceIL wants to land on the moon to inspire Israel’s youth to pursue careers in the STEM fields and to put the Jewish state on the map as a technology powerhouse. The two enterprises, as well as the SpaceX Red Dragon mission to Mars and the Deep Space Industries mission to an asteroid, will be the start of the transformation of other worlds from a wilderness frontier to part of the economic sphere of Earth.

Website: http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/20 ... c479bf1b4d
Reference: Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. http://www.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 09 Oct 2016 13:23

Who owns the moon?
by Saskia Vermeylen, Phys.org October 17, 2014
Image
Credit: Moon Estates

Whether you're into mining, energy or tourism, there are lots of reasons to explore space. Some "pioneers" even believe humanity's survival depends on colonizing celestial bodies such as the moon and Mars, both becoming central hubs for our further journey into the cosmos. Lunar land peddlers have started doing deals already – a one-acre plot can be yours for just £16.75.

More seriously, big corporations, rich entrepreneurs and even US politicians are eyeing up the moon and its untapped resources. Russia has plans for a manned colony by 2030 and a Japanese firm wants to build a ring of solar panels around the moon and beam energy back to Earth.
We need to be clear about the legal validity of extraterrestrial real estate as the same ideas that were once used to justify colonialism are being deployed by governments and galactic entrepreneurs. Without proper regulation, the moon risks becoming an extra-planetary Wild West.
To figure out whether "earthly" laws can help decide who owns what in space – or if anything can be owned at all – we must first disentangle sovereignty from property. Back in the 17th century, natural law theorists such as Hugo Grotius and John Locke argued that property rights exist by virtue of human nature but that they can only have legal force when they are recognized by a sovereign government. Within the context of space law, the big question is whether sovereignty reaches infinity – how high must you go to escape your country?

Galactic commons
When the US was confronted with this query in the early 1950s, it lobbied for the recognition of outer space as a global commons. The Soviet Union was difficult to infiltrate to gather intelligence, so open access to Soviet air space was crucial for the US during the Cold War. Perceiving outer space as a commons was also another way of preventing national sovereignty in space. But neither the USSR nor the US was keen to fight out the Cold War on yet another front. Geopolitics dictated the decision to treat outer space as being non-appropriable.
This principle can be found back in Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty which clearly forbids "national appropriation by claims of sovereignty, means of use or occupation by any other means". It has been widely accepted: no one complains the various moon landings or satellites in space have infringed their sovereignty. However, legal commentators disagree over whether this prohibition is also valid for private appropriation. Some space lawyers have argued for the recognition of real property rights on the basis of jurisdiction rather than territorial sovereignty.

Historical records of the Space Treaty negotiations clearly indicate people were against private appropriations at the time, but an explicit prohibition never made it into Article II. Lessons have been learned from this omission and the ban was far more explicit in the subsequent Moon Agreement of 1979. However only 16 countries signed the agreement, none of which were involved in manned space exploration, leaving it somewhat meaningless as an international standard.

Consequently, space entrepreneurs such as Dennis Hope from the Lunar Embassy Corporation seem to think that there is a loophole in Article II which allows private citizens to claim ownership of the moon. Most space lawyers disagree however. They point out that states assume international responsibility for activities in space, whether by national companies or private adventurers, and therefore that the same prohibition extends to the private sector. So while the idea of buying some lunar real estate might be fun, in order for these plots to be recognized as property there needs to be legal recognition by a superior authority such as a nation state. As states are not allowed to claim sovereign rights in outer space, landed property on the moon and planets will in all likelihood be outlawed. Legal commentators are hopeful that states will remain loyal to the treaty and refrain from recognizing or endorsing a private property claim. If there is a precedent, it lies at the bottom of the ocean. In 1974, the US government refused to recognize the exclusive mining rights of Deepsea Ventures to the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

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A lunar base, as imagined by NASA in the 1970s. Credit: NASA

Lunar takeover
But all of these arguments are rather theoretical. If you just simply occupy a place and no one else can access or use it, aren't you the de facto owner? Lawyers call this corporate possession (corpus possidendi) and it represents another reason why title deeds cannot be a legal proof of lunar ownership – no one is physically there. In order to possess something, both mind and body need to be involved. Intention alone is not sufficient; possession also requires a physical act.

The difficulty of physically establishing an act of possession on the moon should protect it from private development, but it seems technology is once again outsmarting the law. Back in the late 1990s commercial firm SpaceDev intended to land robotic prospectors on an asteroid to conduct experiments and claim it as private property. The project eventually ran out of funds and was shelved, but advocates of such "telepossession" point to cases of salvage companies claiming undersea wrecks as property after exploring them with robots. After all, if an undersea probe with a TV camera was all that was required to take possession of a (previously owned, earthly) shipwreck, why shouldn't a space probe be enough to take possession of an unowned and unclaimed patch of celestial real estate?

Though legal ownership of the moon or Mars is prohibited, the appropriation of material is a whole different matter. It looks like entrepreneurs could claim something like "enterprise rights" that allows them to explore and exploit natural resources in outer space. I get the uncomfortable feeling of a déjà vu. Was it not Locke's property theory that justified possession over nature and vacant land and eventually led to the colonization of the Americas? Let's hope that the international community and individual states come to their senses before it's too late and get to sign and ratify the Moon Agreement which might give us a little bit of hope that we can avoid another enclosure movement. Recent conflicts over Ukraine, the South China Sea or Syria have raised talk of a "new era in geopolitics". They may also rekindle the realization that outer space should not become the next playground for conquest.

Website: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-moon.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 09 Oct 2016 20:19

Hunter's moon - a once in every four year phenomenon - to light up the sky next week
by Jack Longstaff, grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, October 08, 2016

In a once in every four year phenomenon, the Hunter's moon is set to come out for all too see next week.

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The bright moon, known as the Hunter's moon, is set to light up the Grimsby night's sky for the first time since 2012.

Here's what you need to know about it.

What is a Hunter's moon?
It's the name given to the full moon in October, although it can also appear in November. When it rises it has an orange tint due to the moons closeness to the horizon.

Why is it called the Hunter's moon?
It is thought to be the native Americans who gave it its name as they marked the passing of each month's full moon with an unique name. Native Americans would focus their time on hunting plump game in preparation for the upcoming winter months after September. With the help of the bright moon, hunters could better spy their prey at night.

Why is it so special?
It is special due to the shortness of time between sunset and when the moon rises. When the Hunter's Moon is visible while the sun is up, the moon's brightness makes it appear as if were are two suns in the sky.

In autumn, particularly around the time of a full moon, there are several consecutive days that have relatively no period of darkness in between the sunset and moonrise.

For time periods without artificial light, this would allow people to continue working after sunset. It is also the only night of October when the moon is in the sky the entire night.

When can I see it?
The next Hunter's moon can be seen on Sunday, October 16, after sunset.

What other special moons are coming up?
A supermoon is expected this November 14. This is when a full moon reaches its closest point to the earth in its orbit and will appear larger than normal as it is less than 360,000km away from the earths centre.

Website: http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/hunte ... story.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 09 Oct 2016 23:27

Can you buy land on the moon?
by Matt Williams, Universe Today, October 7, 2016
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Annotated features on the lunar nearside. You’ll notice, not one of them says “Land for Sale!” Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Peter Freiman(Cmglee)

Have you ever heard that it's possible to buy property on the moon? Perhaps someone has told you that, thanks to certain loopholes in the legal code, it is possible to purchase your very own parcel of lunar land. And in truth, many celebrities have reportedly bought into this scheme, hoping to snatch up their share of land before private companies or nations do. Despite the fact that there may be several companies willing to oblige you, the reality is that international treaties say that no nation owns the moon. These treaties also establish that the moon is there for the good of all humans, and so it's impossible for any state to own any lunar land. But does that mean private ownership is impossible too? The short answer is yes. The long answer is, it's complicated. At present, there are multiple nations hoping to build outposts and settlements on the moon in the coming decades. The ESA hopes to build a "international village" between 2020 and 2030 and NASA has plans for its own for a moon base. The Russian space agency (Roscosmos) is planning to build a lunar base by the 2020s, and the China National Space Agency (CNSA) is planning to build such a base in a similar timeframe, thanks to the success of its Chang'e program.

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The ESA recently elaborated its plan to create a moon base by the 2030s. Credit: ESA/Foster + Partners

Because of this, a lot of attention has been focused lately on the existing legal framework for the moon and other celestial bodies. Let's take a look at the history of "space law", shall we?

Outer Space Treaty: On Jan. 27th, 1967, the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union sat down together to work out a treaty on the exploration and use of outer space. With the Soviets and Americans locked in the Space Race, there was fear on all sides that any power that managed to put resources into orbit, or get to the moon first, might have an edge on the others – and use these resources for evil!
As such, all sides signed "The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the moon and Other Celestial Bodies" – aka. "The Outer Space Treaty". This treaty went into effect on Oct. 10th, 1967, and became the basis of international space law. As of September 2015, it has been signed by 104 countries (while another 24 have signed the treaty but have not competed the ratification process).

The treaty is overseen the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). It's a big document, with lots of articles, subsections, and legalese. But the most relevant clause is Article II of the treaty, where it states: "Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means."

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About 20 minutes after the first step, Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface and became the second human to set foot on the Moon. Credit: NASA

"Loophole" in the Treaty:
Despite clearly saying that Outer Space is the property of all humanity, and can only be used for the good of all, the language is specific to national ownership. As a result, there is no legal consensus on whether or not the treaty's prohibition is also valid as far as private appropriation is concerned. However, Article II addresses only the issue of national ownership, and contains no specific language about the rights of private individuals or bodies in owning anything in outer space. Because of this, there are some who have argued that property rights should be recognized on the basis of jurisdiction rather than territorial sovereignty.

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Buzz Aldrin’s panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Credit: NASA

Looking to Article VI though, it states that governments are responsible for the actions of any party therein. So it is clear that the spirit of the treaty is meant to apply to all entities, be they public or private. As it states: "States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty." In other words, any person, organization or company operating in space is answerable to their respective government. But since no specific mention is made of private ownership, there are those who claim that this represents a "loophole" in the treaty which allows them to claim and sell land on the moon at this time. Because of this ambiguity, there have been attempts to augment the Outer Space Treaty.

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Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr. shown collecting samples on the lunar surface with the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the Apollo 16 mission. Credit: NASA

The Moon Treaty:
On Dec. 18th, 1979, members of the United Nations presented an agreement which was meant to be a follow-up to the Outer Space Treaty and close its supposed loopholes. Known as the "Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the moon and Other Celestial Bodies" – aka. "The Moon Treaty" or "moon Agreement" – this treaty intended to establish a legal framework for the use of the moon and other celestial bodies. Much like the Outer Space Treaty, the agreement established that the moon should be used for the benefit of all humanity and not for the sake of any individual state. The treaty banned weapons testing, declared that any scientific research must be open and shared with the international community, and that nations and individuals and organizations could not claim anything.

In practice, the treaty failed because it has not been ratified by any state that engages in crewed space exploration or has domestic launch capability. This includes the United States, the larger members of the ESA, Russia, China, Japan and India. Though it expressly forbids both national and private ownership of land on the moon, or the use thereof for non-scientific, non-universal purposes, the treaty effectively has no teeth. Bottom line, there is nothing that expressly forbids companies from owning land on the moon. However, with no way to claim that land, anyone attempting to sell land to prospective buyers is basically selling snake oil. Any documentation that claims you own land on the moon is unenforceable, and no nation on the planet that has signed either the Outer Space Treaty or the moon Treaty will recognize it. Then again, if you were able to fly up to the moon and build a settlement there, it would be pretty difficult for anyone to stop you. But don't expect that to the be the last word on the issue. With multiple space agencies looking to create "international villages" and companies hoping to create a tourist industry, you could expect some serious legal battles down the road!

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Astronauts need spacesuits to survive the temperature of the moon. Credit: NASA

But of course, this is all academic. With no atmosphere to speak of, temperatures reaching incredible highs and lows – ranging from 100 °C (212 °F) to -173 °C (-279.4 °F) – its low gravity (16.5 % that of Earth), and all that harsh moon dust, nobody outside of trained astronauts (or the clinically insane) should want to spend a significant amount of time there!

Website: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-moon.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 10 Oct 2016 10:05

New finding supports Moon creation hypothesis
by Phys.org, September 26, 2016
Image
Composite image of the lunar nearside taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in June 2009, Credit: NASA
Published in the current issue of the journal Nature Geo science, the paper uses laboratory simulations of an Earth impact as evidence that a stratified layer beneath the rocky mantle – which appears in seismic data – was created when the Earth was struck by a smaller object. The authors argue this was the same impact that sent a great mass of debris hurtling into space, creating the moon. "Our experiments bring additional evidence in favor of the giant impact hypothesis," said Maylis Landeau, the lead author of the paper, who was a post-doctoral fellow in Johns Hopkins' Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences when the experiments were conducted. "They demonstrate that the giant impact scenario also explains the stratification inferred by seismology at the top of the present-day Earth's core. This result ties the present-day structure of Earth's core to its formation."

Landeau, now a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge, co-wrote the paper with Peter Olson, research professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Benjamin H. Hirsh, who was an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins, and Renaud Deguen of Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France. Olson said the giant impact argument for the formation of the moon is the most prevalent scientific hypothesis on how the Earth satellite was formed, but it is still considered unproven because there's been no "smoking gun" evidence. "We're saying this stratified layer might be the smoking gun," said Olson. "Its properties are consistent with it being a vestige of that impact." Their argument is based on seismic evidence of the composition of the stratified layer – believed to be some 200 miles thick and lie 1,800 miles below the Earth's surface – and on laboratory experiments simulating the turbulence of the impact. The turbulence in particular is believed to account for the stratification – meaning a mix of materials in layers rather than a homogeneous composition – at the top of the core. The stratified layer is believed to consist of a mix of iron and lighter elements, including oxygen, sulfur and silicon. The very existence of this layer is understood from seismic imaging, as it lies far too deep underground to be sampled directly.

Up to now, most simulations of the impact have been done numerically, and have not accounted for impact turbulence, Olson said. Olson said turbulence is difficult to simulate mathematically and no computer model has yet done it successfully. The researchers in this experiment simulated the impact using liquids meant to approximate the turbulent mixing of materials that would have occurred when the planetary object struck when the Earth was just about fully formed – a "proto-Earth," as scientists call it. Olson said the experiments depended on the principle of "dynamic similarity." In this case, that means a way to make reliable comparisons of fluid flows without replicating the scale, materials and force of the original Earth impact, which would be impossible. Instead, the experiment was meant to simulate the key ratios of forces acting on each other to produce the turbulence of the impact that could leave behind a layered mixture of material.

The researchers conducted more than 60 experiments in which about 3.5 ounces of saline or ethanol solutions representing the planetary projectile that hit the Earth was dropped into a rectangular tank holding about six gallons of fluid representing the early Earth. In the tank was a combination of fluids in layers that do not mix: oil floating on the top to represent the Earth's mantle and water below representing the Earth's core. The analysis of the impact showed that a mix of materials was left behind in varying amounts, and also that the distribution of the mixture depended on the size and density of the projectile hitting the "Earth." The larger the projectile, the more likely the entire core of the Earth, and not just a layer, would be a mix of material. The authors argue for a smaller moon-forming projectile, smaller or equal to the size of Mars, a bit more than half the size of the Earth.

More information: Maylis Landeau et al. Core merging and stratification following giant impact, Nature Geoscience (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2808
Journal reference: Nature Geoscience
Provided by: Johns Hopkins University

Website: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-moon-creat ... hesis.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 10 Oct 2016 15:25

What Happened To The Object That Created Our Moon?
by Jillian Scudder, Forbes, October 2016

The leading theory of the Moon’s formation is that an impactor hit the Earth and created a debris field that coalesced into the moon. Where is the impactor now? Has anyone ever looked or speculated as to what happened to it?

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Planets, including those like our own Earth, form from epic collisions between asteroids and even bigger bodies, called proto-planets. Sometimes the colliding bodies are ground to dust, and sometimes they stick together to ultimately form larger, mature planets. This artist’s conception shows one such smash-up, the evidence for which was collected by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer’s infrared vision detected a huge eruption around the star NGC 2547-ID8 between August 2012 and 2013. Scientists think the dust was kicked up by a massive collision between two large asteroids. They say the smashup took place in the star’s “terrestrial zone,” the region around stars where rocky planets like Earth take shape. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Have they ever! We have a pretty good general idea, but the details of how that collision happened are still a very active field of study. In order to go into more details on how that particular impact may have happened, we need to have a good understanding of how impacts work in general, before we scale up to the one that created our Moon.

Impacts between any two objects are all about energy. The more energy you have, the bigger a mark you’re going to leave. There are two ways to have a lot of energy, if you are a rock hurtling towards the Earth — one is to be really, really fast, and the other is to be really, really large. Either of the two will do the trick — and of course, if you’re really fast and really large, you will do a double dose of damage to whatever you hit.

The reason you make so much of a mark when you crash into something else is that usually the thing you’ve hit is much bigger than you are, and doesn’t want to move, so as the smaller object, you must very abruptly come to a halt. This halting means that all of the energy that was carried with you in motion is transferred into whatever you’ve hit.

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A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013. Researchers used HiRISE to examine this site because the orbiter’s Context Camera had revealed a change in appearance here between observations in July 2010 and May 2012, bracketing the formation of the crater between those observations. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

You can see this in small scale if you flick a pebble into some soft sand. As the pebble hits the sand, it sends up a sand-splash, which then rains down in a ring surrounding the pebble’s landing spot. Some of the energy which was held in the motion of the pebble got transferred to the sand, slowing the pebble and speeding up the sand. Sand is easily moved, because it’s made of a lot of very small pieces, and each piece is easily separated from every other piece. Sand doesn’t particularly like to be compressed underneath the incoming pebble, but will easily move in a different direction instead. If you flick the same pebble at a much bigger rock, that pebble probably just bounced off of the rock, making no such dent. (Rocks don’t like to move. More on this in a minute.)

The pebble you threw should be buried not too far under the sand (depending on how hard you threw it). But here, our pebble doesn’t have to slow down very much, and it’s hit a very soft material, which obligingly moved. The finer the powder any object hits, the slower the stopping process is, so the object will move further under the surface before stopping. If you want to test this, try throwing a marble into hard-packed brown sugar, loose sand (or sugar) and some flour. The flour, which is the finest powder, will allow the marble to sink much further into it, particularly in comparison to hard packed brown sugar, which is much thicker and less inclined to move. (If you do this test, I will not be held responsible for the state of your kitchen after you toss a marble into the flour — flour will go everywhere.)

How does this pebble flicking scale to much larger impacts? Pretty well, though the energies involved are much, much larger. If a meteoroid (our new, much larger, pebble analogue) happens to hit a surface which is particularly soft, like a moon which is mostly rubble, that meteoroid can pass through quite a bit of that rubble before it comes to a stop. However, odds are that a lot of asteroids (in the inner solar system, anyways) are going to wind up hitting another piece of rock. And in this situation, there’s one additional thing that happens with an impact of asteroid scales. The front edge of your boulder, which is slamming into rock, slows down faster than the back edge of your boulder, which means that the two sides wind up closer together, and so the whole thing flattens.

As we mentioned earlier, rock doesn’t like to compress, and now both the impacting object and the surface it’s hitting are doing it, and so the energy has to go somewhere. And so it does, into a shock wave in the surrounding Earth. Depending on how much energy there is (remember, either by speed of impact or massive impact), this can mean you punch a straightforward hole in the ground, à la Barringer Crater, or you can create a much larger hole, like the Chicxulub impact crater. With something like the Chicxulub impact crater, some of the energy went into vaporizing the impacting object, and some of the energy went into liquefying the surface that it hit.

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This is a stitched panoramic image of Meteor (or Barringer) Crater located near Winslow, Arizona, 2012 07 11. Image credit: wikimedia user Tsaiproject, CC BY-SA 3.0

The asteroid that hit our Earth at Chicxulub is estimated to have been about 12 miles across, generating a crater 110 miles across. It vaporized the impacting object, but left unusual amounts of shocked minerals and droplets of molten glass for us to find. And it made a mess of the entire planet, not helping the dinosaurs very much.

Now, going from a 12 mile asteroid hitting the Earth to something roughly the size of Mars, you can imagine you are doing another entire leap in how catastrophic your impact is. Mars is 4,200 miles across. The Earth is around 7,900 miles across. This is no longer a small object hitting a large object, but two objects which are reasonably close to each other in size, so the energy involved is going to be immense.

Some rock vaporization and liquefying is definitely in order. And here’s where various theories begin to diverge. The Moon’s rock and Earth’s rock are chemically close enough to each other that they should have once mostly been in the same place (namely on the Earth). So when this impacting object, which has been dubbed Theia, slammed into the earth, it’s thought that the core of Theia sank down into the core of the proto-Earth to join the Earth’s existing core. But a good chunk of material would have been flung out into space, both from Theia or from the Earth. These pieces of blasted off rock would have gradually collected back together to form the Moon. This is generally considered the most promising running theory, but it can’t explain a few details, so it still needs a little tweaking.

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This artist’s concept shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope found evidence that a high-speed collision of this sort occurred a few thousand years ago around a young star, called HD 172555, still in the early stages of planet formation. The star is about 100 light-years from Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The most problematic detail is that this explanation typically means that Theia wasn’t utterly vaporized and distributed evenly between the Earth and the Moon — more of Theia should have wound up in the Moon, and less of it on the Earth. But the Earth and the Moon are very close to each other, chemically, so we might need a model that involves more mixing of the Earth and Theia.

A new theory suggests that perhaps the impact was more violent than we had thought — more energy was transferred — and Theia actually had been totally vaporized, along with the entire crust of the earth, and a good chunk of the upper mantle, leaving a glowing core of our planet surrounded by a haze of super dense gas, which was previously rock. Since pretty much everything is vaporized in this scenario, it helps explain why the surface of the Earth and the Moon would look so similar – they would have both re-condensed out of this same haze, which would have been a much more even mixture of the proto-Earth and Theia, the impact object.

No matter which theory of the Moon’s formation prevails in the long run, the impacting object would have certainly destroyed itself in the collision – remnants of it are in both the Earth and the Moon, having shredded at least the crust of the Earth, and at most, vaporizing a huge fraction of the Earth.

Note: Author is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Astrophysics.

Website: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jillianscud ... 76569a3bd0

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 12 Oct 2016 22:46

This Rocket Failed to put Soviets on the Moon
by Amy Shira Teitel, Popsci.com October 3, 2016

It was so cold on February 20, 1969, that the launch was delayed; even the biggest of all Soviet rockets wasn’t immune to the frigid winters in Kazakstan. Conditions had warmed enough the next day, and at 3:18pm the mammoth N-1 rocket left the Earth for the first time. The combined thrust of the 30 engines powering the first stage shook the ground, and the fire pouring from the bottom of the rocket was an awe inspiring sight for the people who had spent years bringing the rocket to life. Then, just 70 seconds later, all 30 engines shut down. Momentum carried the N-1 to about 17 miles before gravity brought it crashing back to Earth. The escape system separated the modified lunar spacecraft that was its payload, sending it about 21 miles away from the launch pad. The rest of the rocket landed some 10 miles further. In less than two minutes, the Soviets’ last valiant effort to beat America to the Moon was reduced to piles of twisted and burnt metal.

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Two N-1s on launch pads

Genesis of the Mega Booster
Like so many large-scale programs of the space age, the N-1 rocket has its roots before the space age formally began with the launch of Sputnik. As was happening in the United States in the mid-1950s, Soviet scientists and planners were beginning to turn their attention towards space. In 1954, one mission up for consideration was a manned flyby of Mars or Venus, something simpler than a landing mission but not a mission that could be done with the existing R-7 rocket. To get to our planetary neighbours, the Soviets would need something much bigger. This need begat proposals to chiefs of design bureaus in military and research institutions in July of 1957, one of which was a heavy lift interplanetary rocket called TMK, a transliteration of the Russian for Heavy Interplanetary Ship. It ultimately fell to the OKB-1 design bureau at the NII-88 research centre, which was part of the Space Technology Institute, to build this rocket. As the chief designer and head of OKB-1, the program fell specifically to Sergei Korolev. The Mars/Venus flyby mission parameters dictated specifics for the rocket.Mission planners figured the minimum payload for these missions would be 75 tons. Only 15 tons of that would be the interplanetary spacecraft; the remaining 60 tons would be the mass of the rocket. Don't forget: rockets have to lift themselves off the Earth along with their payload.

A rocket with this much lift capacity was going to need powerful engines, so Korolev when to the man with the most experience with big rockets: Valentin Glushko, the head of the OKB-456 design bureau. Glushko presented a plan using nitric acid and UDMH in the first stage engines, and Korolev flat out refused. He didn’t want to further complicate the already challenging N-1 by using toxic chemicals. Glushko was unwavering, and this disagreement over engines began a long-standing conflict between the engineers and their design bureaus, and also Glushko’s campaign to stop the N-1 from flying. With Glushko out, Korolev turned to OKB-276 with Nikolay Kuznetstov at the head to develop the N-1’s engines. Kuznetstov didn't have Glushko's experience with big engines, so his solution was crude: get the necessary power by using more smaller engines. The solution suited Korolev and the N-1 started the slow process of moving from concept to reality.

From Venus to the Moon
Korolev’s mega booster program moved steadily forward until 1964 when a strange Soviet decision suddenly derailed years of work. To this point in the space race, the Soviets had been in the lead — it had launched the first satellite, the first animal, the first man into orbit, the first woman, and done the first spacewalk. But the United States was starting to pull ahead with promises from the Gemini program, and Apollo was (metaphorically) already on its way to the Moon. NASA was, effectively, racing against itself to the Moon. But then on August 3, the Soviet Union decided to take on the American challenge of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. Three years after the America officially started its lunar landing program, Soviet leadership endorsed its own.

To spare the N-1 being cancelled in light of this new goal, OKB-1 presented a proposal to go to the Moon with this rocket rather than build a new one. The plan was ultimately accepted and in 1965 the burden of getting a cosmonaut to the Moon before the Americans fell to Korolev and his N-1. But there was a problem. The N-1 was powerful enough the launch a Mars or Venus flyby mission, but it couldn't send a landing mission to the Moon. A landing mission is heavier than a flyby mission, especially a free-return trajectory mission. With a flyby, you don't need to carry fuel for an orbit insertion burn, for a transearth injection burn, and you certainly don't need a landing vehicle with its own complicated life support and propulsion systems. But these are all things you absolutely need on a landing mission. So by design the N-1 was a poor Moon rocket. Consider as a comparison the Saturn V, which was honed for Apollo’s lunar orbit rendezvous mission architecture. The Saturn V could put 130 tons into low Earth orbit, enough for even the long-duration Apollo missions that took rovers to the Moon. The N-1 was limited to 75 tons.

This left Korolev’s bureau with a choice: either assemble the lunar spacecraft in orbit with multiple launches or make the N-1 more powerful. They chose the latter to avoid losing a mission from a launch failure. The solution was to decrease the temperature of the Kerosene and overcool the liquid oxygen to store more in the existing tanks, upgrade all the rocket engines, and add six more to the first stage. To get to the Moon the N-1 would have 30 engine powering its first stage, but it could still only take 95 tons into orbit.

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The N-1 rolling towards its launch pad, about to pass over a flame trench.

Structure of the N-1
The final arrangement of the N-1 emerged after this decision. At the bottom of the stack was Block A, the first stage powered by 30 engines, all of which were managed by a system called KORD. This was a realtime diagnostics system that monitored the crucial parameters for all the engines that was also capable of making the decision to shut down individual engine should it show signs of pending catastrophic failure. This took advantage of the redundancy of a rocket with 30 engines; losing one engine or even two wouldn’t completely ruin a launch. The others could compensate. But power isn't all you need for a launch. That rocket also has to be directed in flight. Pitch and yaw control in the N-1 were achieved through differential thrust. Rather than use a complicated and heavy system to swivel the engines, the N-1 was used differential thrust; less power from one side of the rocket would tilt it in the desired direction of flight. Roll control came from six small nozzles outside the main engine cluster could swivel to move the stack around it’s vertical axis. Like the Saturn V, the N-1 was a multistage rocket. There were two stages above Block A. The second stage was Block B, powered by eight engines. Block V was the third stage and ti was powered by four engines.

On top of Block V was the payload, and for the lunar mission this was the L-3 complex consisting of four parts. Block G sat directly above Block V, and this was the translunar injection stage that would send the crew to the Moon. Above that was Block D, the stage that would perform any midcourse correction burns, the lunar orbit insertion burn, and the burn to start the crew’s descent to the lunar surface. And then there were the two spacecraft, the Block I LOK lunar orbiter and Block E LK lunar lander.

Leaving Earth
When Korolev died in 1966, the N1-L3 program was transferred to his successor Vasiliy Mishin, and under new leadership the rocket got ready for its first flight. A directive called for the N-1 to fly in the second half of 1967 to keep pace with the Americans, but this proved impossible. The rocket was eventually erected on the pad in May of 1968, and everything was finally ready in February of 1969. By this time Apollo 8 had already orbited the Moon but NASA still had a ways to go before attempting the landing. There was hope that the Soviets could still beat the Americans if this first N-1 launch was trouble-free. N1-3L — the third N-1 rocket not to be confused with L-3 as the lunar spacecraft — left the Earth at 3:18pm on February 21, 1969. At T+70 seconds, all the engines shut down, and within another minutes it was in burning heaps on the ground.

Preliminary data said engines 12 and 24 hd shut down, and instead of firing longer to compensate the remaining 28 had all shut down early. The investigation deepened to focus on KORD. It turned out that electrical interference manifested as an erroneous signal from KORD to shut down engine 12, triggering shutdown of its opposite, engine 24, to retain symmetry. As the rocket flew higher, vibrations tore off a gas pressure-measuring pipe in the turbo pump and broke a fuel pressure pipe in engine number 2. This sent hot kerosene flowing into the base of the rocket, triggering a rise in temperature in engines 3, 21, 22, 23, and 14. The fire destroyed insulation covering power supply cables. This was interpreted by KORD as pulses in the turbo pumps, which sent the command to shut down all engines. The signal traveled up the rocket to freeze the engines in Blocks B and V, too. Finding the root of the problem didn’t mean it was easy to fix. KORD’s designed admitted that a fire could result in KORD sending faulty commands, and it wasn’t an easy fix. This team was eventually told to keep this matter to themselves as the Soviets hurried to prepare a second N-1 before America landed on the Moon.

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The N-1 takes flight

The Second Failure
At 2:18 in the morning on July 4, 1969, the second N-1 rocket left the earth. In an attempt to avoid a second round of premature engine shutdowns, new thermal insulation covered KORD’s wires and transmission lines were isolated from one another to prevent erroneous signals. There were also more sensors in each engine, so more data points for engineers, and KORD, to read. The rocket began to rise, but just 10.5 seconds later bright pieces could be seen falling from the tail section. The stack seemed to hover, then tilt, then it fell back to the launch pad and collapsed, triggering a series of explosions that engulfed the whole area in flames. It was the largest disaster on a launch pad the Soviet program had experienced, and amazingly no one was killed.

The accident investigation studied telemetry, photos, and film to find that all 30 Blovk A rockets had been firing with the rocket still on the launch pad.Then, a turbopump supplying liquid oxygen to engine number 8 had exploded just before liftoff. The other engines kept working, but just 650 feet above the launch pad engines started shutting down. Within 12 seconds, every engine but number 18 was shut down, and that lone engine pitched the rocket on its side, sending it crashing nearly broadside and adding to its destructive power. It seemed debris in the turbo pump for engine 8 was the root of the problem. It caused an explosion, the force of which severed feedlines to other the engines and started a fire. This sent a signal to KORD that the pressure and turbopump rotation rates were dangerously high in engines 7, 19, 20, and 21, and it shut them down, followed by the rest, except 18. Debris, a problem with an oxygen sensor, and erroneous signals from KORD had brought down another N-1.

Lost Moon
While the Soviet space program was picking up the literal and metaphorical pieces of the second N-1 disaster, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. The rocket that had been ripped from its interplanetary program and forced into a lunar mission was now without application. But the program wasn't cancelled. Changes were made and the directive came from national leadership to ready another N-1 for launch. A little more than two years later, the third N-1 left the launch pad on June 27, 1971. This rocket started off better than any other launch but quickly developed roll stabilization problems. This put strong torque forces on the rocket, damaging and ultimately destroying Block B. Then at T-51 seconds KORD sent a signal to all 30 first stage engines to shut down. The rocket broke apart in the air and crashed down to Earth. The final flight of the N-1 came on November 23, 1972. For the first 77 seconds, the rocket actually behaved as designed. As it flew further than any of its predecessors, KORD shut down the central cluster of six engines right on time at T+90 seconds,. But fourteen seconds later an explosion erupted in the tail of the Block A, and the mission was over.

This was the last hurrah for the N-1 program. After more than a decade of development and eight years of high priority as a lunar landing program, the N-1 mega booster was cancelled by decree of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1974.

Image
SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System first stage; 42 engines of SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System's first stage.

SpaceX’s Modern Incarnation
SpaceX recently announced an audacious plan to send a crew of 100 humans to Mars to start a colony, and the rocket to launch this massive mission bears some striking similarities to the N-1. Namely in the number of engines powering its first stage. SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System — exactly what the N-1 started life as — has 42 engines in its first stage. The core is seven gimbaling engines surrounded by a ring of 14 fixed engines in the middle then another 21 fixed engines in the outer ring. It’s obviously not exactly the same. The inner engines gimbaling is something the N-1 couldn't do, and this rocket is designed to carry far more mass into low Earth orbit -- 606 tons compared to the N-1's 95 tons or the Saturn V's 130 tons. And there is something to be said for the redundancy of so many engines. With 42, the rocket could stand to lose one or possibly two without having the lost thrust badly affect its launch; the others could fire longer to compensate.

But a lesson learned from the N-1 comes to mind: with 42 engines there are 42 complex systems in which one small mishap can break down the entire stage. SpaceX obviously won't be using the antiquated Soviet KORD system to manage feedback from all its engines. So we can only hope, especially the 100 volunteers for the first mission! -- that it comes up with a far more successful way of managing the data from that many engines firing at the same time. Because 42 engines is a lot of places for something to go wrong enough to take down a rocket.

Sources: SpaceX; "The Soviet Space Race With Apollo" by Asif Siddiqi; NASA; "Russia in Space" by Anatoly Zak; Russian Space Web.

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 13 Oct 2016 09:26

How the first private landing on the moon could move humanity forward
A conversation with the founder of moon express

by Cliff Ransom Popsci.com August 3, 2016

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Naveen Jain co-founded Moon Express, where he is currently Chairman of Moon Express

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Robert D. Richards is co-founder and CEO of Moon Express

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Barney Pell is Vice Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Moon Express.

Since 1966, only three nations have landed spacecraft intact on the Moon. Today, a small Florida company announced that it has gotten official permission to join that exclusive club. Since its founding in 2010, Moon Express, which will work in partnership with NASA out of the Kennedy Space Center, has always aimed to put a lander on the moon. It is one of the leading contenders for the Google Lunar X-Prize, a $30 million dollar challenge to land a craft on the moon, travel 1,640 feet, and transmit back high-definition photos and video. Among the many obvious challenges the company faces, the regulatory hurdle weighed heavily. Because no private space company had ever asked to leave Earth’s orbit, no regulatory or legal pathway existed.The company plans to launch toward the end of next year. It has already booked passage on an experimental rocket produced by the New Zealand-company Rocket Labs. Moon Express will need to move quickly to make that deadline. Though the company has developed and tested a large prototype lander, it needs to produce a much smaller, mission-ready one. The payloads are still being worked out, as is the software to land the rover on the moon’s surface. Finally, Rocket Labs needs to prove its battery-powered rocket design viable; that company has its first launch tests slated for the second half of this year.

Popular Science sat down with Naveen Jain, one of three co-founders of Moon Express. Jain, an already successful tech entrepreneur with roots in Silicon Valley and the Pacific Northwest, shared his vision for Moon Express now and in the future, along with his greatest hope: that putting a lander on the Moon would inspire other entrepreneurs to reach extraordinary heights, in space or otherwise.

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Moon Express MX-1 Lander

Why start a company that aims to do something only a few nations, over the span of 50 years or more, have ever attempted?
To rephrase John F. Kennedy, we chose to the go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is profitable. We see this as a first step in providing humanity with a plan B, rather than living on a single point of failure called Spaceship Earth.

Those are all worthy goals, but what made you do this now as opposed to 15 years ago?
We saw the convergence of many technologies. While sensors were becoming smaller and more powerful, their prices were also coming down quickly. We started to see artificial intelligence and machine learning coming along, which makes the development of autonomous systems much easier. We also saw rocket technology developing quickly. You put those things together and a mission that would have cost NASA billions of dollars a few years ago can now be done for under $10 million. That changes the business prospects dramatically.

What business are you actually talking about?
In the last 10 years, we learned that the moon holds tremendous resources: platinum-grade materials, helium-3, that kind of stuff. Some of the estimates put that value at $16 quadrillion. On top of that, there’s an abundance of water. Because water can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, it is the fuel for space exploration.

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All founders in the background of moon (pic)

What makes your plan for eventual mineral extraction different than, say, planetary resources, which aims to capture and mine asteroids?
With the naked eye, we see the moon is covered in craters. Those are from asteroids. The moon is, essentially, an aggregator of asteroids. So as opposed to mining an individual asteroid, why wouldn’t you just go somewhere that’s been aggregating many asteroids for billions of years?

If you do find valuable minerals, how would you actually get them back to earth?
Coming back is actually the easy part. We use the Earth’s gravity and drop something into the Pacific Ocean with a beacon. This is how we returned Apollo. I think, now, we have much better technology. We are able to come down like a space shuttle.

How does getting this approval help further your goals?
When people think of Space X, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin—they think private space has already been done. What they don’t realize is that no company has ever left Earth’s orbit. In fact, only three superpowers have landed a craft on any foreign body. [Others have crash-landed. -PS] They were the U.S., Russia, and to some extent China, even though it was a pretty hard landing. Still, let’s give it to them. If we succeed, not only will we become the first private company to land on the moon but the fourth superpower. If a small group of entrepreneurs can do something that only had been done by superpowers, that’s a huge shift in what’s possible.

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Artist's concept of Moon Express' MX-1 lunar lander headed toward the moon.

What more do you need to do to get ready?
We have a larger lander that we demonstrated at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. We have tested the software. And then tested it all together last year in September. Now we are essentially building the same thing but a miniaturized version. We’re testing the navigation and the propulsion system—we’re using hydrogen peroxide as our propellant.
Humans need a Plan B.

And what about rocket labs? Does it concern you that they have not yet launch-tested their rocket?
Even though Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy has not yet flown, a lot of people in private space are planning on using it. I see this the same way. Rocket Labs has a great rocket, and they have several test missions planned between now and the end of the year, and the first half of next year. If it doesn’t work, we’re rocket-independent. We could use SpaceX, Paul Allen’s company, or Launcher One from Virgin Galactic. We could use Blue Origin rockets, or rockets from Russia or India or China. It’s all a commodity.

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Artist's concept of Moon Express' MX-1 lunar lander orbiting the moon.

What is your flight plan?
We will strap two landers together on a rocket to low Earth orbit. Once there, one of the landers will act as a booster sending the other one toward the moon. On the final approach, the one lander will use its thrusters and autonomous software to land. Since there’s a 3-second delay between the moon and Earth, we can’t guide the landing remotely.

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Artist's concept of Moon Express' MX-1 lander taking a "selfie" photo on the moon.

What payloads will you bring?
One is a telescope that we’re building. People will be able to control the telescope over the Internet, take a picture, and download. We have also announced that we’re going to be taking ashes and making people astronauts after they die. NASA will be our customer in terms of scientific payloads. I believe we are talking about taking a biospheric plant to grow on the moon.

You’ve said that humans need to be a multi-planet species. Why?
Just look at the dinosaurs. They didn’t have a space program and see where that got them? Humans need a Plan B. That could be inflatable habitats in space or on the Moon. We believe the lava tubes on the Moon and Mars would be great habitats. They have significant protection from radiation. We could start thinking about adapting ourselves to new environments using new genetic engineering techniques like CRISPR. For example, we’ve known about bacteria that thrive in radioactive waste. What if we could add those capabilities to the human genome? We know our bodies begin to adapt to the conditions in space days after we arrive. We could speed this process along with genetic engineering.

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Moon Express team with MX-1 Lander, joined by moonwalker Buzz Aldrin

Elon musk has said that he plans to bring people to mars by 2024. Do you believe him?
When it comes to going to Mars, even NASA is coming to the conclusion that the best way to learn to live on Mars is to live on the Moon first. The ESA has already announced they want to make a lunar colony. It’s much better to learn to live off the planet when you’re only a few days away rather than months on Mars. He might do that. But we’re going to need to go the Moon first. That’s our stepping stone, and the beginning of our lives in space.

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 13 Oct 2016 23:46

Face of the moon to change completely – in 81,000 years' time
by Agence France-Presse in Paris, TheGuardian 13 October 2016 01.22 BST

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The moon … but for how long? Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The moon is bombarded by so much space rock that its surface gets a complete facelift every 81,000 years, according to a study of Nasa data. This churn – affecting the top 2cm (nearly an inch) of mostly loose moon dust – happens 100 times more frequently than previously thought, scientists have reported. The study also estimates that asteroids and comets crashing into the moon create on average 180 new craters at least 10 metres (33ft) in diameter every year. The findings, published in Nature, come from “before and after” pictures taken by Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which has been mapping the moon since 2009.

By comparing images of the same area at regular intervals, a team of scientists led by Emerson Speyerer from Arizona State University in Tempe was able to tally the number of new craters and extrapolate to the entire surface of the moon. “We detected 222 new impact craters and found 33% more craters with a diameter of at least 10m than predicted” by earlier models, the researchers concluded.

The scientists also found thousands of subtler disturbances on the surface, which they described as “scars” from smaller secondary impacts that – over thousands of years – churned up the top layer of the moon without creating craters. Earth is also constantly pelted by asteroids and meteors but is protected by a thick atmosphere. More than 100 tonnes of dust and sand-sized particles rain down on the planet every day. But even those up to 25m across (80ft) usually explode and disintegrate in the upper layers of our atmosphere, causing little or no damage, according to Nasa.

The moon has next to no atmosphere – only contains about 100 molecules of gases and elements per cubic centimetre. Earth’s atmosphere at sea level, by contrast, has about 100 billion billion molecules per cubic centimetre.

Website: https://www.theguardian.com/science/201 ... years-time

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 14 Oct 2016 10:11

Moon Craters Appearing Faster Than Thought
Could falling space rocks imperil future moon missions?
Image

New craters are forming on the surface of the moon more frequently than scientists had predicted, a new study has found. The discovery raises concerns about future moon missions, which may face an increased risk of being hit by falling space rocks. The moon is dotted with a vast number of craters, some billions of years old. Because the moon has no atmosphere, falling space rocks don't burn up like they do on Earth, which leaves the moon's surface vulnerable to a constant stream of cosmic impacts that gradually churn the top layer of material on its surface. You can see a before-and-after video of a new moon crater here.

Previous studies of lunar craters shed light on how they formed and on the past rate of cratering, which in turn yielded insights on the age of various features of the moon's surface. However, less was known about the contemporary rate of lunar crater formation, which could give insight on the risk of bombardment that any missions to the moon might face. To find out more about the present lunar crater formation rate, a group of scientists analyzed more than 14,000 pairs of before-and-after images of the moon's surface, taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). These images covered 6.6 percent of the lunar surface — about 960,000 square miles (2.49 million square kilometers) — and could reveal when a spot was crater-free and when it later had a crater. The time gaps between observations spanned between 176 and 1,241 Earth days.

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A 39-foot (12 meter) diameter impact crater formed between Oct. 25, 2012, and April 21, 2013, and was discovered in a before-and-after image created from two Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) images. The image covers an area 1,200 m wide. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State Univ.

"When looking at just a single image, many of the newly formed features are indistinguishable from their surroundings," said study lead author Emerson Speyerer, a planetary scientist at the Arizona State University at Tempe. "It's only with these detailed comparisons with previous images that we can separate out these small surface changes. The researchers discovered 222 craters on the moon that appeared on the surface after the first LRO images were taken — that is 33 percent more than predicted by current models. These were at least 32 feet (10 meters) across, and ranged up to about 140 feet (43 m) wide.

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The top image shows a low-reflectance splotch, while the bottom image shows a high-reflectance splotch that was created by a small impactor or secondary ejecta from a larger impact. In either case, the top few centimeters of the regolith (soil) was churned. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State Univ.

The scientists also found broad zones around these new craters that they interpreted as the remains of jets of debris following impacts. They estimated this secondary cratering process is churning the top 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) of lunar dirt, or regolith, across the entire lunar surface more than 100 times faster than thought. "I'm excited by the fact that we can see the regolith evolve and churn — a process that was believed to take hundreds of thousands to millions of years to occur — in images acquired over the past several years," Speyerer told Space.com.

These new findings also suggest that a number of young features on the moon's surface, such as recent volcanic deposits, "may in fact be even a bit younger than previously thought," Speyerer said. Although the odds of something on the lunar surface suffering a direct hit by asteroidal or cometary debris is very small, Speyerer noted these new findings illustrate the potential dangers posed by the rocks kicked up by these impacts.

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A colourised topography of the moon's surface. By comparing images of the same area at regular intervals, a team of scientists led by Emerson Speyerer from Arizona State University in Tempe were able to tally the number of new craters and extrapolate to the entire surface of the moon

"For example, we found an 18-meter (59-foot) impact crater that formed on March 17, 2013, and it produced over 250 secondary impacts, some of which were at least 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away," Speyerer said. "Future lunar bases and surface assets will have to be designed to withstand up to 500 meter per second (1,120 mph) impacts of small particles." Speyerer said that NASA recently approved a two-year extended mission for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that can help collect more before-and-after images of the lunar surface. "As the mission continues, the odds increase of finding larger impacts that occur more infrequently on the moon," Speyerer said. "Such discoveries will enable us to further refine the impact rate and investigate the most important process that shapes planetary bodies across the solar system."

The scientists detailed their findings online in Oct. 12 issue of the journal Nature.

Website: http://www.seeker.com/new-moon-craters- ... 93420.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 14 Oct 2016 22:13

Tiny craters, big impact: The moon's surface may be more dynamic than once thought
by Amina Khan, latimes.com October 12, 2016

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This image of the moon's north polar region was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC. A new study based on LROC images says the moon has 33% more craters than scientists had expected. (NASA)

If every scar has a story, the moon has quite the tale to tell. Scientists using cameras onboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have found 222 new craters — and discovered striking blast patterns caused by the shrapnel flung out from such violent impacts. The findings, described in the journal Nature, could help researchers better pinpoint the ages of younger surfaces on the rocky satellite — and hint that the moon is a much more active world than it may seem.

“It’s really showing that the moon is a really dynamic place,” said study lead author Emerson Speyerer, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University. The moon may not be as intriguing as Mars or mysterious as Jupiter’s moon Europa, but it has played a key role in our understanding of the age of rocky worlds like Earth. That’s because scientists have studied the rate of crater formation on the moon to help estimate the ages of other rocky bodies that, for the most part, we cannot easily sample.

And yet, while the moon’s ancient rate of cratering is pretty well understood, there’s surprisingly little known about the contemporary rate, Speyerer said. That’s because, as you try to age-date younger and younger surfaces (around the 50-million-year mark), you have to use smaller and smaller craters — and the rates for those tiny pockmarks are not well known.

Image
Floor and eastern wall of Antoniadi crater, on the moon. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

Previous work had compared images from the Apollo missions in the 1970s to images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in the 2009, in order to look for craters that had formed in the intervening decades. It was painstaking work, done manually, and the researchers found just five new craters in 44 image pairs. For those scientists, “it was really difficult to go through and actually do that comparison,” Speyerer said.

For this study, he and his colleagues streamlined that process by designing a computer program to help compare 14,092 before-and-after snapshots of random spots that altogether covered about 6.6% of the lunar surface. “It can take up to eight hours to manually go through an image but with our automatic routine, we can analyze a temporal pair image in about two to three minutes,” he said. “So we’re really cutting down on that time and allowing us to further investigate all of these changes we’ve been finding.”

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This before and after image of a 40-foot-wide crater shows the starburst pattern of debris ejected from the impact. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

The analysis turned up 222 new craters that appeared on the “after” images, but not the “before” snapshots, 16 of which were 10 meters in diameter or larger. That’s 33% higher than the current model, which puts the formation rate of such larger craters at just 12 per year. By comparing the pairs of images (typically taken a year or six months apart), the researchers also discovered distinctive blast patterns caused by molten and vaporized rock jetting outward from the initial impact. “That’s actually disturbing the surface hundreds and hundreds of crater diameters away from the impact site,” Speyerer said, “and that was something that was previously not really known.”

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Oblique view of the moon's Tycho crater looking from east to west. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

They also found that more than 47,000 changes in the moon’s surface reflectance (dubbed “splotches” in the paper), many of which are clustered around new impact sites — and many of which lie very far from the crater that probably caused them. The scientists think that these splotches are caused by the surface regolith (or soil) getting churned up by debris flung out from the original crater impact. “The impressive population of splotches compared to the number of new craters (47,000 versus about 220) stresses the importance of secondary impact processes on the lunar surface,” the authors pointed out in the study.

Based on these processes, the researchers estimate that the moon’s top two centimeters of regolith gets fully churned every 81,000 years or so — which is more than 100 times faster than previous estimates based on meteoritic impacts (roughly once every 10 million years). “Geologically, that’s pretty fast,” Speyerer said. These adjustments could make a big difference when trying to date relatively young surfaces on the moon, he added. If the impact rate is higher than previously thought, then those ages of these areas might actually be even younger than estimated, Speyerer said. This could inform any future plans to send humans back to the moon.

“This is also important if we’re going to put a long term habitat on the moon, a lunar base or something like that,” he said. “The odds of having a direct hit from a meteor or asteroidal material would be relatively small. However, if one occurred 30, 40 kilometers away, you might be getting a lot of these secondaries that are going to be coming over, hitting your lunar base and also messing up the regolith around you.” Speyerer said he and his colleagues plan to keep scanning the surface to accumulate even more of these before-and-after image pairs. The more they analyze, the better they’ll understand the moon’s impact rate.

Website: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencen ... story.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 15 Oct 2016 08:05

To Get to Mars, Head for the Moon
by Greg Flakus, Voanews.com October 14, 2016

HOUSTON — Since the last mission to the moon, half a century ago, space enthusiasts have been talking about a trip to Mars. President Barack Obama this week reiterated the call for a U.S. mission to Mars that he first proposed in April 2010. He called for a partnership with private sector companies to develop the means to send humans to and from Mars by the 2030s.

But a mission to Mars is fraught with challenges. A major problem is radiation. Earth is protected from cosmic rays by its magnetic field, but astronauts on a mission that would take many months could suffer major health problems en route as their vehicle is bombarded by radiation. Another problem is political. Critics in the U.S. Congress want to know why the country should spend billions of dollars to go to Mars if there is no practical reason to do so. Private companies may find some commercial value in a Mars adventure, but skeptics question whether they can achieve their plans without massive funding from the government.

Still another hurdle is the time scale, according to Paul Spudis at the Houston-based Lunar and Planetary Institute. “Any program where the payoff is 20 to 30 years in the future is, effectively, a dead issue in Congress, he told VOA, “because they do not deal in timescales like that. They deal in timescales from two to 10 years.” All of these problems with Mars are why some space experts are returning to the idea of using the moon as a first step in accomplishing a long-range plan to get to the red planet.

Image
Paul Spudis with a moon mural at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. (G. Flakus/VOA)

Fly me to the moon
During the administration of President George W. Bush, experts developed a plan to return to the moon to test equipment for a Mars mission. But that plan was later scrapped in favor of a long-term project to go directly to Mars, even though it might take 20 or 30 years to accomplish. In his recently published book, “The Value of the Moon, How to Explore, Live, and Prosper in Space Using the Moon’s Resources,” Spudis makes the case for a moon base, partly because it is relatively close by and is in continual orbit of earth. “Effectively, you can get to the moon in a minimal amount of time,” he said, “it is only three days to the moon and three days back.” What’s more, he argues, previous NASA missions have shown that the moon has useful resources, like frozen water at its poles.

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Earth's horizon and the International Space Station's solar panel array, Aug. 2008.

“So, I have energy. I have materials. I can live on the moon. I can make rocket propellant,” he said. The rocket fuel would come from using electricity from a large array of solar cells to break apart the two elements that make up water. “By taking the hydrogen and oxygen from cracking the water and disassociating with electricity and then freezing those gases into liquids that is the most powerful chemical propellant we know of,” Spudis said.

Pros and cons
At a recent gathering of scientists and space enthusiasts at Rice University for the “Lost in Space 2016” conference, there was a lot of support for returning to the moon from people like former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao. “We can train crews,” he said. “We don’t necessarily want the first crew on Mars to be rookies. We can train crews on the Moon.”

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Leroy Chiao, a former NASA astronaut. (G. Flakus/VOA)

But Michael Lembeck, Board Chairman of U.S. Space, LLC, favors using the moon as a staging base and questions using it as a refueling station for a Mars rocket. “If we talk about actually making the trip to Mars on chemical propulsion that could be a dead end. We need high-speed transportation,” he said.

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Michael Lembeck, President of CEPStone, LLC. (G. Flakus/VOA)

But Paul Spudis argues that chemical fuel is well-tested and available. “The fundamental problem with a lot of the advanced propulsion systems, for example, the plasma rockets and nuclear thermal propulsion, is that they require technology that we do not have.”

Lunar demo
Spudis proposes a plan that would use robots to do much of the preliminary work on the moon, starting with tests of the polar water resource. “The next step, he said, “is to actually land a demonstration experiment, where you show that you can dig up the ice. You can extract it and store it as water. Once that is done, we will have effectively demonstrated all the pieces we need to show that we can go back to the moon to stay.”

But to carry out such a plan either the United States, another country with a space program or a private company would have to commit to the project with a lot of money. One use of the moon that might prove valuable in the nearer term, according to Spudis is using a base on the moon to place and maintain satellites in orbit in “cislunar” space, that is, the space between the earth and the moon. He said this could lead to big distributed communication systems that would be far better than anything that exists today. Given the importance satellites for modern life on earth, such use of the moon might prove very cost effective.

Website: http://www.voanews.com/a/to-get-to-mars ... 50319.html

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 15 Oct 2016 21:59

Russian space agency begins moon landing simulations
by rt.com September 20 2016

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Russian space agency Roscosmos and top spacecraft manufacturer RSC Energia have begun simulating a manned landing on the moon, using a unique gravity imitation platform. The researchers used Selen, a unique platform simulating the moon’s gravity, built by RSC Energia in the early 1970s. The experiments, performed by Mark Serov of Roscosmos’ test flight department and Energia’s cosmonaut instructor Alexander Kaleri, focused on the cosmonaut’s ability to get in and out of the rover as well as walking on the lunar surface.

According to the official site of Roscosmos, experts from RSC Energia are also working on an upgraded spacesuit which would allow easier walking on the moon, as well as the ability to get up unaided should the wearer fall down. “We conduct these experiments in order to see if there’s anything we can recommend to the system developers in terms of streamlining work on the moon,” said Alexander Poleshuk, deputy-head of RSC Energia’s research and development division.

“After all, walking on the moon in a spacesuit is not easy – rovers or special forms of transport are needed, and you need to be able to get into them and sit in a comfortable position, then find space to fit all your equipment. In order to get all of this right, practice is needed.” The outcome of the experiments will be useful for planning the next phases of the lunar program. After getting a clear view of the big picture, experts will move on to logistics and streamlining before starting on designs for permanent lunar bases, rovers, runway facilities, and other important aspects of the mission.

In May, Roscosmos declared its intention to start launching annual or bi-annual manned missions to the moon between 2025 and 2045, while Energia has unveiled plans for a spacecraft that will be able to transport people and supplies between the moon and the International Space Station (ISS). Earlier, it was reported that the United States gave permission to a private company to send their own expedition to the Moon. NASA and Energia have also discussed the possibility of a joint project to build a space station orbiting the Moon.

Website: https://www.rt.com/politics/359911-moon ... on-russia/

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby udy » 15 Oct 2016 22:31

From todays Times epaper (15th october,2016)
India's first private lunar mission in '17

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 15 Oct 2016 22:36

ISRO plans to set up telescope on the moon
by Express News Service, October 15, 2016

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ISRO Chairman Dr A S Kiran Kumar during the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial lecture at IIT Madras on Friday. | EPS

CHENNAI: Taking India’s space astronomy research a step forward, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to set up a telescope on moon. “As a follow-on mission to Astrosat, discussions are in progress with an international body regarding setting up of a telescope on moon,” said ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of delivering the second Dr APJ Abdul Kalam memorial lecture at IIT Madras, he said that this telescope can have lot of advantages as there were no atmosphere or atmospheric effects associated with it.

At present, the organisation is exploring various possibilities of operating this scientific observation capability analogous to the one in Handley in West Virginia, US, remotely controlled at Bengaluru. In September last, ISRO launched Astrosat, the country’s first astronomical satellites with two telescopes. Throwing more light on the GSLV Mark III, Kiran Kumar said the agency was gearing up for its launch later this year so that four-tonne satellites can be put up on the orbit. GSLV-Mark II had the capacity to launch 2.25 tons of satellites.

Image

Answering students’ questions on Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) and cost associated with it, he said the technology was definitely needed irrespective of the cost effectiveness, as it has the capability to carry objects into space, allow it to complete its orbital action and bring it back. “We are currently working on the developing this capability.” Addressing the gathering, he said that private operators like SpaceX were posing a great challenge to government space agencies globally and ISRO realised that it can’t survive despite significant achievements unless it continued to innovate.

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Re: Google Lunar XPRIZE and Space 2.0 Discussion

Postby bharats » 15 Oct 2016 22:38

Why Didn't Russia Ever Make It to the Moon?
by Avery Thompson, Popularmechanics.com August 24, 2016

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It's a basic fact of history that on July 20, 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on another celestial body, making history and defeating the Soviets in the space race. The Soviets, of course, never made it to the moon at all. But why is that? After all, for most of the space race the Soviets were in the lead. They were the first to put a satellite into orbit, the first to send a man into space, and the first to send a spacecraft around the moon, taking pictures of the far side. Surely, even if they ultimately didn't win the race, they were close to the finish line. So what happened?

This new video from Curious Droid explains. Essentially, the answer is a combination of political intrigue, poor infrastructure, and unstable technology. Take a look:

A new video delves into the history of the Soviet space program and all the reasons it was never able to put a person on the moon.

The Soviet political structure was one of constant infighting and backstabbing, and the Soviets were often their own worst enemy. Even as they were racing against the U.S., they were also racing against each other. Different research groups were simultaneously developing competing rocket designs instead of working together. At one point there were thirty different designs, all vying for the Kremlin's approval. Ultimately, the job went to Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, a rocket expert who oversaw both the Sputnik launch as well as Yuri Gagarin's spaceflight. His job was to build a rocket powerful enough to bring astronauts to the moon.

However, he ran into a problem. While the U.S. had the infrastructure to build the massive F1 engines used on the Saturn V rockets, the Soviets did not. They were forced to build smaller engines for their N1 rocket, which ultimately used thirty engines arranged in a circle.

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The Soviet N1 Rocket needed thirty engines to provide thrust.

These smaller engines had to use a closed-cycle system, or staged combustion, which produced more thrust at a greater risk of overheating. NASA was able to use the more reliable, but less powerful, open-cycle system on the Saturn V. While the Soviets did eventually build their N1 rocket and launch four test flights, every single flight failed and the rockets were destroyed. After those failed launches, the entire program was scrapped due to cost concerns. The Soviets never made it out of the atmosphere.

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The fourth and final N1 launch ended with an explosion in the atmosphere. The program was cancelled shortly after.

Years later, the U.S. acquired several of these closed-cycle engines, and it was discovered that the Soviets had advanced the technology further than anyone thought possible. They had managed to solve the instability problem, producing the most powerful and fuel efficient engine of that size in the world. The technology they developed was later incorporated into the scaled-up RD-180 engine, which powers the Atlas V rocket to this day.

Source: Curious Droid

Website: http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/r ... -the-moon/


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