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#26 2007-01-29 09:01:32

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Lunar economics etc

It seems so obvious what the Moon has to offer: LO2 and in virtually unlimited quantities!

All the rest is for the far future unless a propulsion breakthrough happens.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#27 2007-01-29 18:00:41

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

Once we have cheap launch, there will really be no contest!

Cheap launches won't get cheap until we work on the problem from both ends.  You may develop either a space elevator (not so likely for near future you blatantly screaming about) or a commercial vehicle (which sadly is almost questionable) but you'll still be hauling material from Earth.

An O'Neil colony needs raw material in massive quantities, likely more than even a space elevator could handle over a few years.  If there's one thing you can do on the Moon in the short term is smelt some metal and put it into orbit.

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#28 2007-01-29 18:09:28

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

And I very much agree that the moon won't have a permanent population for a very long time.

Neither do miners live forever underground nor metal workers in a factory. 

The key question is the effect of 1/6 gee on health, especially on pregnancy and children...We also don't know that people can adjust to living permanently in underground facilities with only occasional excursions outside.

The Mall of America seems to be doing alright.  You'd be suprised how acclimated humans can get to secluded spaces...just ask Dilbert in the average overworked office.

Mars is different in this respect...

I suggest creating a Mars Outpost forum and pointing out its merits there.  It has been talked about enough here.  I'll be happy to make my Martian suggestions there myself but here let's focus on what can be done with the Moon regardless of ambitions toward Mars.

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#29 2007-01-29 19:50:40

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

Shopping mall? Thats crazy. People living on the Moon won't have much private space or need for luxury wares to begin with, even if you did have the elements available to make them with. Again, people aren't even going to stay on the Moon more than a year, and mass to/from the Moon will be at a premium too.

The Moon is an oil derrick. Oil derricks don't have shopping malls. Adding pressurized square footage to a Lunar mining camp will minimize frivolities.

"Office workers" also have the ability to go outside now and then and home to, by Lunar standards, is a huge mansion. The comparison isn't valid. It is a clear, obvious, proven fact that people don't cope well psychologically with extremely long periods of confinement.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#30 2007-01-29 20:15:30

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

The Moon is an oil derrick. Oil derricks don't have shopping malls. Adding pressurized square footage to a Lunar mining camp will minimize frivolities.

It isn't an oil derrick it's a mine - get your annalogies right.

Second, you'd be suprised how many mining towns turned into cities even after the gold rush died away.

You seem derogatory of a Lunar Outpost.  We need to establish something and since space stations have proven to be a bust the Moon is the next logical step, and don't even argue there with six months exposure to raw radiation en route to Mars and nuclear propulsion another bust for the time being; AND Martian soil also has yet to be tested for toxicity to human tissue whereas we know the condition of Lunar soil.

Weigh this: NASA didn't chose the Moon over Mars idly, and Bush had nothing to do with it either - he was talked into it and given his intelligence he would have just as easily supported the ISS had not space enthusiasts rushed to him before bureacrats after Columbia.  The Moon is close enough to offer something whether you see it or not.  Mars will still take another full decade to be capable of reaching.

In short, in defense of Luna, squawk in protest enough about Luna and Mars gets smacked down too.  If you use the argument of "Why the Moon?" the same politicians you convince will then turn to your Mars ambitions and blink apathetically saying "Why Mars?"  I count my blessings and I look further along.

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#31 2007-01-29 20:19:59

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

Shopping mall? Thats crazy.

"Office workers" also have the ability to go outside now and then and home to, by Lunar standards, is a huge mansion. The comparison isn't valid. It is a clear, obvious, proven fact that people don't cope well psychologically with extremely long periods of confinement.

Given lunar gravity is 1/6th of Earth once you get even basic construction down you can build mansion-sized structures and even domes that'd make the Astrodome look like a lobster pot.

No doubt you won't hesitate to bring up the advantages of Martian gravity and its applications to launches and building structures...

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#32 2007-01-29 20:42:48

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

Shopping mall? Thats crazy.

"Office workers" also have the ability to go outside now and then and home to, by Lunar standards, is a huge mansion. The comparison isn't valid. It is a clear, obvious, proven fact that people don't cope well psychologically with extremely long periods of confinement.

Given lunar gravity is 1/6th of Earth once you get even basic construction down you can build mansion-sized structures and even domes that'd make the Astrodome look like a lobster pot.

No doubt you won't hesitate to bring up the advantages of Martian gravity and its applications to launches and building structures...

Except for that niggly business about being under pressure, radiation, and meteors. And the terrific cost of all that unnecessary construction for people that won't be there long anyway. Burying huge structures is a different matter entirely too.

I feel my "delusions of grandeur" senses tingling


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#33 2007-01-30 01:19:46

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

Except for that niggly business about being under pressure, radiation, and meteors. And the terrific cost of all that unnecessary construction for people that won't be there long anyway. Burying huge structures is a different matter entirely too.

I feel my "delusions of grandeur" senses tingling

No offense but I am defending a Lunar Outpost.  All you've done in this forum is point out the negative qualities; isn't there anything positive you have to contribute?

Any base on any body in the solar system will be under pressure - the Martian atmosphere exceeds the pressure lows of even Everest by magnitudes.  Mars' atmosphere is still a lousy radiation shield that will ALSO require burying underground.  The only body we could conveivable walk on without pressure is Titan and I doubt you'd enjoy wading in -200 or so Farenheit of methane.  You may as well argue against space exploration altogether if you bring up vaccum.

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#34 2007-01-30 01:25:23

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

I feel my "delusions of grandeur" senses tingling

...coming from the guy whose name was taken from a canceled nuclear propulsion project and who believes the space elevator is conceivable.  Suffice to say you're only sensing yourself, as much as I'd like to wish the elevator could be made real.

I will say your arguments are, usually, intelligent but if you haven't noticed most of us are aware of these facts and if we weren't optimisitc about space travel then this forum wouldn't exist would it?

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#35 2007-01-31 16:02:28

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: Lunar economics etc

Which industries? Come on, name some.

Main "driving" industries will include lunar residence (hotel, scientists), some support of Mars missions, and transport/maintenance/salvage of Earth satellites and other near-Earth traffic.  Support industries would include mining and purification of O2, aluminum, titanium, silicon, maybe water;  shipping O2 for use in space; cryotank production, wire extrusion and other simple metal forming; glass (sapphire?) production; solar collector and concentrating mirror production;  life support - air and food production and recycling; solar power collection and night-time power storage/production; repair and low-volume custom equipment production in support of other activities. 

Note that I'm *not* saying these will all spring up right away.  I'd guess it'll go slowly, and only really take off once we start heading to Mars, as government budgets for the moon are cut, and those who still want to go there look for ways to cut costs or bring in income to pay their way.

And actually we do make computer chips and ships in a handfull of places and ship them all over the world. But I digress, this analogy has long outlived relevance.

Yes, we ship them all over the world for pennies a pound - and that's why it's relevant to a context where it'll cost high hundreds of dollars a pound to ship products that cost only pennies a pound to make on Earth.  Even if the product costs 10x or 100x more to make on the moon, it'll be cheaper to make it on the moon.

Once alot of people live on the Moon? No no, see, there isn't ever going to be alot of people living long-term on the Moon. It will be such an awful place to live and with Earth being so close, nobody will bother "laying down roots," or industries that would accompany them.

First, I didn't say "lots", I said "some".  And given the costs and risks of transport to/from Earth - even with "cheap" launch, anyone going to the moon is going to stay quite a while, no matter that it's a relatively short trip.

The Moon is like an oil derrick, not a mining town. And which mining towns build their own mining machines?

  A better analogy would be to Gold-rush days, when one had to pay a lot to get there, and everything cost far more than back home because it had to be shipped in from the East coast.  In such a case, some will realize they can get rich providing goods and services to those who come there for other reasons.  And the cost differential for the moon will be many times that of the California Gold Rush.

I also reject the idea that any sort of complicated equipment will be less expensive to fashion on the Moon from native materials because of how hard it will be to make anything complex on the Moon. Someone on Earth could take the design, build it for far far less, and ship it to the Moon and easily beat the Lunar builder.

  And of course, I said nothing about "complicated' equipment.  The most sensible approach for lunar industries is to focus on making stuff that is needed locally, and masses quite a bit or is inherently bulky, but which is easy to produce.  I've already addressed why it'll make economic sense to things on the moon - even stuff that costs pennies a pound on earth.

Once we have cheap launch, there will really be no contest!

  If cheap isn't $10/pound (and it won't be),  there'll be huge incentives to make things out of local materials.

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#36 2007-01-31 17:24:07

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

Which industries? Come on, name some.

...transport/maintenance/salvage of Earth satellites and other near-Earth traffic.  Support industries would include mining and purification of O2, aluminum, titanium, silicon, maybe water;  shipping O2 for use in space; cryotank production, wire extrusion and other simple metal forming; glass (sapphire?) production; solar collector and concentrating mirror production;  life support - air and food production and recycling; solar power collection and night-time power storage/production; repair and low-volume custom equipment production in support of other activities.

That's what I'm talking about too!  And none of these are minor.

Note that I'm *not* saying these will all spring up right away.  I'd guess it'll go slowly, and only really take off once we start heading to Mars...

And while not nessicary for initial missions, it will prove to be handy to have a base capable of supplying oxygen needs and metals from an off-Earth site.

And actually we do make computer chips and ships in a handfull of places and ship them all over the world. But I digress, this analogy has long outlived relevance.

Yes, we ship them all over the world for pennies a pound - and that's why it's relevant to a context where it'll cost high hundreds of dollars a pound to ship products that cost only pennies a pound to make on Earth.  Even if the product costs 10x or 100x more to make on the moon, it'll be cheaper to make it on the moon.

Take THAT anti-moon-activists! *cough GCN cough*

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#37 2007-02-03 01:30:00

Martin_Tristar
Member
From: Earth, Region : Australia
Registered: 2004-12-07
Posts: 305

Re: Lunar economics etc

GCNRevenger,

Earth will have size limitations on satellites that could be designed and launched from its surface . The Moon will have a different set of sizes for sateliites due to the reduction of gravit and the limtation of drag because of no atomsphere. But the development of viable space industries including satellite manufacturing and other manufacturing processes for the expansion of space will come after the basic facilities of mining and space research come first.

The expansion of space for humanity is the lagest undertaking for humanity since the ability to communicate, and create society on this planet.  The moon will provide the research that we require for extended long term on planetary missions and the effects on the human body and mind. We need to extend human interactivity with droids / robotic systems to protect the humans in hostile environments including Mars.

I don't think you see the expansion into space and the opportunities for space enterprenuers and innovators, the development of space hardware will be the next change in the space economies that will focus on launch costs and the reduction of costs or the movement of personnel into space either to orbiting stations where they commute to orbital platforms or to moon for extended stays to proceed desired hardware.

I can see you are behind the thinking GCNRevenger, even OECD had a space ecomonics project to discuss the increase in private sector space infrastructure development and start looking at the resource boom that will come from the expansion into space. They also take about the changes of space treaties and laws to foster the development of business in space and also the rights including property rights in space.  So, wake-up GCNRevenger and stop being a can't person and think of being a can person from now on !!!!!!

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#38 2007-02-04 07:15:01

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

I am not trying to be negative, my glass is at 50% of capacity after all, but I do have a passion for being realistic. The more realistic we are in expectations, honest about problems, and generally more reasonable then the more people will listen. And isn't that the role of advocacy? Furthermore, ideas and plans as a rule always need refinement, and critique is the accepted way of doing this in science, so why should it be different here?

I am going to have to summarize the last few posts since I haven't kept up with this thread in a few days:

All these Lunar industries ticked off neglect one critical factor, which is where are all these materials going? Bulk low-performance materials aren't going to be worth anything until we're building O'Neill colonies or something in the far future. Virtually everything else, including launching Oxygen for in-space use, makes little sense either because it takes so much fuel to get to the Moon it really saves nothing versus cheap launch from Earth. The Moon probably also lacks Hydrogen in any quantity, precluding shipment of anything from the Moon without imported fuel to mix with the oxidizer.

And it does cost a lot more to extract. Oxygen production is going to be a high energy demand activity, something Earth has plenty of, but the Moon does not. Life support is also notable, how can it possibly be easier to make the required materials for life on the Moon than here? You don't even have Nitrogen, Hydrogen, nor probably Carbon on the Moon much less the right conditions for plant life.

I also say that even when we ARE on Mars, the Moon will still be little more than a science station. Its just so much easier to make and build and form here that the gravity penalty is trivial.

Yes, we ship them all over the world for pennies a pound - and that's why it's relevant to a context where it'll cost high hundreds of dollars a pound to ship products that cost only pennies a pound to make on Earth. Even if the product costs 10x or 100x more to make on the moon, it'll be cheaper to make it on the moon

This is a total fallacy, because the things that are imported from Earth for space ships/satellites/etc are simply not that heavy. If a pound of flash memory chips costs $100,000 and space launch costs $1000/lb, then thats only 1%. Even $10,000lbs is only 10%.

But on the Moon, the startup costs are unimaginable. I don't think its really sunk in with any of you what a task you are proposing. A microchip FAB unit on Earth costs approximately one billion dollars, have you any idea how much more expensive a Lunar one would be? And its the size of a truck shipping container too if memory serves, and thats not including the silicon ingot plant, which for arguments sake probably costs about half that for IC-grade silicon. You propose to save money by buying a... lets say... $10,000,000,000.00 chip factory $1000 at a time? And add another billion to get it from Earth to the Moon?

And chip fabrication requires a number of specialty chemicals, including large amounts of water and hydrogen fluoride, which will also need a complicated recycling system (how do you recycle HF? it eats almost anything) or likewise be imported from Earth. So you see, the Moon has no advantage for anything except bulk material and trace rare elements, and even that isn't worth much.

I hope this sinks in a little? The same thing is true of a great many items, which fall under the "complicated stuff" category (LSS units, power storage, nuclear reactors, ISRU turbopumps, etc)
___________________________________________________________

Gold rush? One more time, there is not going to be a "gold rush" on the Moon. There just isn't anything that valuable there. But I digress, again, manufacture on the Moon of smaller/lighter/high performance stuff still makes no sense. The difference between gold rush mining town suppliers making materials and Lunar industry is one of degree, of order of magnitude: it is simply far and away harder to make things on the Moon, it would still be much much easier and cheaper to import these items from the East.

No, no it won't. The cost differential will absolutely murder Lunar industries trying to make much of anything except solar panels and the odd parts from base materials.

And without these industries, why would people live on the Moon? Much of the mining for PGMs and LOX (for Lunar-Earth trips or landing Earth-Moon cargo from LMO) will be done by teleoperation, which can be done from Earth well enough. If manning a call center from India saves money here, imagine what it would do between Earth and the Moon?

I am also curious why you think people will be living on the Moon for long periods; why? The operation of even a small Lunar mining camp will require regular, small-to-medium cargo shipments to and from Earth by fully reusable vehicles. With these in place, it will simply be cheaper and safer to limit crew stays to months instead of years. How could it be otherwise?

Because there will never be much industry to speak of on the Moon, that it offers nothing "big" but bulk metal to cis-Lunar space that can't be provided from Earth more cheaply, the demand for "complicated" stuff on the Moon will always be small. The infrastructure cost to set up factories for these items will simply wipe out any concieveable savings, even if costs were $1000's per pound for launch.

The use of the "$10/lb" canard is a clear indication that you aren't seriously willing to entertain any possibility that what I say is true, which bodes ill for your credibility. You are completley hung up on "Earth gravity bad, Moon gravity good" dogma.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#39 2007-02-04 07:45:33

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

I shall have to be more succinct after lunch...:


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#40 2007-02-04 10:04:30

cjchandler
Member
From: canada
Registered: 2006-06-24
Posts: 138

Re: Lunar economics etc

I agree with GCNR. Building factories on the moon is not a good idea. The only reason to even consider the moon is because you can build a space elevator out of reasonable materials, but still, the lack of hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen is going to make it uneconomical to actually assemble anything there. Just get that AL, Si, and basalt off there and build whatever you're making in space. Then you can get you light elements from near earth objects and provide a full g of gravity for your workers.


Ad astra per aspera!

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#41 2007-02-04 13:11:17

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

To try and make everything "gel" together a little better:

(1, prerequisites) There can be no Moon operation of any kind beyond science without cheap launch from Earth. You can build it perhaps, but you cannot support it nor can you do anything with it. Fact.

This will be supplied by RLVs of some sort; they are possible, they are capable, they will come when we need them. A space elevator may or may not be possible, but neither is it necessary.

(2, factories) Everything the Moon has to offer for any purpose, short of materials needed to build an O'Neill space colony some time in the far future plus some trace rare elements, is available here on Earth. Not only available here on Earth, but available at mind-boggling-ly cheaper prices.

Why? Because building factories, greenhouses, etc etc on the Moon is excruciatingly difficult and hence expensive. And, factories being complicated things with special needs (often from elements not available on Luna), will need supplies or materials imported from Earth. Anything (anything) outside of bulk materials made from Al, Si, O or a little Ti/Fe/Ni will almost certainly need at least some importing of raw materials. These two factors combined totally wreck Lunar manufacturing.

And you say that these are not minor industries? I say that they are, because they will have no market. Additionally if they have no market, then ignoring the economies of scale of the finished product, consider the economies of scale of the materials needed for them: the demand for Aluminum, silicon oxide, titanium, etc is measured in the hundreds, thousand, or even millions of tonnes. Though you don't compete directly perhaps, unless you are digging up O'Neill colony sized quantities, you do compete. And you will lose, badly.

The extent of Lunar liquid oxygen production will be used exclusively for either mining (make Carbon Monoxide from Carbon for instance) or for making importation from Earth less expensive. It will not be used for anything else, because the Moon is the only place where it has much benefit. It would, again, be easier to just launch more on the RLV instead of digging/liquefying/shipping it. Remember, as flight rates increase with RLVs, the price per pound falls dramatically. Not $10 per pound, but the mid-to-low three digits probably.

Speaking of rocket fuel, the lack of plentiful & practical fuel on the Moon is a serious, serious blow to exporting anything beyond the occasional ingots or tanks of rare elements not available on Earth.

(3, domestic consumption) Because there is almost no need of anything from the Moon, there will be almost no need for anything on the Moon either. Economies of scale and no transportation cost from Earth simply cannot make any (repeat, any) real headway against the lower manufacture and relatively non-existent infrastructure cost of Earth. Maybe some base metals in simple shapes and low-quality solar panels, but thats about it.

Hydrogen, if it is available on the Moon in any economically extractable form, will be used exclusively on the Moon. Hydrogen to make water, hydrocarbons, and rocket fuel will be much too valuable and precious to export. If there is any, and right now it seems almost certain that it will be rare if it is there, I bet that much of it will be used up just supporting the operation set up to extract it.

(4, the satellite business) This business about "refurbishing satellites" is silly, the satellite business is weak now and even if it did become a hot item later, satellites simply last long enough that their components are obsolete approximately by the time they reach the end of their lives. And even then, if they aren't? I think its safe to say that it would cost at least 100 times more to build and deploy from the Moon than from the Earth by RLV. Yes, I am absolutely dead serious about the 100X price tag.

And one satellite is too small? You can afford to buy several of them at Earth prices. Not that this has nor will ever really be a problem with the advent of inflatable antennas (already flying on US SIGINT satellites) and collector-augmented solar arrays.

To wrap things up, the above is the reality of the future of the Moon. These things being true, it seems a certainty that humanity's presence on the Moon will be limited until such time as the Moon's raw materials become useful and economical. By the time this future project(s) come to pass, one has to wonder if robots and/or asteroid mining will be good enough to do much of the job anyway.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#42 2007-02-04 15:08:31

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

But on the Moon, the startup costs are unimaginable. I don't think its really sunk in with any of you what a task you are proposing.

Gold rush? One more time, there is not going to be a "gold rush" on the Moon.

Tell that to the Russians and Chinese, regardless of whether there's anything valulable there or if they're touting about for their 'futile' space agencies.

Optimists may be let down but just as often it is the pessemists that are blind-sided by the future.

Regardless of the costs involved, it is looking more and more like everyone is hell-bent on getting to the Moon.

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#43 2007-02-04 15:13:06

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

These things being true, it seems a certainty that humanity's presence on the Moon will be limited until such time as the Moon's raw materials become useful and economical. By the time this future project(s) come to pass, one has to wonder if robots and/or asteroid mining will be good enough to do much of the job anyway.

Sounds an aweful lot like the dogma that kept us limited to LEO and the STS...

If we can't handle the Moon what makes you think we can handle an asteroid, although I won't deny the negligible gravity would be useful but their unsteady rotations atrocious?

The Moon is pretty much a "space-for-retards'" guide.  Close proximity, no atmosphere to burden spacecraft descent, and still unexplored and underestimated.

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#44 2007-02-04 15:49:22

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

And Russia and China and India and all that are all planning to do far more than dig for PGMs and build telescopes? Maybe fly a few tourists?

Nothing of what I have listed in any way makes going and staying on the Moon bad or wrong. On the contrary, I think its a good idea. What I am against is unrealistic ideas of building towns for long-term residents, a large industrial base for domestic and export manufacture, and anything that makes the Moon resemble anything other than an oil derrick with some science on top... which it is.

My beliefs aren't dogmatic, I would be very happy to believe in the feasibility of a "big" presence on the Moon, but I firstly believe that the problems of the Moon are much greater than any possible savings gained. Whats dogmatic is thinking that "lower gravity always wins" etc etc, which just isn't true if the body with said lower gravity lacks the elements, conditions, infrastructure, and kinetic ease of transit of the higher gravity body with them.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#45 2007-02-04 16:13:58

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

Now, if you want to talk about industries, then talk Mars:

Mars has most everything that the Moon lacks, it has all four of the elements of life (CHON) in its atmosphere or on its surface in relative abundance save for Nitrogen. It has double the gravity of the Moon, and while the atmosphere is very thin it is thick enough for aerobraking, to block the majority of cosmic/solar radiation, and thick enough to provide substantial insulation/heat transfer (no -200F shadows behind boulders).

So, unless the gravity problem is a real killer, Mars has almost all the ingredients needed for human civilization. Mars is, unless the gravity is a killer, the next home for humans. And its also going to be the home of the first economy beyond the Earth.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#46 2007-02-04 16:29:11

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

I think that its entirely possible, once it is confirmed that humans have no trouble living, growing, and reproducing in Martian gravity, that there will be a nontrivial number of people willing to colonize the Red Frontier. That is, to go to Mars to live there indefinitely, because

  • -Someone has to be first, to open the way
    -Its not Earth, with its associated problems
    -A different way to live, that might appeal to many

Anyway, in this case, with a clear way forward where there will be more demand than can be economically filled from Earth, then Martian factories make sense.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#47 2007-02-04 18:49:31

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Lunar economics etc

Mars has the greater potential but it has a cost as well: extreme cold by Earthly standards and no quick returns back home.

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#48 2007-02-04 21:40:58

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Lunar economics etc

Mars is a tropical paradise thermally speaking compared to the Moon, and a dome with a little shielding will stop radiation well enough.

And people going to Mars to live there will probably be willing to risk a 4-8mo journey I bet.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#49 2007-02-07 01:31:13

Martin_Tristar
Member
From: Earth, Region : Australia
Registered: 2004-12-07
Posts: 305

Re: Lunar economics etc

GCNRevenger,

The long term benefits of a functioning lunar manufacturing base could effect the total long term development of space including the colonization of Mars and the outer planets within our solar system.

using the mining facilities as a base for operating on the Moon and then expanding it into a large manufacturing base for supplying components, resources processed for space based projects will reduce the overall long term costs for human expansion into space.

Yes, it will cost alot , but If you look at the short term goals that many people are looking at,  then humanity will stay doing "tourist / explorer miisions" to Mars, Jupiter's Moons and any other planet within our solar system for the next 100 years and that would be stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

I want to see a progressive development of the Moon as well the explorer missions to Mars to setup multiple outposts in the medium to long term activities on the planet with the use of the Moon as a low gravity construction facility using the deep lunar craters for larger vessels construction docks. We could build next generation unmanned reusable cargo transport vessels to move and dropship cargo to the landing sites on Mars expanding the facilities within human requirements.

We need long term space environment training and living facilities to train humans for a life outside earth and on low gravity planetary bodies. Using the moon will enhance the training capabilities. Thus expand the lunar population will provide eventually a local economy and an export base for creation of a market economy across the solar system.  We need to remember the creation of a country economy like america came from the development via the british colonization , then local growth ( organic growth) we need to develop the Moon and Mars using the same model from Earthlings moving to these locations and as the population grows expand to critical mass for organic growth to take place.

GCNRevenger, we need to encourage the development of the moon for the earth-moon sector for the expansion of the human race into our solar system and eventually beyond.

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#50 2007-02-07 01:45:05

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: Lunar economics etc

GNC - You keep spuriously adding to what I'm actually saying. 

- I say there'll be industrial activity on the moon - and suddenly you have me saying there'll be massive industrial plants churning out huge volumes of unnecessary product.   

- I describe producing products that are simple and relatively massive or bulky (hence more expensive to launch), and you argue that it doesn't make sense to make billion dollar semiconductor plants on the moon!  The most complex, highest-value-per-mass product humans make, and you confuse that with extracting elemental O2 and eventually making aluminum cryotanks?

As to it being impossible to use lunar oxygen and other resources, as fuel to reduce launch costs, maybe you should argue the point with the authors of this paper: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. … 114722.pdf

And this one might also be of interest: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. … 114722.pdf - So not only would it be possible to use lunar O2 for Mars, but it might not even require importing much H2 to the moon.

I'm sure even you are aware that by growing food, one can *recycle* elements brought up from Earth.  Assuming that for the first few years all food is brought up from Earth (at $1000 or more a pound), isn't it likely that there'll be a lot of "raw material" cached in pits or tanks, ready to be processed into rich soil?

And if you bothered reading what I wrote, you'd have noted that I did indicate in passing that the occupants of the moon would largely be scientists - but there'll also be a need for a variety of support and maintence workers, to keep things working, fix them when they break, and even make some things from scratch.  The earliest and simplest form of productive "industry" on the moon will likely be a small machine shop where they can turn stock metal (brought from Earth) into replacement parts - thereby avoiding the need to bring up multiple spares for everything.  And before you put more words in my mouth, note that I did not say that that was as big as lunar industries would ever get.

Then there's your mis-reading of my Gold-Rush comment.  The point was obviously not that the moon is full of valuable materials that'll send 2049'ers rushing to mine the moon - but rather that the economic situation on the moon will be analogous to conditions that existed during the California Gold Rush, resulting in it being worthwhile to produce things on the moon, rather than import them from Earth.

As to your mis-characterization of one of my comments as "the $10/lb canard" - it's obvious that my point was not that reuseable launch has to get that cheap to be useful - but rather that even if it were possible to get it that cheap, there'd still be advantages to producing some things on the moon. 

Please - TRY reading what is actually written, instead of just skimming for key words around which to build un-related objections.

PS - I find it particularly ironically amusing that you've apparently picked up on the position I took in a long-ago post suggesting that it would be practical to do most of lunar mining using robots remote directed by people on Earth - considering you were one who objected to the idea.  Hmm - oh, and just in case you want to mis-interpret this statement - note that I'm not saying I invented tele-robotics or the idea of tele-robotic space mining.

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