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NASA Sending Robots To Build Lunar Landing Pad

Moonbase1 NASA are looking at sending robots to build landing pads for rockets arriving at their 2020 Moonbase.  Possibly because someone said "I dare you to make having a goddamn moonbase even cooler!"

The project isn't just an awesome opening cinematic, though - the realities of living on the moon (and that's a sentence that brings joy to anyone alive at a time you can say it) mean it could be a key step to effective lunar life.  The low gravity and dusty nature of the moon are such that any conventional launch will blast a wide area with rocket-blasted grit and debris.  The "there isn't actually any air out there" issue requires supply shuttles to land relatively close to the crewed quarters to avoid all sorts of inconveniences.  The combination is a recipe for disaster.

Carnegie Mellon University and Astrobotics Incorporated propose two solutions, and the latter's incredibly obvious bias in favor of moon-robots shouldn't detract from the inherent awesomeness of MOON-ROBOTS.  In the first, a pair of you-know-whats move over a million kilos of moon to create a vast rock shield, to protect surrounding structures from the launch blast. In the second, a swarm of smaller robots gather larger moon stones to build a lunar landing pad free from projectable pieces.

In either case, humanity gets measurably more awesome.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Robots for the Lunar Outpost

Comments

the whole premise of this story is so off the mark that I can no longer be silent . People are working on way to build a space elevator ( tether ) on paper for the earth .I'm sure that all intelligent nations have realized that to put a tether on the moon you need little more than a fishing line depending on how big a car you want to run up and down the line. I you want to tether to some thing smaller you could use a fine wire.

I do not understand the comment above.
Tethered cables with the moon ??

Italians Space agency made a TRUE test with tethered cables....and satellites.
The force on the cable is so high that no cable would resist ....any deviation from a perfect synchronous orbit between the two bodies....and nothing is perfect in this universe.

There are still people around that think about tethered elevators ??? To the Moon ?? Why not from earth to Europa on Juppiter system ??

I agree with NASA ...a lot of preparation works is needed by expendable automated machines...before the humans can really go and establish a true long standing base.

Regards to NASA and to the tethered systems dreamers.


Not from earth to the moon. From a platform above the moon to the surface of the moon . I bet china will be the first to do it. The russian have been testing tethers in space for years already and it is helium3 that is the prize . It is pound for pound the most valuable element on earth . The moon has enough of it to power the whole planet for hundreds of thousands of years and that makes it imposable to not exploit . The race to the moon is on and the race is about money the same thing that drove the race to the new world. google helium3 and be amazed.

There are several grants within all (space enthused) nations.
I have read that Japan is in the "lead" ... However, keep in mind that it is still in its "mock" stages.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkdfuQdoW_Q

Nothing yet till 2010 and even then I wouldn't bet on it being the final plan.

Thanks ccc good to see another informed. Another thing about the story that is off base is that man shall have to return to being a cave dweller for awhile . As the surface of the moon is not a safe place for sparsely shelded men/women. cosmic rays etc. The picture is cute but unrealistic.

The space elevator will be a reality sooner than you think. People might not actually ride up the first one, though. Maybe a satellite load at a time. These small packages will be able to be launched so cheaply and quickly that within a few years of operation we will have sent more usable mass up it than all the mass, usable or not, to ever reach orbit in history, and at a fraction of the price. People can rocket up and put them together. It would be relatively easy to assemble a very massive space station and craft to get a large crew with ample supplies to Mars. If they think they can do it with nano-carbon files for launches from earth than a much smaller system would work for the moon.

The space elevator will be a reality sooner than you think. People might not actually ride up the first one, though. Maybe a satellite load at a time. These small packages will be able to be launched so cheaply and quickly that within a few years of operation we will have sent more usable mass up it than all the mass, usable or not, to ever reach orbit in history, and at a fraction of the price. People can rocket up and put them together. It would be relatively easy to assemble a very massive space station and craft to get a large crew with ample supplies to Mars. If they think they can do it with nano-carbon files for launches from earth than a much smaller system would work for the moon.

Wrenching the comments back to the actual article, it does seem like an excellent idea to use robots for the work. The robots will work steadily, consuming few resources and probably getting the job done at least as quickly as an on-site crew of humans might. The major selling point, I'm sure, right up there with "robots are expendable".

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