Are you stupid????
the moon is outside the protection of the magnetic field of earth, until we can duplicate that, we are at great risk of death being outside that protection. is everyone just plain stupid???
NASA has chosen the three companies it will fund to develop a nuclear fission reactor ready to test on the Moon by the end of the decade. This power plant is set to be a vital component of Artemis, the American space agency's most ambitious human spaceflight mission to date. This is a large-scale project to put the first woman …
"1/6 gravity is a perfect match to porous bones"
Unfortunately not. Those spending much time in the space station have found their bones weakened by the time they returned. It would seem that bone strength is maintained dynamically in some proportion to applied load.
The above link is to a YouTube video. It cites the following in its description:
A discussion of artificial magnetospheres, around a planet or habitat or at a Lagrange point.
The video notes (or at least the transcript does, I didn't actually watch video) that any infrastructure capable of forming an earthlike atmosphere on Mars in a thousand year timeframe would be more than capable of keeping up with the rate at which gas is lost from the atmosphere of Mars without a magnetosphere - by an order of magnitude or two. An interesting point. (But not vital to me right now, so I haven't checked the maths or read around it)
Well, it's a bit like this. Imagine you've got a swimming pool. You fill it up at the start of summer. Do you go "Oh no, it's drying out in the sun"? No. There will be a little bit of evaporation. You top it off. Compared to the amazing amount of maintenance a swimming pool requires, it doesn't even qualify as an annoyance.
Mars' hypothetical terraformed atmosphere is the same thing. If you've managed to have it in the first place, then topping it off is not a problem at all.
Loss of atmosphere isn't the only problem with no magnetosphere, there's also the problem of cosmic radiation and people. No magnetosphere, may as well only build enclosed, which should mean no atmosphereic worries. If you want to go outside every day, gonna need that shield.
Yup. That's exactly it. Everyone at NASA is stupid.
Having established that, I suppose you are wondering why nobody before you ever noticed that everyone at NASA is stupid.
The answer, obviously, is that everyone not at NASA is also stupid.
At this point, you're probably wondering how is it possible that stuff still gets successfully sent into space on a regular basis, given that space is hard and everyone is stupid.
I'd figure out an answer for you, but I'm also stupid, so you'll have to crack that on your own.
"At this point, you're probably wondering how is it possible that stuff still gets successfully sent into space on a regular basis, given that space is hard and everyone is stupid."
Please Sir, Please Sir, Me, Me, Me! It's because everyone at NASA is fewer stupid than the rest of us!!!
And the likelihood of that happening? Fission reactors on earth have been the cause of fewer deaths than any other form of power generation. The 3 million people a year who die from the consequences of fossil fuel power stations that don't attract media attention as there is no dramatic event? Did you know that if fossil fuel power stations were regulated to the same extent as nuclear power stations they would all be shut down overnight? The reason - the fuel they are burning contains traces of naturally occuring radioactive material and burning it chucks it up into the atmosphere. Radiation is part of life and is the reason we are alive on Earth.
My question is - what kind of fission reactor the are planning? It would seem to be unlikely to be a PWR. Could it possibly be a molten salt type developed and proven in the 1950/60s by Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a proof of concept for a nuclear powered bomber by Alvin Weinberg and his team? Unfortunately that project was canned when in-flight refuelling and ICBMs negated the need. Very unfortunate, as if that work had continued we would have cheaper and even safer fission power stations today. Atmospheric pressure, not 150 atmospheres and a potential bomb. Also, potential to burn Thorium rather than uranium, massively more abundant.
Don't forget all long-mission NASA spacecraft have always been nuclear powered, hence their longevity. Voyager, still flying 45 years after launch. Granted not fission powered, but non-the-less
The earth ignores fission power (particularly the newer variants, not the 50s era uranium power PWRs) at its peril. 24/365 continuous power and no emissions, and with newer reactors almost no radioactive waste. Fusion? As everyone says, it is always 30 years in the future. Fission is real and now.
For those interested in the history of how we got the fission reactors we have today, nuclear and space and what the future of fission COULD be the following video is a "must see". It's long, but fascinating. You should watch when you have time to devote to it
(Just wanted to see that name again!)
As I recall the report on the experiment, it didn't really prove that stuff could grow on moon-dust/regolith; rather, it showed that it didn't kill plants immediately. As pointed out, the plants didn't grow as well as those on terrestrial soil.
The regolith was being used - IIRC - simply as a matrix to support the roots of the plants, much as one might grow mustard and cress seedlings on a damp flannel. Both water and nutrients were provided, but I understand that one reason they didn't grow so well was that the sharp spiky bits on the moon rock damaged the roots of the seedlings.
I suspect that, as on Earth, if you want something to grow well, you need a nice layer of organic matter well mixed in with the structurally supporting rock matrix. So growing grass for a few years might be a good start... It doesn't look like the moon is necessarily going actively going to kill plants, but it's not going to be immediately easy. The micro-flora and fauna will probably need careful monitoring, too.
On the other hand, it's a lot easier to deliver a tonne of compost (that needs to stay) to the surface of the moon than a tonne of astronaut (who would probably like to come home).
If moon people would just start disposing of their scraps into the green bin instead of the black bin, they’ll soon find they have ample compost for all their proposed gardening !
(They should find a less hostile environment than the moon, though. Any farmer could tell you that !)
Actually for most Space based growing systems, you are unlikely to use a standard soil arrangement. Aeroponics or hydroponics are much more weight and water efficient for small scale endeavours (especially Aeroponics).
I was involved (10 years back) in a research project that was all about designing an aeroponic system for use on the moon. That project formed the basis for another project that's actually installed at one of the Antarctic bases providing fresh crops for the inhabitants of the research base (although I cant remember if they switched to hydroponics for the Antarctic system or remained with Aeroponics).
Being able to use Soil based methods of growing crops is something that definitely would be needed in the long term (as the number of base inhabitants grew), and it's good to know that lunar soil doesnt immediately kill Earth based plants, but there is plenty of existing solutions that can pump out a good supply of food for the astronauts whilst further research is done on growing the food in the ground...
" you need a nice layer of organic matter well mixed in with the structurally supporting rock matrix. So growing grass for a few years might be a good start."
I was also under the impression that most of the "soil" build-up here on earth comes from the dust particles that each raindrop forms around being left behind once the water evaporates.
Growing plants needs a supply of carbon dioxide. Whilst the astronauts' exhalations will supply this it's a closed system. Assuming 100% efficiency the total biomass, astronauts' body mass included, that can be sustained is entirely determined by the total mass of carbon dioxide and water that can be sent or found there.
You will need a lot of heat to keep everything warm at night, nuclear gives you plenty of waste heat.
Solar has potential to be very light when there is no wind, no goats, and 1/6 gravity.
I have standard silicon wafers off aliexpress that make >1kW/kg on earth.
Existing Alta Devices panels should by my estimate, be able to make >10kW/kg(earth) that you have to launch.
Which is 65kW/kg(lunar) that you have to support. It could probably just be rolled out on the surface with no support structure.
I didn't say they would be 10x better on the moon. I said that their thin-film-on-polymer, 29% efficient material is >10x better kW/kg, than off the shelf flexible monocrystalline silicon wafers (22%) from Aliexpress which I have on my bench today. Mostly because it is thinner, and plastic is lighter.
My actual point being: you are not going to get a 40kW nuclear power plant that weighs 5kg, or 50kg if you are buying it off Aliexpress*.
*Nasa are not allowed to buy off Aliexpress. Strictly US suppliers like ebay or amazon for them.
btw, Alta Devices, sadly, closed in 2019.
Perhaps not quite 365 days but definitely less than 12 hours of darkness a month.
Better yet, due to the lack of atmosphere unlike on Earth the sun delivers the same amount of power whether it is on the horizon or directly overhead, plus there are no clouds and no wind so no dust storms covering them up like on Mars.
I wasn't sure how they would manage this, thinking that a reactor (such as a PWR) needs water/steam, turbines, generators etc to work, and would be an effort to get to the moon, but it seems like they have a few idea on how they want to go about this.
This is why I'm not a rocket surgeon and I'm some IT guy.
TABLE 1.—POTENTIAL TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS CONSIDERED
Reactor fuel Oxide:
(UO2), Metal (UMo, UZr), Nitride (UN), Carbide (UC), Cermet, UZrH
Pins, Plates, Block, Spheres
Thermal, Epithermal, Fast
Stainless Steel, Ni-Based Superalloy, Refractory Alloy
Be, BeO (Neutron Reflecting), B4C (Neutron Absorbing)
Rods, Drums, Shutters, Sliders
Conduction, Heat Pipe, Pumped Liquid Metal, Gas
Reactor heat transfer fluids:
Sodium, Potassium, NaK, Lithium, HeXe, CO2
LiH, B4C, Tungsten, Depleted Uranium, Lead, Water, Polyethylene, Aluminum
Thermoelectric (SiGe, PbTe/TAGS, Skutterudites, Zintl/LaTe/SKD), Stirling,
Brayton (HeXe, CO2) , Rankine (Organic, Hg, K)
Direct Radiation, Heat Pipes, Two-Phase Loops, Pumped Liquid Loop
Water, Ammonia, Fluorocarbons, Hydrocarbons
Aluminum, Polymer Composites, Titanium
RTGs are not reactors.
From your link
“ RTGs and fission reactors use very different nuclear reactions.
Nuclear power reactors (including the miniaturized ones used in space) perform controlled nuclear fission in a chain reaction. The rate of the reaction can be controlled with neutron absorbing control rods, so power can be varied with demand or shut off (almost) entirely for maintenance. However, care is needed to avoid uncontrolled operation at dangerously high power levels, or even explosion or nuclear meltdown.
Chain reactions do not occur in RTGs. Heat is produced through spontaneous radioactive decay at a non-adjustable and steadily decreasing rate that depends only on the amount of fuel isotope and its half-life. In an RTG, heat generation cannot be varied with demand or shut off when not needed and it is not possible to save more energy for later by reducing the power consumption.”
The discussions about that are going to be interesting, not to mention that any nuclear reactor they send up in space will have to fit inside the payload are of whatever launcher they wish to use.
Here's to hoping that the launcher functions to perfection when the time comes.
According to the Starship user guide you can have 8m tall with 8m diameter + another 9m tall tapering to 3.6m diameter. Mass limit is at least 100,000kg. We do not have final specs on HLS Starship and that may have stretched tanks and landing engines that cut into the payload space and mass. 4x 10kW of fission power comes to a piffling 6,000kg.
If you are only landing and not returning a Starship would not need the stretched tanks and you avoid the difficulty of unloading your nuclear reactor from inside a fairing 30m above the surface of the moon. The bad news is you then have to get about 170kW of heat out of the fairing. About 8,000kg of radiator would be sufficient but you could cut that down considerably by using the Starship as a radiator and a big fan inside the tanks to spread the heat with the ullage gas.
> How do vegan hippies feel about drinking coffee made from other people's recycled urine?
Hey man, we're all, like, made of stardust y'know.
Joking aside, though many current space efforts are based in Texas, no colony on the moon will be ideal for a barbeque-loving carnivore for a while. Vegans, and ideally vegans who aren't likely to go all Rambo at each other, are a sane enough choice.
You are aware that technology advances? NASA's last work on this began in 2006 (and concluded in 2028) and was based on a 10 kilowatt reactor.
Presumably the knowledge generated by this technology demonstrator will inform the design of these new proposals. That's how NASA works in general. They do basic research and then farm out any required builds.
"What does the gender, or a person's skin color have to do with qualifications?"
A great deal, apparently, because for years they were seen as adequate grounds for disqualification from many areas of human endeavour and I'm sure they still are for many people. The mostly white, male heroes of the past weren't necessarily the best of their generation, just the best of the privileged proportion of the population who were allowed to participate. It doesn't seem unreasonable or unfair to me to attempt to redress the balance in a small way.
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To assess qualification for a job, you have to know what the job is. The job in this case is to further the mixed aims of the people who are paying for the ticket. A lot of these aims are to do with inspiring future engineers and scientists, or to promote a country on the world stage. Or to send money to contractors around the country to create jobs, whatever.
Just to be clear: if these Artemis missions require Neil Armstrong-levels of piloting skill, something has gone very wrong.
Although I have to assume that NASA do actually know what they're doing, 40KW seems low to me. My (admittedly energy-intensive) household runs at 2-3KW, so 15-20 times my earthbound requirements?
I suppose it will depend on how big the base is, where it is, what experiments are going to be run, what the life support/reprocessing/cracking requirements are etc etc.
However, if it was me planning to put a reactor on the moon, I'd be saying "Fuck it, let's just send the biggest sucker we can lift".