back to article We need to be first on the Moon, uh, again, says NASA

NASA boss Bill Nelson says America is "in a space race with China" and wants its astronauts back on the Moon before anyone else – to make sure foreign states don't take control of water and other resources on Earth's natural satellite. On Tuesday, in a news briefing updating journos on the progress of the Artemis II mission, …

  1. jake Silver badge

    So reading between the lines ...

    ... Bill Nelson doesn't want to have to listen to any Red Noise from China?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: So reading between the lines ...

      Bill is an ex politician so there is no point listening to what he says. Instead, look at what he does. That appears to be promoting people who support cost plus old space contracts and sidelining people who support firm fixed price new space contracts. The race is not US vs China but to spend as much money as possible on SLS before Starship can send wealthy tourists to the Moon.

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Re: So reading between the lines ...

        Oh god not more muskrat spam.....

        Starship an object designed to look like male genitalia.....ever so mature....

        Pass on flying edgelord spacelines

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: So reading between the lines ...

          Muskrat? That was Willis Alan Ramsey, wasn't it? Wrong genre entirely.

          "Starship"

          Nope. Wrong genre again ...

          "flying edgelord spacelines"

          Now you're talking ... They did a cover of "Silver Machine", right?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: So reading between the lines ...

          "Starship an object designed to look like male genitalia"

          Er, wot? You mean like every other rocket ever built? And if anything, Bezos attempt looks more like a cock than Musks does, so Jeffy wins that willy waving contest hands down.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: So reading between the lines ...

        ::whoosh::

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: So reading between the lines ...

          I am not Drax. Some things do go over my head. My first thought on your comment was "err what?". I did a web search for red noise and only found it as a synonym for Brownian noise. Still do not get the joke.

          1. Jonathon Green

            Re: So reading between the lines ...

            Ships in the night eh…

          2. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: So reading between the lines ...

            Look up "Bill Nelson's Red Noise". Wiki has an article that gives the gist.

            I hate explaining jokes. Have a beer anyway :-)

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: So reading between the lines ...

        "spend as much money as possible on SLS before Starship can send wealthy tourists to the Moon."

        Why do you think that SpaceX will be able to send people to the moon? Keep in mind that they have been paid by NASA to develop a lunar lander, an orbital fuel depot and the couplings that will be required to transfer cryogenic propellents. Are they even working on that yet? Do they have the money left to do it? Timeline? Bueller, Bueller.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: So reading between the lines ...

          Yes they are working on Starship HLS. Some of the big pieces show up in aerial photography. The priority at the moment is getting Starship to orbit, so that shows up far more. SpaceX is not short of money. NASA and DoD check costs to ensure that bids are realistic. Launching a Falcon 9 costs less than $20M but their price is currently $67M. Starlink has been revenue positive for months. The tax revenue that SpaceX has brought to the US by taking the market from Ariane and Roscosmos has more than payed for the total US government investment in SpaceX. On top of that, DoD and NASA were getting milked by ULA monopoly launch prices which Falcon 9 ended.

          Just because Elon xcretes "work on thanksgiving or SpaceX could go bankrupt" does not mean it is true.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: So reading between the lines ...

            "The priority at the moment is getting Starship to orbit, so that shows up far more."

            And since Machdiamond asked, yeah, getting Starship working is quite important to one of the missions, ie the orbital fuel depot. Without that reaching orbit, the cry-fuel transfer and the lander becomes a little less important. So, they are actually visibly working on at least one of the stated objectives. And if Musk ever wants to meet his stated aim of getting to Mars, that fuel tanker/depot is vital to that mission too.

        2. ravenviz Silver badge

          Re: So reading between the lines ...

          SpaceX sending people to the Moon simply is not going to happen, let alone Mars. They have no rigour. NASA has rigour and does things properly. And I don't want any comments about Shuttle disasters, the administration has learned lessons and moved far along since then. Even so, RIP STS 51-L and STS 107.

      4. ScrappyLaptop2

        Re: So reading between the lines ...

        Bill Nelson turned the launch of the Next Generation Space Telescope* into a Christian invocation, so you'll excuse me if I don't put much weight behind anything he says.

        *He also made the false declaration that James Webb wasn't part of the 1950's and 60's investigation and persecution/prosecution of government workers who happened to be gay, aka the Lavender Scare when it's clear he very much was.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: So reading between the lines ...

          "He also made the false declaration that James Webb wasn't part of the 1950's and 60's investigation and persecution/prosecution of government workers who happened to be gay, aka the Lavender Scare when it's clear he very much was."

          Actually, it's quite clear that he very much wasn't. Read this:

          https://hmoluseyi.medium.com/was-nasas-historic-leader-james-webb-a-bigot-131c821d5f12

          Get a cuppa or a pinta before starting in on it, it's very long and extremely well researched.

    2. Citizen of Nowhere

      Re: So reading between the lines ...

      Can't be doing with any of that Modern Music...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: So reading between the lines ...

        I can't help it, I'm an axe victim.

        Where's Flugennock when I need him ...

  2. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    Alien

    I've seen this before

    It's almost like NASA has been watching "For All Mankind" on Apple TV

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I've seen this before

      What's Apple TV? Do I have to get cable?

      1. whileI'mhere

        Re: I've seen this before

        "What's Apple TV? Do I have to get cable?"

        Yes but they'll change the plug design every few years forcing you to throw out the old cable and buy anew.

  3. I don't know, stop asking me.

    There is a word missing

    > "we want to make sure that's available to all, not just the one that's claiming it,"

    It seems a word is missing, as it should obviously be:

    > "we want to make sure that's available to all Americans, not just the one that's claiming it,"

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: There is a word missing

      And what it really means is "Hey, Congress, we want more money".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: There is a word missing

        "And what it really means is "Hey, Congress, we want more money"."

        Of course. In England, it would be "Hey, Parliament, we want more money".

        It's Universal, innit.

    2. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: There is a word missing

      No, no, no, it's "we want to make sure that's available only to those corporations willing to pay for it" or "we want to make sure that's available only to those we're chums with".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: There is a word missing

        Assumes facts not in evidence. Post proof or retract.

        "Me mate told me" and "I heard it down the pub" isn't proof. Neither is "everybody knows ... ".

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: There is a word missing

          ""Me mate told me" and "I heard it down the pub" isn't proof. Neither is "everybody knows ... "."

          Can we use "stands to reason"?

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: There is a word missing

      I believe what the Yanks actually said was "all mankind".

      That would include you lot.

      Funny how the Imperialist Yankee Dogs are far, far more magnanimous than the PRC, which is (according to their Constitution, at least) 'led by the working class and based on an alliance of workers and peasants".

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: There is a word missing

        At least PRC just get on with it without "high fives" and Bruce Willis.

    4. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Re: There is a word missing

      The missing word is subscribers.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Just one question

    How exactly would China be able to say "We got here first, nobody else" ?

    It's the Moon. If another base sets up a hundred clicks away, on the Moon that's pretty much an entire continent away. There's not much they could do about it except send a sterly worded letter from Beijing to the US embassy.

    We're a looong way from being able to get tanks up there.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Just one question

      "We're a looong way from being able to get tanks up there."

      Yes, but sadly judging by the rest of human history, how long will it be before astronauts and taikonauts are throwing moon rocks at each other* or clonking each other with whatever tool comes to hand in lieu of pointy sticks?? What's the odds future moon missions to have a small locked box with firearms inside 'in case of emergencies'??

      *Probably without actually hitting anyone since they've all learned to throw at Earth G

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Just one question

        Yes, but sadly judging by the rest of human history, how long will it be before astronauts and taikonauts are throwing moon rocks at each other* or clonking each other with whatever tool comes to hand in lieu of pointy sticks?? What's the odds future moon missions to have a small locked box with firearms inside 'in case of emergencies'??

        A staple of SF going waaay back. Keep an eye out for contracts to develop recoiless, or recoil-compensated pistols, rifles and GPMGs. Or envirosuits for sharks. I keep thinking that space is one of those things that might be better done under the auspices of the UN. But I've also read and watched the Expanse. In theory, it would be a better use of resources though to pool ours in an attempt to get off this rock instead of having a few nations doing parallel development in attempt to claim the best future beach front property.

        1. John Sager

          Re: Just one question

          Well, I would probably even trust NASA over the UN. That's just a talking shop with not much love for us.

          If NASA really want to get there in a reasonable time at reasonable cost, the only option is His Muskness.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Just one question

            If NASA really want to get there in a reasonable time at reasonable cost, the only option is His Muskness.

            Err.. bollocks. Musk mantra is to move fast and break stuff, which is kind of antithetical to manned space exploration.

            Especially when other genius ideas have involved flinging people at high speeds in vacuum tubes (It's like an air hockey table!) or landing Starships on the Moon. But that's the easier part. Getting them and the passengers off the Moon again is a problem a long way from being solved. Or if it's really solveable with the current design. There just.. a few challenges with getting crew to the surface and back again that make me think a more traditional lander design makes a lot more sense.

            1. John Sager

              Re: Just one question

              Well, how come Dragon missions have been pretty much faultless, both the manned and unmanned missions, including landing the first stages? He might have the move 'fast & break things' rep but only in the development phase. He won't do stuff unless the risk is low enough - launches often get delayed because everything is not quite right.

              1. CountCadaver Silver badge

                Re: Just one question

                Really? That abundance of caution why starship blew up? Mainly due to the half assed way the launch area was constructed.....

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Just one question

                  "Really? That abundance of caution why starship blew up?"

                  He said "in the development phase", which is where Starship is right now. Just as with many of the early Flacon flights, they expected it to blow up and even said so before it launched. They did appear to screw up quite badly with the destruct mechanism though.

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Just one question

                "Well, how come Dragon missions have been pretty much faultless,"

                They haven't been faultless. The first came within a whisker of losing the thermal shield and flame roasting the astronauts. There have been other issues too, but that's not unusual.

                Landing rockets hasn't been a technical issue, it's been more to do with risk and costs. Landing on a barge is a neat trick, but everything else, not so much.

                I have my money on an even more spectacular destruction of the Boca Chica "not a launch pad" if they are allowed to fly from there again.

                1. ravenviz Silver badge

                  Re: Just one question

                  The barges were a development phase, synchronised landing of the boosters on target landing spots is akin to precise choreography.

            2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              SpaceX R&D is move fast and break stuff. Operation missions are very different: successes/launches

              Falcon 9: 250/252

              Falcon 9 Block 5: 189/189

              Falcon heavy: 7/7

              Cargo Dragon: 21/22

              Crew Dragon: 12/12

              Ariane 6: 0/0

              ULA Vulcan: 0/0

              Boeing Starliner: First did not reach ISS but did get back to Earth. Second: Successful uncrewed test. Third delayed - next year?

              Blue Origin New Glenn: 0/0

              Blue Origin Biconic Space Vehicle (a crew capsule): NASA funded study abandoned before completion.

              I am sure Starship will crash and burn several times and may well take some Starlinks with it. Some uncrewed Starship HLS test missions may crash too. Starship will not be carrying people until it is safe

              There is a NASA funded traditional lunar lander in progress: Blue Origin's Blue Moon lander. Perhaps it will get people to the Moon and back one day. I do not expect to live that long, but if cures for cancer and heart disease significantly extend life expectancy then I would bet on Blue Moon before profitable hyperloop.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Just one question

                "SpaceX R&D is move fast and break stuff. Operation missions are very different: successes/launches"

                You are comparing the Falcon, designed and built by qualified engineers working under a well seasoned manager to Starship being mangled by Elon. The Raptor engines aren't even through R&D yet and could have been trialed on Falcon rockets until they were ready to destroy 36+ at a time until Starship/booster was debugged.

                The FAA could wind up in hot water if they allow Starship to fly again from Boca Chica. The Army Corp of Engineers is the supervising agency that would oversee a deluge system but they had to pull the application when SpaceX didn't follow up with them on a host of questions. The current "not a deluge system" is going to dump all sorts of fresh water into a protected salt water habitat which will allow another half dozen agencies slap SpaceX with fines and lawsuits. NASA will not allow SpaceX to fly Starship from pad 39A where SpaceX has build another tower and launch stool with no proper noise suppression. All of that might have to come down, be redesigned and rebuilt before they can fly from Florida. They have to be able to fly from Florida to be able to fulfill their lunar lander contract as the site in TX can't be used for the orbits they'd need.

                1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

                  Re: Just one question

                  Musk likes to take credit for things and you let him. Since the beginning of the year Musk has been spending all his time supporting transphobes on Twitter. Starbase is run by Kathy Lueders. Putting Raptors on a Falcon is utterly stupid from two different directions.

                  Falcon tooling is set up for 3.7m diameter aluminium tanks. Keep that or you are doing a new rocket. The propellant is different so you need to upgrade ground support equipment and move to common dome to get the right mixture ratio (liquid methane is less dense than kerosine so the methane takes up a higher proportion of the rocket. The engines are more efficient so the over all height may not need to change much). Tank pressurisation is different so you have to rip out the helium system out for the top of the tanks and route new pipes from the engines for the autogenous system. Raptors are bigger than Merlins so you cannot fit 9 on stage one. Luckily they are so powerful you only need three. The thrust structure and plumbing under the rocket need a complete redesign. There won't be a central engine, so you cannot land with just one - which would be equivalent two a three Merlin engine landing. Three raptors are far too powerful to land a Falcon, so throw away the grid fins, landing legs and any opportunity to inspect a used engine to improve design. A single raptor on stage two would create enough acceleration to crush the payload.

                  At $40M each I can understand why throwing away 36 SLS engines would cause horror. With a promised production rate of 8 per year I can understand why throwing away 36 sounds crazy. With a production rate of 30/month and an incremental cost of $250,000 each raptors get scrapped all the time. Blowing up 36 really is not an issue.

                  Check out the Centre for Biological Diversity. Not the environment group in Scotland, but the law firm from Washington suing the FAA. Read their complaint. It is like 'election fraud' litigation, not intended for use in a court room but instead for getting donations from the public. If anyone is getting into trouble for CBD vs FAA it is the CBD lawyers for wasting the court's time. Please go to the CBD website and look at who they say they are (lawyers), what they say they do (start litigation) and what they want (your money).

                  All large rocket launch sites in the US are surrounded by wildlife reserves. Any construction work done on the reserves has to be carried out by the Army Corp of Engineers. Getting that done is an organisational nightmare. Look at the satellite imagery: you will find catch ponds on the Starbase sites dug on SpaceX land. Digging them can be done by SpaceX without waiting for the corps to get their act together. Instead of fresh water quickly running off concrete it leaks slowly from the ponds like rain water into sand - as required by the mitigated finding of no significant impact for the programmatic environmental assessment. The deluge system has two giant concrete catchment pools so the water trucked in for the deluge system can be recycled. When half a dozen agencies do not slap SpaceX with fines and lawsuits will you admit that you are wrong or say it is a deep state conspiracy? There is some youtuber currently cashing in by creating environmental outrage among the credulous. Please apply a little critical thinking and fact checking - and that goes double for the Elon Stans being first up with the wrong answers that makes debunking clickbait twice as hard.

                  The consequences of an experimental rocket taking out 39a would be NASA having to buy rides to the ISS from Roscosmos. I thoroughly understand NASA being protective of 39a. SpaceX are adding crew access to SLC-40 to address this issue. Work on Starship launches from Florida slowed before the first Starship orbital launch test crater and has essentially stopped. This has happened before - and for the same reason: the mathematical models predicting the scale of ground support equipment capable of surviving an orbital launch were wrong. From a SpaceX point of view, the risk wasting time and money on early construction work that gets demolished is smaller than the potential benefit of having a launch tower ready when Starship is. The biggest cost in bringing something new to market is time. You really do not want everyone waiting around because one part of the system is later than the rest.

                  1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: Just one question

                    "Putting Raptors on a Falcon is utterly stupid from two different directions."

                    Many rocket engineers have raised that question. The Falcon is a thoroughly debugged system at this point so testing Raptor engines with it means it's easier to see what's engine and what's airframe/avionics issues. Auto manufacturers have used "mules" to test various components before putting everything together in a brand new product. A Falcon/Raptor might could wind up with some interesting flight parameters. It would certainly be less money to build and fly that then one failed attempt on S/B costs.

                    SpaceX isn't profitable as a whole. Elon is on record as saying he expects to spend about $2bn/yr on Starship/booster. Leaked information from Starlink paints a very dismal picture so unless you are working on the inside, it's hard to see where you'd think that it's making money and how you would know. SpaceX, very publicly, raises hundreds of millions of dollars every year in the private markets. If they didn't need the money, it would make no sense to dilute ownership or take on debt that way.

                  2. ravenviz Silver badge

                    Re: Just one question

                    TL; DR

              2. ravenviz Silver badge

                Re: Just one question

                Hylerloop might actually work on the Moon!

          2. CountCadaver Silver badge

            Re: Just one question

            God in hell you right wing muskrat fanatics are everywhere. He is a cult leader, no different to Jim Jones....he wants power and unquestioning adulation (a bit like a certain former president)

            1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              At first I assumed you were just trolling but I made the effort to check you post history and it turns out that although you understand Musk completely you are very ignorant about rockets.

              1) SpaceX does not equal Musk. SpaceX have a crew in place to keep Musk away from important decisions. He was needed for that start-up capital. Now that he spends most of his time at Twitter SpaceX runs more smoothly.

              2) Check my post history. You will find I say worse things about Musk than you do, especially in the context of Twitter and Tesla. I find his (minimal) involvement with SpaceX embarrassing and I really hope the consequences of securities fraud catch up with him as soon as possible.

          3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

            Re: Just one question

            I agree on NASA vs UN. Let the UN run it and they'll want to pass a systemwide GDP tax to fight Galactic Warming, with studies "proving" that excessive hydrogen emmissions are responsible for a 2C increase, and once we reach the tipping point we'll have a runaway greenhouse effect cooking the galaxy and killing all life. At least with NASA in charge we'll just have space missions. Eventually.

        2. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          And the UN peace troops will be armed with...?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Just one question

            "And the UN peace troops will be armed with...?"

            Hopefully just their presence will be all that is needed.

            Failing that, standard side arms will work quite nicely on the Moon. As will rifles. The propellant in cartridges contains it's own oxidizer and will fire normally in a vacuum. Also, the operators mass doesn't change due to lower G, nor due to no atmosphere. Recoil will feel identical to here on Earth. That said, training the troops to fire them in 1/6th G will take a little time. Bullet drop is far less than here on Earth, and lack of atmospheric drag should make them both more accurate and more lethal further out.

            1. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              Hopefully just their presence will be all that is needed.

              Suuure, just like in the rest of the world, where the mere presence of UN troops makes the population behave.

              /sarcasm

              1. EBG

                very predictably

                Turkey has just leveraged it's value to "The West" re.Ukraine to violate the UN neutral zone in Cyprus

                /sarc indeed

        3. CountCadaver Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          Wonder how well a recoilless rifle like the Carl Gustaf would fare on the surface of the moon or in space?

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Just one question

            An ordinary rifle would be fine. Recoil is proportional to the impulse of the shot, which means that mass and velocity matter but "little g" does not.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              Recoil is proportional to the impulse of the shot, which means that mass and velocity matter but "little g" does not.

              Except little g helps keep you planted. Both 5.56 and 7.62 give 6-7ft-lbs of free recoil and around the same in fps velocity. Could lead to some interesting designs for compensators and muzzle brakes. Plus astronaut's directional gas jets I'm pretty sure emitt less gas, less violently than the gasses venting from a typical firearm.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Just one question

                I rather suspect I could fire my favorite Kimber just fine either on orbit, or on the moon. If I could get a gloved finger onto the trigger, that is.

                200gr FMJ, 6.0gr Universal, leading to about 930FPS* ... I weigh in at 212lbs, 15stone, 90kilos, more with spacesuit ... you do the math(s).

                * That's MY handload for casual target shooting in THIS gun ... Don't dick around, approach this very carefully with your own loads!

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Just one question

            Why waste money on making big booms? All you have to do is nick an air line. Small holes are more easily patched than giant jagged holes, thus making equipment reusable. That'll be kind of important until we are manufacturing things like space suits and lunar rovers off-planet.

            It's also a fucking heavy load to haul one of those and enough ammo to make a difference out of Earth's gravity well. Remember, you'll need enough ammo to train the operator in firing the thing in lower or no G, and in no atmosphere.

            That said, the Carl Gustaf should work fine.

            1. hoola Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              This is why anti-satellite is mainly about using small things like ball bearings to create a big mess. It is also why anti-satellite is going to be self defeating.

              Once the usable orbits are full of the debris from the first space conflict, everyone loses and is in the same boat.

        4. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          You are aware that Soyuz (including the ships that go to the ISS) have carried firearms for multiple decades?

          The official reason was that if one of those ships lands in remote Kazakhstan, the crew need something to fend off bears.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Just one question

        in lieu of pointy sticks

        I would have thought that against a space suit a pointy stick would be quite effective.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          "I would have thought that against a space suit a pointy stick would be quite effective."

          Pointy sticks haven't been trialed against spacesuits so are therefore an 'unproven' technology and won't get any funding until they are.

    2. _Elvi_

      Re: Just one question: South China Sea

      .. just try to piddle your rowboat by the Spratley Islands and see what happens ...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just one question: South China Sea

        Why would I want to piddle my rowboat ANYWHERE, never mind the Spratleys?

        Shirley the proverbial thinking man would simply go overboard?

    3. Bill Neal

      Re: Just one question

      They'll draw a dashed line around it.

    4. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: Just one question

      Developing assault rifles which can fire in an airless, weightless environment isn't that hard to do. Most pistols would work without modification in a weightless environment and they'd only need to change the propellant in order to be able a bullet in an environment without oxygen.

      Russia tested anti-aircraft cannons in space, so it's been proven to work already.

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Just one question

        Given the target will be in space suits, then all you would need is a decent BB gun, like this.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm45h8DHiR8

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          I seriously doubt that piddly little thing could penetrate a kevlar spacesuit.

      2. lowwall

        Re: Just one question

        Standard cartridges will fire just fine. Gunpowder already contains its own oxidizer.

        Really the only thing you need to do is be very careful about lubricants and tolerances to keep things from sticking together.

        And you don't need recoilless for small arms on the moon. Even in zero g, relative mass matters. A standard 9mm round sends an 8 gram bullet at 350m/s. We'll round it up to 10 grams to account for the propellant. Assuming a trim 10 stone space native, the recoil will propel him or her back at approximately 5.5 centimeters per second (0.123 miles per hour).

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Just one question

        "Developing assault rifles which can fire in an airless, weightless environment isn't that hard to do."

        Finding something to brace yourself against might be a little more difficult. That big Russian gun did fire, true, but they were so concerned at the effect it would have on the Salyut that they only test fired it 2 or 3 times when it was unmanned and about to be de-orbited as end of life And FWIW, it wasn't an "anti aircraft cannon" which would be very large, it was a 23mm cannon from an aircraft, relatively small. The follow up Salyut was planned to have guided missiles instead, so I guess they saw the recoil from the gun and decided as a defensive measure, it might not be too good if it broke the space station when firing it but I think in the end that idea simply never flew.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Just one question

          "1 thumb down "

          So-called "recoilless" weapons seem to not only require gravity and/or friction, but from a quick read on the subject, not only do none of the systems, including spring and hydraulic, absorb all recoil, they primarily rely on slowing the movement such that the recoil is still there, just the energy dissipation is released slowly instead of in a single "kick". The energy is still imparted in the opposite direction of firing, so the "space marines" are still going to need something to brace against or at least take it into account by firing their backpack rockets.

          As for the rest of my comment, I assume are not downvoting known and verifiable facts.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Just one question

            1 thumb down"

            LOL, how childish. Go on, hit the button again. You know you can't resist that moment of power and satisfaction, no matter how small it may be. It must be so much more satisfying than actually typing something :-)

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              Perhaps the second downvote was simply because you were incorrect?

              Low recoil weapons (not "recoilless", which is a whole 'nuther kettle of worms) require neither gravity nor friction to work.

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Just one question

              You know you can't resist that moment of power and satisfaction

              Hur hur! You said 'moment' in a conservation of energy thread. But the whole thing starts with one of those fundamentals, ie for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction, which is the basis of recoil. I found a discussion on the subject here-

              https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/173477/is-it-possible-to-shoot-bullets-in-space-or-would-the-recoil-of-the-gun-be-too-s

              Which got some replies digging into the physics a little.. which in reality would also mean digging into a whole bunch of vector math to track the forces acting on the shooter. From musing about this in the past, most focus on the mass and recoil velocity of the firearm, projectile and shooter.. But I'm still curious what the effect of the propellant gasses would be, and suspecting those would end up being more significant than simple recoil.

              Thinking is based on simple observations. Anyone who's fired any reasonable calibre firearm knows there's a fair amount of force generated by the gas leaving the muzzle. Then various ways to tame or redirect that using muzzle brakes or compensators. Kentucky Ballistics has a YT channel where he shoots a lot of large calibre firearms, often in slow motion and you can see the recoil effects. And he's a big guy, but also being assisted by gravity. The issue with doing that in zero or microgravtiy is you lose that assistance, and given most firearms are fired offline with your centre of mass, would result in more movement. Think classic small (or untrained) person firing a large pistol like a deagle, and the pistol kicking up. In space, would that result in a backflip?

              So question for the physicists or proper engineers.. How could you model this? I'm guessing finite element analysis could do it, and now to hunt around for any free/open source tools to mess around with. I'm also guessing that adding the propellant gases to the problem would make it a lot more complex to solve.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Just one question

                "But I'm still curious what the effect of the propellant gasses would be, and suspecting those would end up being more significant than simple recoil."

                Doesn't matter. It'll feel exactly same as here on Earth. Somewhat less, actually, as the shooter's mass will increase by the weight of the spacesuit. Training will compensate for gravity differences.

                "In space, would that result in a backflip?"

                No more than getting hit in the chest with a .45 knocks you halfway across the street. This isn't the movies. Cartoon physics should stay in cartoons, ESPECIALLY when engaging in a thought problem.

                "Think classic small (or untrained) person firing a large pistol like a deagle"

                a) What makes you think that any person with a handgun in space would be untrained?

                b) What makes you think they will lift large, heavy weapons (and their large, heavy ammo) out of Earth's gravity well, when a simple .22LR would do the job of making a nick in a spacesuit?

                Remember, with lower gravity, bullet drop is lessened, in micro gravity it is to all intents and purposes non-existent, and in both cases, being in a vacuum means no aerodynamic drag. Both of these factors make for a far more accurate shot that stays lethal for a LONG time. Couple that with the relatively low amount of damage required to take out the enemy (put a tiny hole in his cuff, without actually hitting the dude inside, and he's dead anyway.) ... my money's on .22 LR being the round of choice for Space Cadets everywhere.

                "How could you model this?"

                I wouldn't bother, because it doesn't matter. The folks sent up with arms will already know how to use them. They will automatically compensate for the differences (humans are good at that kind of thing). Personally, I think the biggest problem will be in modifying the weapon to allow operation with gloved hands, and then getting used to that.

                If you want to do the math(s), my Kimber in .45 ACP fires a 200 grain FMJ at about 930 FPS (handloads). My old High Standard in .22LR fires a 40 grain bullet at about 1000 FPS (off-the-shelf ammo from CCI). The .45 uses about 6 grains of powder (that's all the mass of your gasses + unburned powder), and the .22 about 2.1 grains (I just pulled a couple apart and weighed it). I think we can safely ignore the negligible mass of the primer at the moment. The muzzle velocity of said gasses probably averages out to about the same as the bullet itself, or a hair under (a guess, I've never measured it).

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Just one question

                  Doesn't matter. It'll feel exactly same as here on Earth. Somewhat less, actually, as the shooter's mass will increase by the weight of the spacesuit.

                  Being pedantic, I think you mean 'mass of the spacesuit'..

                  Cartoon physics should stay in cartoons, ESPECIALLY when engaging in a thought problem.

                  True, yet I gave an example of a real-world observation regarding effective (or not) recoil management. Why would one shooter end up with a rear-sight impression in their forehead, and another just a small muzzle flip? Or, why does the muzzle flip at all given most of the recoil force should do the equal and opposite thing relative to the direction the bullet is going?

                  Ok, so that's a function of the firearm's action, grip design, grip angle, shooter's grip, hand, wrist and arm position etc etc. But like I said, modelling it accurately gets complicated. Again given mass, not weight, recoil force would be applied in some angle relative to the shooter's centre of mass. Because they don't have any gravity assist to hold them in position, this will make bracing harder.

                  ...my money's on .22 LR being the round of choice for Space Cadets everywhere.

                  I'd suspect the 5.7mm or 4.6mm, because terminal ballistics would be much the same on the Moon as on the Earth. As you're obviously a very experienced and expert shooter though, I'm curious why you'd suggest .22LR given the well known problems with bullet lubrication here on Earth, and how that might translate in a vacuum environment?

                  Oh, and how is it that the gasses from a few grains of powder can blow dust and small rocks around, leaving very obvious sign? It'd be a relatively short impulse, but would still create recoil energy given it's effectively making the muzzle act like a small rocket nozzle. Again on complexity, thrust would vary depending on brake/compensator, or if a suppressor were fitted to slow gas expansion and velocity before the gas left the barrel.. But then space cowboys would probably have to field questions about why they're using 'silencers' in a vacuum.

                  (Bonus question. There's a shootout in a small room. Everyone's blazing with automatic weapons. How many rounds could it take before the gas generated overpressured the environment and blew out the windows?)

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Just one question

                    " Why would one shooter end up with a rear-sight impression in their forehead, and another just a small muzzle flip?"

                    Training. That's all. It's not magic, and there's very little science involved. It's just a tube accelerating a chunk of lead. That is to all intents and purposes a single vector, right down the center of the tube. Either you have been trained to hold the tube properly, or you're going to allow it to bash you in the face (assuming you're sighting down the tube in order to ensure the lead hits the target you have selected).

                    "Or, why does the muzzle flip at all given most of the recoil force should do the equal and opposite thing relative to the direction the bullet is going?"

                    ALL of the force is in the opposite direction to the bullet. Unfortunately, the tube is "clamped" in a collection of hinges called a "hand", which in turn is at the end of an "arm" which itself is comprised of a collection of hinges. Unless the shooter knows how to provide feedback to all those hinges simultaneously, in real-time, as soon as the trigger is squeezed, they are likely to bash themselves in the face. Again, training.

                    "But like I said, modelling it accurately gets complicated."

                    As you said ... yes, I heard you. And again, modeling doesn't matter. Training does.

                    "recoil force would be applied in some angle relative to the shooter's centre of mass"

                    That angle is known. It's right down the center of the barrel. What is unknown, because it is random and completely different for each individual human, is the brain-to-(hand+arm+rest of body) feedback loop. Training takes care of this. No amount of your modeling will ever change the fact that people need to be trained to shoot idividually. There is no one-size-fits-all.

                    "Because they don't have any gravity assist to hold them in position, this will make bracing harder."

                    Even here on Earth, with gravity, a lot of learning to shoot is how to position your body for best effect. Training.

                    "I'd suspect the 5.7mm or 4.6mm"

                    Both arms and ammo are too heavy to get out of the gravity well, at least in comparison to the .22 LR.

                    "because terminal ballistics would be much the same on the Moon as on the Earth'

                    Not until the Moon develops an atmosphere. There is no atmospheric drag on the moon ... once fired, the bullet effectively doesn't slow down.

                    "I'm curious why you'd suggest .22LR given the well known problems with bullet lubrication here on Earth"

                    Over the last 60+ years (that I can remember) I've shot, or been at the range with people shooting, hundreds of thousands of rounds of .22, probably millions of rounds, possibly tens of millions. From all the major manufacturers (and now I'm starting to see handloads in .22 LR, which boggles my mind... I must remember to look into that.). In all that time, the ONLY time I've ever seen a failure caused by lubrication is when idiots add lube to the already factory lubed ammo. Except for some specialty stuff, ALL .22 LR comes from the factory pre-lubed. The only real issues I've seen with .22 LR is lack of maintenance on the part of the owner. Filthy and broken/worn guns tend to jam up in all kinds of ways, and always at the worst possible time. The owners almost always blame lubrication, to save face.

                    "Oh, and how is it that the gasses from a few grains of powder can blow dust and small rocks around"

                    Velocity x mass over a given area. I gave you enough numbers to calculate this for yourself last time. (Remember, a punch and a shove can contain the same amount of energy. The punch just delivers it all at once, and thus hurts more.)

                    A muzzle brake would work in a vacuum and low/micro gravity.

                    Suppressors would be a pointless waste of mass.

                    "There's a shootout in a small room. Everyone's blazing with automatic weapons. How many rounds could it take before the gas generated overpressured the environment and blew out the windows?"

                    The hot, expanded gas falls to room temperature and contracts almost immediately. Gut feeling is that it'd take more ammo than the number of people crammed into the room could carry. But it would hardly matter, because at least one of the idiots engaged in such a foolhardy experiment would shoot out a window. It's inevitable.

    5. jake Silver badge

      Re: Just one question

      The Soviets already placed at least one Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 on orbit and reportedly test-fired at least 20 rounds ... the 23x115mm shells could do a lot of damage to a moon outpost if in low-moon orbit & trained down. Remember, with no atmosphere to speak of, orbits can be very, very low indeed.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Just one question

        "Remember, with no atmosphere to speak of, orbits can be very, very low indeed."

        You really don't want to wind up shooting yourself in the back of the head.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          Once around the Moon? That would be the trick shot of all trick shots. Probably impossible.

          Someone will accidentally do it, eventually. It's inevitable. Murphy[0] says so.

          And of course Insurance will refuse to pay the widow(er), citing suicide.

          Sod, if the victim is a Brit.

    6. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Just one question

      And equally the assumption is that if the US (NASA) get's there first that it will be "Theirs".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just one question

        "And equally the assumption is that if the US (NASA) get's there first that it will be "Theirs"."

        Seems to me that the US shares a lot more than other countries.

        We never claimed that the sun never set on our Empire, either ...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Just one question

          "We never claimed that the sun never set on our Empire, either ... "

          Mainly because if you had, it would not be true :-) That statement was meant literally at the time, it wasn't just jingoistic bravado, there was always some part of the British Empire in daylight. And no, I'm not defending "empire", just stating the facts :-)

          1. EBG

            it was because

            even god didn't trust the brits in the dark

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

    And the commercialisation of space is now a question of when, not if. At some point it will be cheaper - or less risky - to source the rare stuff from space, not some war torn godforsaken corner of the globe that can't keep a government for longer than a match burns.

    Also there is increasingly more stuff that would benefit from being made in microgravity and as close to a total vacuum as you can get for free without filters and vibration.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

      "Houston -- the locust has landed"

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

      "Also there is increasingly more stuff that would benefit from being made in microgravity and as close to a total vacuum as you can get for free without filters and vibration."

      If you need stuff in quantity, it's still easier to do on Earth. Fractional G and endless free vacuum could be a big bonus. Excellent isolation possibilities are great for bio labs working on dangerous viruses.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

        "Excellent isolation possibilities are great for bio labs working on dangerous viruses."

        Ah yes, the perennial favourite of SF :-)

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

          ""Excellent isolation possibilities are great for bio labs working on dangerous viruses."

          Ah yes, the perennial favourite of SF :-)"

          I'd really much rather that work being done on Marburg and Ebola was not done on Earth if it could be helped. I'm not saying that it isn't important work, but accidents happen and an accident with a filovirus can be more devastating than a nuclear bomb.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

            The risk is pretty low. Probably about as low as the chances of a launch vehicle carrying samples up to orbit, not reaching it's destination and dropping it's load in the wrong place after a rapid unscheduled disassembly. As you say, "accidents happen". It's all about calculating the risk.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Well if anyone can do it, NASA can.

              "Probably about as low as the chances of a launch vehicle carrying samples up to orbit, not reaching it's destination and dropping it's load in the wrong place after a rapid unscheduled disassembly"

              The box an RTG comes in is pretty robust and one was onboard a rocket that was terminated. They recovered that power supply from the sea floor, scrubbed it clean and used it on another mission. One of these days I'll file a reference somewhere on the laptop to be able to paste. It's not much material that would be sent so a 'super container' wouldn't be that massy. There could also be a mech that would trigger with a high enough G that would kill all of the material in the shipping container. The bigger danger on Earth is somebody accidentally infecting themselves and spreading a virus that way.

  6. wiggers

    Fifty years ago...

    They had the technology for manned moon missions. They threw that away for a pantechnicon designed by a committee. Forgot to design a successor and ended up with no human capable space vehicles. Astonishing strategic failure.

    1. Zack Mollusc

      Re: Fifty years ago...

      Pfft. Amateurs at failing. Uk had SST and spaceflight technology 50 years ago and we didn't even get a pantechnicon when we scrapped it all off.

      1. John Sager

        Re: Fifty years ago...

        We couldn't afford it. We went in with some Europeans. Our bit worked, one or other of their bits didn't over several tests. I think we just decided to take our ball away, stick it in a museum and waste the money saved on something else.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Fifty years ago...

      "Forgot to design a successor and ended up with no human capable space vehicles. Astonishing strategic failure."

      The politicians felt that the populace was getting bored and a manned space program wasn't buying them the votes it used to so they needed to find something new to buy votes with.

  7. IGotOut Silver badge

    Time to re-release...

    ....Whitey on the moon?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Time to re-release...

      NASA has already addressed that. They are planning "the first woman, the first person of color, and the first Canadian[0]".

      Tokenism is the new black. Get used to it, it'll be here until it runs it's course. Probably another eight or ten years or so.

      Malcolm X would have had something pithy to say about that. ... maybe something along the lines of “What gains? All you have gotten is tokenism — three or four Negroes in a job, or at a lunch counter, or on the Moon, or as Vice President, so the rest of you will be quiet.”

      It's a crying shame Malcolm didn't live to see a two-term, majority popular vote (both times!), black US President.

      [0] Canadians are a protected class here in the US? OK. I guess. Has anybody told them?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Time to re-release...

        "NASA has already addressed that. They are planning "the first woman, the first person of color, and the first Canadian[0]".

        Tokenism is the new black. Get used to it, it'll be here until it runs it's course. Probably another eight or ten years or so."

        Likewise ESA and disabled astronauts. While I may laud their ambitions, I don't think this is quite the "everyday experience" where we ought to be making adaptions for special cases just yet. We're barely past the early WW1 fighter plane level in terms of space travel at the moment.

  8. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Its amazing how grabbing the moon so its property of big business is an american goal but nobody says maybe we should have no guns and free healthcare like most of the western world.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Last time I checked, everybody EXCEPT the US (and Japan) is bringing guns into and otherwise weaponizing space. Also last time I checked, every US astronaut+family has received free medical care for life.

      Next woefully uninformed xenophobic comment, please.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Flame

        "Also last time I checked, every US astronaut+family has received free medical care for life."

        Ah,. so THAT'S how it's done. Now we just need to qualify the other 99.99999999% of the population and find some way to get them all into space for a few minutes each. Paging Mr Branson, Paging Mr Branson, call for you at the green courtesy phone in the main concourse of Spaceport America :-)

  9. Tubz Silver badge

    China signed the UN Space Treaty back in 83/84 so cannot legally claim anything, if the block access, I doubt the UN could do anything. Other nations could try and force their hand and end up with conflict in space, which will eventually end up back on Earth. ?

  10. heyrick Silver badge

    "to make sure foreign states don't take control of water and other resources on Earth's natural satellite"

    Something he knows that the rest of us don't? Last time I looked with my telescope, it was a barren dusty place and not a place with streams gently trickling over beds of diamonds.

    Even if there's something useful on the moon, getting at it (and getting it back to this lump of rock) could well be an exercise in futility. How much would need to be extracted, without damaging the moon as we don't need Moonbase Alpha drifting off into space, in order to recoup costs, never mind make a profit?

    I can't help but think of there was lots of easily accessible valuable stuff up there, the place would already be crawling with people and bots and such.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      That's some highly valuable space cheese you're talking about there!

      And getting it back to Earth is dead easy. Getting things into orbit is expensive. But once you're on the Moon, with all the free solar electricity to you can eat - you can build a mass driver and just fire it back home. Obviously you're going to need some sort of ablative coating to cope with re-entry - but a lifting body created from Moon-cheese should do the job quite nicely. It'll even come with a nicely melted surface and extra burnt crispy bits. Yum!

      Now build me a 100m long cracker for it to land on and get me a flagon of port!

      Are global chutney supplies sufficient? Or will we need an international priority pickle project?

      1. Scene it all

        As Heinlein pointed out in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, any mass driver capable of doing that is also a formidable weapon. And we do not need more water on Earth - we have plenty already, just in the wrong places.

        As for using Moon water for further space travel, I don't think there is going to be any. With the collapse of agriculture on Earth, nobody is going to be in a mood to work on such projects.

        1. aks

          As I remember it from the time, the USA wanted to get to the moon before the USSR so they didn't build unreachable missile sites with which to threaten Earth.

          The rest of the "large rocket" program was to develop ICBM technology, just like the current DPRK rocket program.

          1. jake Silver badge

            No, the US wanted to get to the moon before the USSR for purely PR reasons. It was a Cold War thing. Nobody with any clues ever thought about putting missiles on the Moon.

            And no, moon-based missile sites would not be "unreachable". If they were, how would they get there in the first place?

            The manned rocket program had very, very little to do with the ICBM program. ICBMs reach G forces that would turn astronauts into goo. It's kinda in the job description.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "And no, moon-based missile sites would not be "unreachable"."

              They would be very difficult to service. Many storable propellants are horrible to keep contained for long periods of time with no maintenance.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Yes, and you probably don't want to either attack or defend with missiles that are at the very least a few days away after you press "The Button" and which, if actually stationed there, could be seen launching with a few days of warning.

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  "Yes, and you probably don't want to either attack or defend with missiles that are at the very least a few days away after you press "The Button" and which, if actually stationed there, could be seen launching with a few days of warning."

                  Heinlein did a good job with "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" in describing how damaging dropping rocks from Luna to Earth would be. How do you defend against that? With ~only~ two days of warning, that doesn't leave enough time to cure Bruce Willis, revive a Shuttle and send a team to install rockets on the rock to divert it. Blow it up and you wind up with a bunch of rocks now in different trajectories that will land somewhere pretty soon.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Why would agriculture collapse on Earth?

          Plants in general like it hot, and carbon dioxide is plant food.

          1. graeme leggett Silver badge

            pollinators?

            1. heyrick Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Yup. Those little flying bugs used to come in two forms. The cute ones that were pleasant to watch, and the little bastards with teeth (*).

              Guess which one of the two is in sharp decline.

              * - teeth, needles, lasers... it's all the same to your skin.

              1. jake Silver badge

                "The cute ones that were pleasant to watch, and the little bastards with teeth (*)."

                European honeybees have stingers, you know. In fact, they are the only insect in North America with barbed stingers ...

                Yes, they are in decline. We Are Working On It[tm].

                (*) Not my footnote.

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  "Yes, they are in decline. We Are Working On It[tm]."

                  I have another patch of sunflowers growing up. The bees around here love them. This round I'm doing the more decorative varities. I grew some Mammoth sunflowers earlier and spent part of today processing the heads to have seeds for next year.

            2. jake Silver badge

              I have European honeybees on the Nevada property that regularly survive temperature swings from summers over 115F and winters to 10 below (in C that would be 46 to -23). I suspect I could go hotter if I could figure out how to keep their wax from melting. Possibly with an external evaporative cooling jacket, but that costs water.

              When it gets REALLY hot the hives are placed about ten feet back in an old adit, the rest of the time they make do with about 2" of natural wool insulation in the shade of the North side of a barn. 20,000 bee wings flapping, evaporating water out of nectar, makes quite the cooling breeze.

              In the Winter, I've measured the central hive temperature at 57F (14C) just before dawn, when the outside air temperature is -10F (-23C). They can't take this low a temp for very long, but overnight is survivable. Seems that bees hyped up on honey and shivering their little butts off produce more heat than you might think. Yes, I get them into the adit if the temperature is going to be too low for too long ... it's about 65F (18C) back there 24/7/365. I'd leave them in there permanently, as they get in and out, foraging normally, in the summer heat, but it's about 6 miles from the house (the minimum distance I like to move a hive). I plan on digging a bee cave into the hillside out the backdoor eventually. Maybe this fall.

              I don't over-harvest, and almost never need to feed sugar water ... they have enough honey & pollen to make it through Winter.

          2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

            Yeh because humans never polluted water or dirt... its all pristine.

      2. jake Silver badge

        It's cucumber season ... I'm on the pickle project as I speak.

        Yes, I know how to make proper piccalilli and chutney, not just chow-chow.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "It's cucumber season ... I'm on the pickle project as I speak."

          Mmmmmmm. I didn't do cucumber this year as I still have stock from last season. There's a couple of new recipes I'll try out next year. I just scored a good load of Mason jars (they even say Mason on them) at an estate sale. It took half a day to build up some cardboard dividers to get them all boxed up in banker's boxes which is my main storage unit.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Note that some of those old Mason jars are worth a lot of money ... people collect the strangest things. It's worth looking into. I had a guy offer me $6,000 for two dozen blue jars that are from the turn of the last century ... I refused to sell. Traditionally, my family makes dilly beans in those jars, dunno why :-)

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "Note that some of those old Mason jars are worth a lot of money"

              I wouldn't know the difference, but I do know that some sellers are very proud of their jars and want more money than they sell for in shops. They seem to think that the fancy writing on them makes them old. Ball and Mason still have that. The slightly cheaper jars at the dollar store are plain and not as thick so I don't get those.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Resources on the Moon could be used directly there. Water is useful for a moon base, or to fuel rockets. No need to bring it back on Earth.

      China has a story of occupying places and then saying it's Chinese, like the Mischief Reef or the Scarborough Atoll, and now looking to the Second Thomas Shoal It may not be that hard to design a ballistic projectile launched from a Moon station to disrupt missions from other countries. The 'Moon treaty' from 1979 wasn't ratified by China (and it wasn't by the US or Russia either....)

    3. Killing Time

      'Something he knows that the rest of us don't? '

      Something he knows along with a number of others in the space exploration game i.e. NASA.

      Notwithstanding the H2O ice in the south pole craters that the LCROSS mission established. Hydroxyl (HO) in large quantities has been confirmed by the various remote sensing sats that have been surveying the place for decades.

      Dry and dusty observations through a telescope are so sixties.

      Where have you been in the interim?

      1. jake Silver badge

        "Dry and dusty observations through a telescope are so sixties."

        That would be 1860s, for those not paying attention.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Even if there's something useful on the moon, getting at it (and getting it back to this lump of rock) could well be an exercise in futility. How much would need to be extracted, without damaging the moon as we don't need Moonbase Alpha drifting off into space, in order to recoup costs, never mind make a profit?"

      Bulk material extraction wouldn't have a payback. If the moon's origin is that it was smashed off of a primordial Earth, there's not going to be much different there unless some big precious metal asteroids impacted.

      I had a nice chat with Charles Walker who designed and flew the protein electrophoresis experiment on the Shuttle. By learning how the proteins did their think in micro-G, certain processes were better understood and a way was found to do similar things in a 1G environment. I expect there will be much more of that when there is a facility to do the work. The moon is also a good place to research human reactions to long term stays at fractional G. We know what to expect on Earth and we know that micro-G is unhealthy, but we don't know about anything in between.

      It's nearly impossible to calculate an ROI on pure science, but it's always paid off in the long term.

  11. Johnb89

    So if you were China....

    ... you'd be thinking that the Americans are wanting to get there first to deny the rest of the world access.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: So if you were China....

      Yes, they are paranoid, aren't they.

      But then, most dictatorships are.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So if you were China....

        "Yes, they are paranoid, aren't they."

        It wasn't the Chinese who said "I don't want the other side to get to the south pole first with humans and then say: this is ours, stay out "

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: So if you were China....

          "It wasn't the Chinese who said "I don't want the other side to get to the south pole first with humans and then say: this is ours, stay out ""

          If you were being honest and fair, you would have pointed out that NOBODY said what you quoted.

  12. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    And reading this I hear the theme tune to space 1999. However its probably useful that the previous president created the 'space force'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      Or as those of us in the high-tech world call it, Trump's Space Farce.

      It's a completely useless joke invented by a completely useless joke of a human being.

  13. spold Silver badge
    Joke

    Another case of....

    Many scholarly and ancient texts show that the south pole of the moon has always belonged to China....

  14. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Stupid

    And when we get there first we DON'T claim it? That would be completely stupid.

    And even if China were to claim it, we could simply ignore their claims or wage war over it.

    By way of his statements he's indirectly acknowledging that we would accept their claim and that all of the Solar System is essentially up for a land-grab. By that reasoning we could claim all of the Moon and Mars, Russia Venus and the ESA the moon Titan.

    BTW it would also mean China would be trespassing on our property and subject to armed expulsion by the Space Force.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Stupid

      "And when we get there first we DON'T claim it? That would be completely stupid."

      We did claim it when we got there first, back in July of '69.

      We claimed it "For All Mankind". Yes, this includes you.

      China was pre-empted several decades ago. It's a done-deal.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Stupid

        We didn't claim it at all, mrerely stated that we came here in the name of Mankind. China isn't claiming it for Mankind but for China.

        1. David Nash

          Re: Stupid

          Are China claiming it?

          The story is Bill Nelson fearmongering that he doesn't want China to claim it. I haven't heard that China have actually made any such claim or stated an intention to do so.

          1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

            Re: Stupid

            And you haven't been paying attention to the news. China is squatting islands in the South China Sea and claiming it as their territory by putting military bases on them.

            Nelson is merely postulating that China will do the same on the Moon. I hope he's wrong but if they do we'll have to evict them by force. I'm hoping the Space Force will soon announce that they're developing space-capable assault rifles.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Stupid

              "I'm hoping the Space Force will soon announce that they're developing space-capable assault rifles."

              They already have those. Every single one of the guns in my collection will work in space. Granted, some of them will require specialty lubricants if one expects to fire more than a few rounds without at least field stripping them, and some will have major issues with lunar dust causing jamming ... but every single one of them will be able to get off at least a few shots just fine. Given the limited number of personnel involved, a couple shots should be all that's necessary (poke a little hole in the enemy's air seal and you've won). Frankly, an off-the-shelf .22 LR modified slightly to allow gloved operation should be all that's necessary into the foreseeable future. Ammo's lightweight, too, making it cheap to lift out of Earth's gravity well.

              1. Ghostman

                Re: Stupid

                Frankly, an off-the-shelf .22 LR modified slightly to allow gloved operation should be all that's necessary into the foreseeable future. Ammo's lightweight, too, making it cheap to lift out of Earth's gravity well.

                Look up the trigger actuator for winter operations made for the M-1 rifle. There were several different ones that could be used by simply using the gloved hand to squeeze "the bar" and pull the trigger. Others simply looped through the trigger guard, secured with a set screw and you pushed down on the extended trigger pad.

            2. David Nash
              Facepalm

              Re: Stupid

              Yay, let's have a space arms race.

              "We'll have to evict them by force"? That'll really help.

        2. Jeff Minter

          Re: Stupid

          China hasn't claimed anything on any of their missions... indeed if you paid attention, they too are talking about for all.

          But like with the US, its primarily for them.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Stupid

            "China hasn't claimed anything on any of their missions... indeed if you paid attention, they too are talking about for all."

            China currently has a bad habit of talking out of both sides of their mouth, with forked tongue, when it comes to expansion of their territory. The US has not shown this tendency for many generations, and I seriously doubt they are going to start now.

            "But like with the US, its primarily for them."

            The US shares virtually all scientific missions with other nations (national security excepted, as with any nation). China share none of theirs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid

      In a previous post you said China, not the US was paranoid, even though the US are saying "I don't want the other side to get to the south pole first with humans and then say: this is ours, stay out ".

      Now you're also saying that they're trespassing and it belongs to us, literally confirming what the US are accusing China of... but on themselves.

  15. Walt Dismal

    immigration authority

    I am ZQX-4, Galactic Coordinator for your moon. If you want to land there you have to apply for a visa with our consulate. Otherwise, if you come near, you're Martian toast. Word to the wise.

    Our embassy is on Mars by the way. Have a nice journey, human meatbags.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: immigration authority

      "I am ZQX-4, Galactic Coordinator for your moon."

      I am Uatu the Watcher, back off, *****.

  16. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Fingers on the triggers

    When reading this article I had visions of Moon Patrol and future astronauts training on 1980's arcade cabinets for their missions.

  17. Graham Marsden

    We want to stop this falling into the wrong hands...

    ... ie anyone but ours...

  18. Bbuckley

    He is not wrong. China is a deeply evil regime. The UN and all of it's affiliate tentacles is also now an Orwellian communist 'Ministry of Truth'. It is very important that democracy claims the resources on the moon.

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