09 December 2014

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UK Lunar Mission One goal revealed Permanent Manned base on Moon

UK Lunar Mission One goal revealed Permanent Manned base on Moon

Scientists have set out the detailed scientific goals of a proposed UK-led mission to the Moon.

The Lunar Mission One lander will be delivered into space by a medium lift launch vehicle such as a SpaceX Falcon 9.
It will be designed to get the Mission equipment safely to the Moon’s surface, able to correct its trajectory mid-course and carry out a staged descent sequence and precision soft landing. It will feature a built-in propulsion system with one or four main engines, operating from lunar deorbit until final cut-off just above the lunar surface, complemented by several smaller thrusters to enable a controlled descent to a target area. The lander will need advanced navigation techniques to home in to a small landing site about the size of a football stadium.

Once on the surface, the spacecraft will need a range of equipment to support the objectives of the mission. Aside from the drilling system to create the borehole (see below for further details), this will include a jointed robotic arm to handle the extracted core segments; and other instruments to analyse the core samples and to monitor seismic activity and other parameters.

Power on the lunar surface will be delivered from state of the art solar cells fixed to the external surface of the lander, which are expected to capture around 0.5-1KW, less than a domestic kettle. Given the angle of the Moon’s rotation, landing on the rim of a crater (such as the Shackleton Crater) will give the drilling platform the best exposure to constant sunlight throughout its mission.

Drilling on the Moon

In the South Polar Region where Lunar Mission One plans to land, the top 10 metres or so is expected to be made up of a fine-grained surface deposit reworked by constant bombardment of meteorites and smaller particles. Below that is thought to be made up of rocks thrown up by large asteroid impacts with parts fused together by pressure and heat.

Aside from the geology, which is like nothing on earth, there are a broad range of technical constraints and challenges to drilling beneath the surface of the Moon: these include a low mass drill (around 10kg); the absence of cooling liquid; the extreme cold; the remoteness of the location; and the limited power and forced periods of inactivity during the dark lunar winter.

The drilling operations for Lunar Mission One will use a development of the latest wireline drilling technology to lower the complete drill system into the hole, where it will anchor itself to the side of the borehole. It will cut a 5cm diameter hole, taking approximately 1 hour to drill 15cm. The drill will be configured to extract 2.5cm diameter core samples of about 15 cm in length, which will be returned to the surface for scientific analysis. The drill will then continue drilling further beneath the surface. A casing or stub tube may be inserted to ensure the stability of the hole near the surface.

Once the hole has been drilled to the target depth, the drill assembly will be used to put in place long term borehole monitoring equipment.
It will also deliver the 21st century equivalent of a time capsule containing the public archive and millions of individual digital memory boxes to the base of the borehole – which will then be plugged.

Lunar Mission One will make a unique contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the origins of the Moon and the Earth

What are the origins of the Moon?

Scientists currently believe that approximately 4.5 billion years ago the Earth collided with a planetary body the size of Mars.
It is thought that the resulting debris from this catastrophic collision then came together to form the Moon.
Studying rock from deep below the surface will, for the first time, allow to understand more about the geological composition of the Moon, shedding further light on whether it truly shares its origins with the Earth.

The spacecraft platform will drill down to a depth of at least 20 metres – about 10 times further than drilled before – though potentially as deep as 100 metres.
This will enable to access and analyse lunar rock that is 4.5 billion years old.
By studying this ancient lunar rock scientist will get answers to following:
What are the origins of the Moon?
How did the late heavy bombardment of the inner solar system shape the history of our planet?
Might the Moon be suitable for a permanently manned base for space exploration?

How did the late heavy bombardment shape the history of our planet?

Around 500 million years after the formation of the Moon, scientists believe that the inner solar system (which includes the four planets closest to the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) experienced a period of heavy asteroid bombardment. Because our planet’s surface is constantly changing, effectively degrading geological evidence, it is difficult to study the extent or effect that this period of bombardment may have had on Earth. The Moon on the other hand does not generally experience such drastic geological change and it therefore holds invaluable information about these ancient asteroid impacts.

By drilling deep below the Moon’s surface, we will be able to study impact sites, and draw conclusions about how this violent period in our solar system’s history may have affected our own planet.

Might the Moon be suitable for a permanently manned base for space exploration?

As far back as the 1960s, scientists have been considering the possibility of a permanently manned lunar base. A lunar base would have several future benefits, including cheaper space exploration:  the Moon’s gravity is weaker than Earth’s, so fuelling and launching rockets from or near the Moon would require less energy than launching from Earth, making the process more economically efficient.

The South Pole of the Moon has already been earmarked as a potential site for a lunar base because of its regular exposure to sunlight for solar power, stable temperature and the possible availability of water, hydrogen and other useful chemicals in nearby cold, permanently shadowed, craters.

Like other areas of the Moon, the South Pole is also subject to dangerous solar particles and cosmic rays, and these our mission can measure to predict the shielding astronauts would need. That shielding could itself come from the lunar surface material we analyse.

So, by drilling deep into the Moon’s surface and by measuring the surface environment, Lunar Mission One will be able to gather further valuable evidence as to the suitability of the South Pole for a future lunar base.

A  thorough,  top-level,  prioritisation  of  lunar  science  objectives  is  provided  in  the  US  National  Research
Council (NRC) Report on the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (SCEM) and this still represents a broad consensus in the science community on lunar science priorities. Based on this study, and on more
Recent reviews of the literature and references the following science goals for Lunar Mission One are suggested.

These will be further refined as mission planning proceeds
(no order of priorityIs implied):

Understand the geochemistry/mineralogy of the lunar crust

Characterize the impact history of the landing site and constrain the age of the SPA Basin

Understand the diversity and origin of lunar polar volatiles.

Constrain models of the lunar interior

Characterize the lunar environment for future scientific exploitation and human exploration –
Measure  the  environment  at  the  site  and  characterize  its  radiation,  seismic,  dust  and  charging environment  as  well  as  the  local  This  will  identify possible hazards to future human exploration and habitation. It will also help characterize the lunar environment in preparation for future scientific activities
(e.g.  Astronomical observations and fundamental physics experiments).

Identify resources for future human space exploration
Assess the potential for exploiting lunar resources for exploration and human habitation from the local mineralogy and volatiles

Assess the potential of the lunar surface as a platform for astronomical observations
Conduct initial proof-of-concept studies for future low-frequency radio astronomy from the Moon,
including  measurements  of  extra-galactic  and  galactic  sources,  terrestrial  emission,  the  lunar exosphere,  and  the  effects  of  the  lunar  surface  on  radio  propagation  and  communication. Additionally,  investigate  the  possibilities  for  studying  the  Earth  and  its  magnetosphere  from  the Moon.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Tags – Moon Human Base UK Permanent Lunar Mission One


Lady Lilith December 12, 2014  

This looks like a pretty huge step of science.

rudraprayaga December 12, 2014  

If the Science progresses like this next century may witness man's reside in Moon.