Private Moon Mission?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by eric/, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #1
    Is anybody else excited about this prospect?

    Link

    I really like the idea of private space travel.

    What do you guys think about the commercialization of space? Free for all? Should such a launch be regulated?

    General comments?
     
  2. Orange Crane macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Free for all. Anything that gets more people into space more often is a good thing. I believe it is our ultimate fate as a species to move out and populate the cosmos and being able to witness the first steps during our short lives is a profound honor.
     
  3. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #3
    This is fantastic for so many reasons. Commercial space travel is the way to go. Jobs, scientific advancement, just for fun!!! I'm surprised its taking this long. Lets get some bored billionaires into space and hopefully get the technology working so well, the average person might be able to vacation On the moon someday.
     
  4. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #4
    I think it would be awesome if this actually happened. However, I don't see it as likely that they'll be able to get private business to fund it as where is the profit coming from? There aren't enough super rich people to go for tourism purposes, and any other profit would be a long ways away and not guaranteed which there aren't many people who would want to bet billions of dollars on that.
     
  5. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

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    #5
    If you don't think this should be regulated, that is equivalent to saying we should get rid of traffic lights. There are serious logistical issues to letting people launch into the air space with coordination.

    P-Worm
     
  6. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #6
  7. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    #7
    Yeah ...... and the cow jumped over the moon.

    KGB:cool:
     
  8. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #8
    This is like people doing fast trial runs in the middle of the Bonneville Flats, once you escape LEO, you're out there by yourself. We don't need a regulatory body until we have significant technological change where we actually have to worry about people getting in each other's way.
     
  9. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #9
    I don't see how flights to the moon are sustainable in the private sector right now. Does the moon have something worth mining? I've never heard that it does, so what is the motivation for going there? Tourism? The cost would be too high for that to be successful. So I'll take whatever announcement is coming with a grain of salt. Businesses announce things all the time that never come to pass. This could very well be another one of those things.
     
  10. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #10
    Earth's practically-usable airspace is something like 5 billion cubic miles (considerably less for most traffic, since my figure includes the entire atmosphere up to about where Felix Baumgartner jumped from). The volume of space to the low point of the moon's orbit that one might consider practical for moon flights is about 355 trillion cubic miles or some 72 thousand times as much space, and much more of that is usable. Traffic outside of LEO would have to be extremely heavy for there to be concern, and once in the LEO region, one could imagine actual traffic management in place. In addition, since a collision involving manned vehicles would almost certainly be fatal for all the wetware, I suspect everybody would be looking out after each other: this would not be no Santa Ana freeway at six o'clock.

    Apollo 17, the last mission, returned about 250 pounds of dust and rocks from the moon. Each Apollo mission cost around 18 billion of today's dollars, averaged across the space program. Most likely, a commercial interest could find ways to streamline moon mining to significantly reduce the $71 million per pound. However, I find it hard to imagine that we could bring it under a million a pound. What raw mineral could we possibly find up there that would be profitable?
     
  11. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #11
    And if you remove the assumption that the raw material will actually be brought back to Earth? ;)

    Consider these as being merely core samples. :D
     
  12. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #12
    maybe the question should not be what's the cost to bring materials back from space, but to bring them into space

    if we were ever to built a 'space fleet' or sizeable orbiting space stations/colonies, it would make total sense that the bulk of the material needed would not come from Earth, if it can be avoided.
    In fact, the building process itself should/would occur directly in space.

    eventually, when those operations are established, there might be valuable products that are worth to fly back in

    for example, if some sort of advanced energy storage system is developed, it might be worth to have lunar/space solar farms (which would be highly efficient) or even massive nuclear plants, to generate the energy and to produce the 'space batteries' (with basically no environmental impact)
     
  13. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #13
    I think tourism will be the first private business in space to succeed. There are a lot of bored rich people out there looking for the newest thing to brag about. Don't rich people pay a load of money right now to the Russians to fly into space. Imagine how many would go for a trip to the moon.
     
  14. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    #14
    The moon was part of Earth so it could have a good store of Rare Earth ores or gold.
     
  15. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #15
    The problem is even if that was to create enough income building that stuff up there it's too far away for investors to want to put money into it. I don't think there are any investors that will run a company that will be millions in the red for years, and no guarantee that there ever will be a profit.

    None of those would be worth the cost it would take to recover them and bring them back to earth.
     
  16. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #16
    For reference, here is a page detailing the monetary density of things, or how much stuff is worth by the pound. Platinum is about $21K/lb, rhodium about $55K, most of the other stuff, not very likely. I could imagine stuff mined on the moon could be made into unusual alloys or objects in zero G that could not be done on earth, so there is that. But the main issue is that the expense of space travel must somehow be offset, something has to come back here to pay the bills, having it all just stay in space will not be sufficient. And billionaire tourism is hardly a robust enough market to support space travel over the long term, especially if one of them buys the farm up there.

    Many large leaps and bounds in technology might make space financially attractive, but right now and in our lifetimes, the whole ball of wax is still this wet rock. And then, of course, there is this energy thing: when the oil starts to run thin, our whole economic system will truly falter and ultimately collapse. Time is running short and we are wasting what little we do have with petty BS. In reality, space and capitalism are not at all a viable match.
     
  17. localoid, Dec 6, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

    localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #17
    There's also the possibility of mining the rare stuff, like Helium 3, for example. Some have suggested it's more abundant on the moon than on earth. Some sources have estimated its potential value at $3-billion per ton.

    Helium-3 has been proposed as a second-generation fuel for nuclear for fusion power plants. It's non-radioactive and might provide a fusion reaction that doesn't produce neutrons.

    In theory, 20 tons or so worth of Helium 3 might be enough to generate 100% of the electricity used by the U.S. in one year.

    In 2006, ITAR-TASS news agency quoted Nikolai Sevastyanov, head of the Energia space corporation, as saying that Russia is planning to mine helium-3 by 2020.

    Helium-3 Power Generation
     
  18. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #18
    :eek: You must not have watched the TV show Space 1999 and seen what happens when we use nuclear on the moon! Plot summary: Kiss the moon goodbye as it leaves Earth orbit and becomes a giant spaceship! :)

    I don't think there are enough bored rich people willing to make the number of flights required for economic viability. Plus there should be a REASON to go. Not just bounce around on a rover on the moon...but a real reason. A reason that I only think either resource mining/manufacturing or true tourism (as in another planet with air and water) can give you.
     
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #19
    Why bring them back here?

    As I intimated earlier, process them there, to create whatever you need to further explore space.

    And if you can achieve that, then you have the means of bringing them back to Earth.
     
  20. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #20
    I'm not sure why you need air and water for "true" tourism. Bouncing around on the moon in a rover would be more than enough of a reason for adventure seekers to go. Not everyone wants to sit outside In a cafe on vacation.
     
  21. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #21
    This. The moon and it's orbit need to be a staging area for the construction of space-based entities.
     
  22. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #22
    If you read the first part of the post you quoted you would see that the reason why I mentioned bringing it here is that manufacturing things in orbit is still years if not decades away and no investor is going to want to fund a company that is millions in the red for years. You need a source of profit relatively quickly, and space doesn't really have that.
     
  23. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #23
    It's not bringing stuff back raw thats important, its low or zero g manufacturing that holds the key for everything from medical breakthroughs to super energy density batteries.
     
  24. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #24
    At the current rate of progress, the first production-grade fusion reactor will come on line about forty-three years after civilization has passed the point of irrecoverable decline.
     
  25. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #25
    You still have to return the finished product, and that will still be very expensive for a long time.
     

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