Submitted by kokhmmm on
From President Peter Kokh
October 24, 2007: XICHANG - The launch of China's first lunar probe Chang'e-1, on a Long March CZ-3A booster, was successful, a Chinese official announced Wednesday evening at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Li Shangfu, director of the Xichang launch center, made the announcement after the orbiter successfully entered the earth orbit and unfolded its solar panel, paving the way for its transfer to the lunar orbit.
Chang'e is expected to orbit the Moon for a year, testing technology for future missions and studying the lunar environment and surface regolith. Based on the DFH-3 Comsat bus, it has a mass of 2350 kg. Compare that with 3000 kg for Kaguya and 2180 kg for NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The 130 kg payload includes a stereo camera system to map the lunar surface, an altimeter to measure the distance between the spacecraft and the surface, a gamma/X-ray spectrometer to study the overall composition and radioactive components of the Moon, a microwave radiometer to map the thickness of the lunar rego-lith, and a system of space environment monitors to collect data on the solar wind and near-lunar region.
Chang'e is named after a fairy goddess who in a Chinese legend flies to the Moon.
The Road to the Moon and Timeline
Chang'e's path to the Moon will be similar to Kaguya's. After perigee on each of three Earth orbits, a burn will extend its apogee higher to 51,000 km, 71,000 km and 120,000 km with orbital periods 16 h, 24 h and 48 h respectively.
A final translunar injection burn will place Chang'e on route to the Moon where it will go into a polar orbit around the Moon.
Burns at the first three perilunes (point of closest approach to the lunar surface) will lower the apolune, reducing the orbit period from 12 h to 3.5 h to 127 min at which the orbit will be circularized. After a checkout period, the science mission will begin.
1. Drawing "pictures" of the moon and obtaining three-dimensional images of the lunar surface. Dividing the basic landforms and structures of the lunar surface and initially making outline graphs of lunar geology and structures, so as to provide a reference and basis for later soft landings. The orbit of Chang'e 1 around the moon will provide complete coverage, including areas near the north and south poles not covered by previous missions.
2. Probing useful elements on the moon surface and analyzing the elements and materials, primarily making maps of the distribution of various elements on the moon's surface. China hopes to expand the number of the useful elements to 14, compared with the five kinds previously probed by the United States, and will conduct an overall prospect evaluation on some useful resources on the moon's surface.
3. Probing the features of lunar soil and evaluating its depth, as well as the amount of helium-3 resources.
4. Probing the space environment between 40,000 km and 400,000 km from the earth, recording data on the primitive solar wind and studying the impact of solar activity on the earth and the moon.
Moon Society Comment:
The worldwide Lunar Community congratulates China on its successful launch of its ambitious Chang'e-1 lunar orbiter, China's first planetary mission. Following Japan's successful launch of its own lunar orbiter, Kaguya, just 6 weeks ago on September 13th, this launch is the second salvo of an international effort, dubbed The Lunar Decade, to learn more about the Moon, with emphasis on preparation for manned Moon landings planned by several nations: India, China, Russia, and the US (NASA).
We are further encouraged that two additional major lunar orbiter missions are just around the corner. India's Chandrayaan-1 is scheduled for launch in five and a half months on April 9, 2008. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will follow a year from now, in October 2008. The next two years should see a dramatic increase in public attention on the Moon as our picture of the Moon grows ever more detailed, answering many questions, but probably raising as many more, as always.
According to the Beijing Declaration, the nations involved in this effort are coordinating their efforts especially as to calibration of instruments and interchange of data, for the optimum improvement in our picture of the Moon, its origin, history, ongoing evolution, and resources significant for human pioneers.
The momentum of activities taking us back to the Moon, first for more information, then to establish permanent human presence, continues to increase. The international scope of this effort is gratifying as it provides considerable insurance that the effort will continue, even should never predictable political vagaries in the United States, limit, stretch out, or even cancel NASA's current plans to establish a science outpost at one of the Moon's poles.
Other nations are also planning human visits, and eventual outposts: China, India, and Russia. India, China, and Japan also are very much aware that the use of lunar resources could make possible solar power satellites that would make it possible for them to phase out dirtier power generation methods, chiefly those relying on coal.
In the United Space, while NASA has been reluctant to look beyond the scope of what it is budget to do, the National Security Space Office (NSSO) has found Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) to be an especially promising way to reduce US dependence on foreign-oil and as a way to reduce global warming. The Moon Society applauded this report, joined a 13 member alliance to support it, and intends to aggressively push the plan. Whereas NASA is currently restricted to planning a science outpost, the NSSO plan, if implemented, would involve industrial civilian settlements on the Moon, more in keeping with the Society's mission. The SBSP initiative would not fight for NASA funds, but be funded by the Department of Energy and/or the Department of Defense, removing the perennial worry over what Congress will or won't do in support of NASA.
Submitted by kokhmmm on
From Moon Society President Peter Kokh
October 10, 2007 -- We are used to NASA being the source of most space initiatives. But times are rapidly changing. The Space Prize phenomenon, after the long awaited success of the X-Prize Challenge, now seems to have developed a self-sustaining momentum with prize-driven developments likely to become a major force in the realization of human activity into and in space. Now the Defense Department's National Security Space Office (NSSO) has led a study group to investigate space-based solar power (SBSP) and has found SBSP to be an especially promising way to reduce US dependence on foreign-oil and as a way to reduce global warming. At a National Press Club event, today, sponsored by NSS (the National Space Society), the NSSO released its findings. Buzz Aldrin was one of many notables on hand.
But NSS, determined to take maximum advantage of this opportunity, had put together in advance a 13-organization alliance to push Space Based Solar Power. SBSP is key to the very existence and focus of one of the two organizations whose merger gave birth to NSS in 1987, the L5 Society, which promoted the ideas of Dr. Gerard O'Neill to use lunar resources to build solar power satellites to secure an abundant clean energy future for Earth. Space Settlements would house the workers who assembled these satellites. The NSS Space Settlements Committee, of which I am a member, has been focusing on ways to promote a demonstration of the technologies involved. My own personal role has been to work on a 2-phase demonstration as more logical, and much less likely to raise opposition. Look for more on that in the November 2007 issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto.
As for the Moon Society, focused as we are on the creation of "an Earth-Moon Economy" which will involve substantial civilian settlement of the Moon, promotion of this scenario is very important. True, there are competing energy scenarios: Dr. Criswell's Lunar Solar Arrays, and Dr. Kulcinski's Helium-3 fusion, using relatively abundant lunar He-3. It is not the Society's role to favor any one of these scenarios over the others, but to promote the development of all three, letting "technology pick the winners."
A full list of the current thirteen members, see our article (thanks to James Gholston)
Society members invited to participate in NSSO study
• Dr. Peter J. Schubert, Senior Director for Space & Energy Research, Packer Engineering, Inc., Naperville, IL (Key Expertise: lunar ISRU, propellantless propulsion, hydrogen storage, nanotechnology, MEMS, materials processing – high temp and electronic, intellectual property creation)
• Charles F. Radley, Associate Fellow AIAA, Spacecraft Systems Consultant, Micro Aerospace Solutions, Inc., Key Expertise: Spacecraft Systems Engineering
• Arthur P. Smith, Cofounder Alternative Energy Action Network. Other affiliations: American Physical Society (employer), Brookhaven National Lab. Key Expertise: Basic physics & materials issues, economic analysis. Smith's blog study had caught NSSO attention:
Dr. Schubert is a current Moon Society Board member. Charles Radley is current Moon Society Vice-President. Arthur Smith served as a Moon Society Board member from 2003-04.
Also on the NSSO team is Moon Society Advisor Geoffrey A. Landis Ph.D., Scientist, Power and In-space Propulsion Division NASA John Glenn Research Center Key Expertise: Solar energy, advanced concepts, physics, electrical engineering. Several others are well known to us.
Advantages of this study being done outside NASA
The NSSO study will not compete with other missions and initiatives in the NASA budget. Nor will it be perceived as "another 'make work' scheme for NASA. The involvement of the Defense Department may alarm some, but as it is clear that the DoD wants private enter-prise involvement, the foreseen solar powersat network would be for the benefit of more than the military. In fact, the committee recommends that the US government be an "anchor tenant" only.
Most of important of all, as a DOD initiative, it is much more likely to be funded by Congress, than if it were to compete with Space Science and the Moon effort in NASA's budget.
Opposition is sure to come, especially from vested energy interests -- from those corporations who now have a stranglehold on world energy supplies and do not relish sharing the pie with newcomers. It is precisely to make an end-run around this opposition that, as an individual, I am introducing a 2-phase approach, concentrating on a first phase with enormous economic appeal but which will inevitably serve as a springboard for a complete system.
Coming in MMM -- Starting in the November 2007 issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto, we will run a series of articles on this very critical subject area.
A long road ahead
Much research is needed before we can start talking about construction of a demonstrator system. The SBSP study report also finds that:
"although SBSP holds great promise to deliver clean and renewable energy to all nations of the world, the potential environmental impacts of the various systems and mitigation options to minimize those impacts require greater study."
In short, we need to be sure that the system of power beaming through Earth's atmosphere has minimal impact on the atmosphere itself and on living creatures, both airborne and on the surface in the areas where the vast rectenna arrays will be located. Previous research had tended to indicate that such impact would be minimal and acceptable. But we need to be sure.
Significantly not mentioned
From our point of view, the deployment of hundreds of Solar Power Satellites makes environmental and economic sense only if they are built out of lunar materials. We have to work hard to make this point, based on early but careful analysis of several studies including one done by Seattle Lunar Group Studies (SLuG), the think tank of an earlier iteration of the Seattle L5 chapter, which indicated that a solar power satellite of set power output could be built of 92% lunar materials at a (greater) weight penalty of only 8%. This study needs to be repeated given what we know today, twenty years later. Earth-launched SPS systems would require thousands of very heavy lift vehicle launches, with an unacceptable environmental impact, defeating one of the two major purposes. But using lunar materials is going to raise alarm bells for some, though it is precisely what we in the Moon Society very much want to see happen.
Building an SPS from lunar materials means that we can not rely on using the latest in photovoltaic technology for low weight high efficiency solar energy collection. We must use cruder materials with lower efficiency. On the other hand glass-glass composite strut and space frame platforms could prove to be superior in many respects than construction using the latest in terrestrial metal alloys. It is imperative that glass-glass composite technology first demonstrated in the late 1980s as an effort of Space Studies Institute, but then neglected, be resumed in earnest and advanced up the "technology readiness scale."
Rectennas, the giant collectors needed to receive beamed energy from space, need not be built on empty barren, unproductive land. Studies to date indicate that they could be built over agricultural areas and other productive environments without foreseen problems. A rectenna "net" would spread over a few square miles.
NSSO recommendations for enabling legislation
The group recommends that both federal and state laws be examined to remove impediments and emplace enabling legislation. SBSP should be qualified for favorable treatment on the same grounds as other non-grid electrical suppliers such as small hydroelectric and wind power generators. "The U.S. Government should increase and accelerate its investments in the development and demonstration of key component, subsystem, and system level technologies that will be required for the creation of operational and scalable SBSP systems."
Further, the study reports its conviction that "a small amount of entry capital by the US Government is likely to catalyze substantially more investment by the private sector." "A national investment in SBSP may return many times its value." Energy companies concur.
To the reader
We recommend that in the interests of becoming better informed of all the identified issues, challenges, and opportunities involve, readers and members would do well to download and browse over the entire (pdf) report.
Meanwhile, the Moon Society, and Moon Miners" Manifesto, will take advantage of every opportunity to promote this venture, use it as a focus of our societal and chapter outreach, and help bring the public up to speed. It is unfortunate that Al Gore, in his book and documentary "Inconvenient Truth" did not focus at all on space based solutions.
We live on an island. It is just plain stupid not to fish in the sea.
Earth is an island, space energy & resources, our fish.
Kudos to the NSSO!
We can be proud of our Moon Society Involvement, which will continue. - PK
Submitted by kokhmmm on
September 13, 2007
Fellow Moon Society Leaders, fellow Moon Society members, and others who actively support a human return to the Moon and the establishment of an Earth-Moon economy;
The proposed Congressional ban on spending for "humans to Mars" programs would seem to be in our favor. But as is often the case, first assessments can be quite off the mark.
On this matter, there are two schools of opinion
1) Hurray! We want to go to the Moon, not Mars!
2) Banning research on humans to Mars involves banning research that we need to SETTLE the Moon, not just revisit it.
I believe the second view is right on the money.
In my editorial in the December 2005 issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto, MMM #191, p 1. In Focus: Dear Santa: "a Moonbase made for Mars" I wrote the following.
Dear Santa: "a Moonbase made for Mars"
It's not about "what" we want! - It's about "the best strategy" to get what we want!
It is sad to watch the continuing "debate trap" into which many devoted "Moon first" and "Mars first" true believers fall. For in truth, not only would either Moon or Martian settlement prove economically nonviable without each other as a trading partner, both face the very high likelihood of being stillborn, if not summarily aborted, if either one is pursued alone. Politics is the reality, and Collaboration the strategy.
Consider the track record. The President emasculated the International Space Station by summarily reducing its design manning from seven to three (when it takes 2.5 crew man time just to maintain the facility.) Yet he boasts that we have a Space Station.
A Moonbase, designed and pursued as an end in itself, would most likely suffer a similar fate. Reduced manning. No capacity to pursue resource utilization (oxygen production, cast basalt, metal alloys, building materials, etc.) We'd be able to boast that we have a "permanent" outpost on the Moon. Congress would care little, so long as it did not cost any more.
But if the goal is to build a workable Mars Base and try it out on the Moon first, then guess what we'd have?
# A life support system that went beyond umbilical cord style resupply, rescue, and repair, but had to work without relief for extended periods of time, two years or more. This most likely would involve a considerable greenhouse food-growing operation, something that could be easily dropped from a Moonbase-only program, given inevitable budget pressures.
# A design that had to take "shieldability" into account because the long stay times on Mars demanded such protection. On the Moon, in contrast, you could do without shielding if you rotated crews frequently enough.
# A robust machine shop and repair facility, because on Mars, one might have to fabricate a critical part if the last spare had been used.
# Development of an adequate power system not reliant on "eternal sunshine" which is something that would not be available on Mars. We might end up with a power system that would let us operate anywhere on the Moon, not just in the polar cul de sacs of "eternal sunshine."
# Inclusion of a superior medical facility that with aid of the latest computer software programs from Earth would allow treatment of almost any medial emergency. In a Moonbase-only operation, we'd have emergency transport back to Earth as a crutch to fall back on.
# Quicker development of expansion architectures that relied as much as possible on locally produced building materials, modules, and parts. In a Moonbase-only operation, we'd continue to rely on shipment of made-on-Earth modules (hard hull, inflatable, or hybrid) and parts.
# The living spaces would be more likely to include the perks and amenities needed to ensure sustained crew morale and productivity over yearlong plus stays. In a Moonbase-only operation, we'd make do with submarine style living standards, or less. Such perks are an essential step towards the introduction of optional re-upping, signing up for continued stay duty - one small step on the road to the first "settler."
I am sure there are still more points to make!
For example, looking farther ahead, human settlements on both the Moon and Mars would be much more viable with each other as trading partners than if either sought viability alone.
The one thing that wannabe Lunans and wannabe Martians both don't seem to get, is that while Mars offers an atmosphere rich in oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, plus a hydrosphere of unknown size, a more day-like rotation cycle, and other amenities, it remains initially a much harder nut to crack, because it lacks the one thing that the Moon offers: "location, location, location."
Ironically, however, that "location benefit" can and will serve as a crutch that will be used by bean counters and politicians to restrict full development of any "government" (national or multinational) outpost to the bare minimum to allow boasting that "we have one."
As President of Moon Society, I counsel other Moon Society leaders and members, and others in the Return to the Moon constituency, to consider that it is in our best interests as advocates of lunar outposts, and resource-using settlements that it is very much in our own best interests to ally ourselves with the well-articulated position of the Mars Society and The National Space Society, standing side by side with them, work in unison for "a Moonbase Designed for Mars."
It's not suicide. It's not a paradox. It's simply far and away the only strategy that makes sense. Now I suspect that younger readers and members (not old enough to have vividly remembered our retreat from the Moon at 8:42 p.m. EST on December 16, 1972) will disagree. But if you don't remember history, you are doomed to repeat it!
Let's not be fools. To one who lived through the Apollo era, the naiveté of many younger enthusiasts is both incredulous and discouraging. We must take the longer view, and that means playing our strategies to the hilt.
The Moon Society stands in opposition to the proposed Congressional ban on spending for "humans to Mars" programs.
Peter Kokh, President, The Moon Society
Submitted by kokhmmm on
From the editor, Peter Kokh
With the August 2007 issue, #207, Denver Colorado’s Front Range L5 Society chapter of the National Space Society rejoins the MMM Family of NSS Chapters. There have long been two chapters in the Denver area. Mile High L5 Society had been founded to serve members from Martin Marietta, and still serves the southern portion of the Greater Denver area, while the bulk of FRL5 members come from the northern Metro area.
Front Range L5 had joined the MMM family starting under the leadership of Jill Steele, with MMM #52, in February 1992 and remained aboard through issue #97, in July, 1996, a period of four and a half years.
It’s good to have Front Range L5 back aboard!
Current President is Eric Boethin. Eric approached us in Dallas at ISDC 2007 over Memorial Day Weekend, and we gave him a dozen copies of MMM #201, our 20th anniversary issue, to take back home.
Getting “Caught up”
Front Range L5 members can catch up on most of the good stuff they missed in MMM issues past at:
Here they will find all the non-time-sensitive material from issues #1 through 170 (the first 17 years) reedited, reillustrated and republished in 17 collections, one per publication year, in pdf format, ready for free access downloading. We will add volume 18 next January
Other NSS Chapters and Local Groups are welcome, be they from smaller cities or larger ones. NSS chapters can arrange for their members to receive MMM as a membership benefit, at a special discounted group rate. NSS chapters in Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Milwaukee, Chicago and Philadelphia now belong - "coast to coast."
Inquiries welcome. Contact Peter Kokh:
(414) 342-0705 (Peter) email@example.com
Moon Miners’ Manifesto
1630 N. 32nd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208-2040
MMM is the longest-running continuously published NSS chapter newsletter, now into our 21st year, with ten packed issues annually. MMM has served Artemis Society International, and its successor in membership services, The Moon Society, since October 1995, issue #90.
MMM is also available by individual subscription directly from the publisher,
The Lunar Reclamation Society
PO Box 2102,
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Submitted by kokhmmm on
July 28, 2007 - The Society's Leadership Council, at its July 18th meeting, put together a dual incentive plan for this year's membership drive. The drive is aimed not only at encouraging new members to join the Society, but to encourage former members to rejoin us.
THE FIRST THIRTY persons to join the Society will receive a copy of Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon, 1998 paperback edition. This 670 page book, ISBN-10: 0140272011, has a reader rating of five stars, and is 8x5.4x1.6 inches in size (20x13x4 cm). The book details the triumphant story of the Apollo Space Program and was a basis for the HBO® miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon." The book has a forward by Tom Hanks. Retail value $18. Average customer review: 5 stars.
RESTRICTIONS: This offer is restricted to persons living in the United States and Canada, as it is not possible for the Society to pay the high shipping charges to members outside this area. We are working to identify incentives for new members outside this area.
DATES: This incentive program starts on the day of publication on our website and ends with the 30th person to take advantage of it.
INCLUSIONS: Existing members may take advantage of this program by giving gift memberships to relatives, friends, schools and libraries. An existing member registering a gift membership may choose to have the book sent to him/herself or to the recipient of the gift membership (including schools and libraries.)
RETURNING EXPIRED MEMBERS GET A GREAT CD
Former members, expired for three months or more, are encouraged to rejoin the Society and support our growing list of new projects and programs.
THE FIRST TWENTY expired persons to rejoin the Society will get the Moon Miners' Manifesto 20th Anniversary CD pdf file collection. These files can be read on any platform with the free-download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
* The MMM Classics include all the non-time-sensitive material from the first 17 years of MMM, reedited, reillustrated, and republished, in collections, one per publication year
* The MMM Samples include pdf files for the Editor's Selection of issues since May 2001
* MMM -derived papers - some of these combine a series of articles on set topics; others are the result of brainstorming efforts
* Presentations - these power point presentations are included as pdf file slide shows - just ask us, and we will email you any of the corresponding Power Point files.
...AND A CHANCE TO WIN A 12" MOON GLOBE
Yes, the names of the first twenty expired persons to rejoin the Society (and they only) will be eligible for a drawing to win a twelve inch Globe of the Moon with a stand. Originally sold at $99. Includes Farside features and names.
FUTURE MEMBERSHIP DRIVES
This year's membership drive is an experiment. The results and experiences from this drive may lead to future time-limited efforts. The larger our membership, the larger our talent pool, and the larger our networking reach.
At ISDC 2007 we introduced the University of Luna Project.
This project is aimed at entrepreneurs, students, and faculty and will involve many things including envelope-breaking workshops, design competitions and engineering competitions, and much more.
Behind the scenes, we continue to work on carefully defining our proposed Lunar Analog Research Station program.
The larger our membership, the more neat mischief we can get into.
The Society's goal is to help advance the day when human pioneers will return to the Moon to establish civilian settlements using local resources to help tackle Earth's stubborn energy and environmental problems.
You can help. Join, Rejoin, or give a Gift Membership!
Questions? Write the Society President, Peter Kokh