ASI W9700498r1.0

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#99 October 1996

Section the Artemis Data Book

To / From the Lunar Surface

Peter Kokh


Relevant Readings From MMM Back Issues

MMM # 6 JUN '87 "Bootstrap Rockets"
MMM # 55 MAY '92 "A Better Slide-Skid Lander? Enhanced Harenobraking"
MMM # 56 JUN '92 "Harbor & Town"

How do we cut expenses for landing on the lunar surface? Use as low-mass a landing vehicle as possible to bring down the equipment, supplies, people, etc. Leave unneeded mass in orbit. See last article. In addition, we can pursue these strategies.

Fuels and Oxidizer from Moondust

Densifying Hydrogen Extenders

Hydrogen may make the ideal fuel, but on the dry Moon, even if there is some polar water ice, hydrogen will be a precious commodity and using it - at least in unextended form - will constitute an obscene waste of an invaluable and limited and expensive resource. Two ways to use it as a fuel extender are as a slurry medium for powdered metal fuels (above) and in chemical combination with other elements. One of the hydrocarbon analogs of Moon-abundant silicon will do such as Silane, SiH4, the silicon analog of methane, CH4l. According to Dr. Robert Zubrin, Silane can be produced in a Sabatier Reactor (the nuclear thermal powered device he successfully demonstrated for the production of methane fuel from Mars' atmosphere).

Economic pressures (impatience for short term advantage and profit at the expense of long term sanity) to use precious lunar hydrogen reserves directly will abound and there are many "damn the future" space advocates ready to do just that - some of them prestigiously placed. By treaty or lunar charter, it is in the interest of future Lunans and their civilization to restrict such use with adequate safeguards and stiff penalties. Landing without Retrorockets

Mars fans are quick to point out that thanks to its atmosphere, it will be cheaper to land people and cargo on Mars than on the Moon. But there are a few tricks other than aerobraking that can be used on the Moon in similar fashion.

Loading and Unloading Facilities

The earliest ships coming to the Moon to set up operations in any given development area will be "self-unloaders" weighted down with the cranes and winches needed to unload and reload themselves. Landing on and launching from the Moon will take less fuel and be cheaper, once such equipment is set up on a site, thereby establishing a "port". "Go any-where" craft will operate at a competitive disadvantage as compared to craft designed to trade via an established lunar surface port facility. Population will follow, so that port-establishment will tend to be outpost and settlement site preemptive. (The same applies to the establishment of fuel processing facilities and fuel depots, harenobraking smoothways, electromagnetic launchers and catchers, etc.)

Electromagnetic Launchers

Mass Drivers have been principally investigated for the regular continuous shipment of unprocessed lunar regolith into space for production of building materials for Solar Power Satellites and Space Settlements. Such devices provide very high G launch over relatively short mag-lev tracks.

Other elaborations are possible:

Reversing mass drivers or Mass Catchers which catch and brake landing payloads have been mentioned and need further investigation for high traffic situations. In most cases this will not require a new facility, just a new "reverse" mode use (where launch demand allows) for an existing mass driver.

Mass Drivers-Catchers are expensive big ticket items. They will lower costs to and from the lunar surface only when amortized over a long period of high traffic use. MMM

Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto

Home Tour Join! Contents Team News Catalog Search Comm
Moon Miners' Manifesto is published 10 times a year by the Lunar Reclamation Society for Artemis Society International, several chapters of the National Space Society, and individual subscribers world-wide.
Copyright © 2001 Artemis Society International, for the contributors. All rights reserved. Updated Mon, Dec 15, 1997.
Maintained by Jeremy Kraemer . Maintained with WebSite Director.