Friday, January 04, 2013

NASA Thinking of Giving the Moon a Moon

NASA is reportedly considering capturing an asteroid to put in a high orbit around the moon.  The agency could execute the plan in as little as six to ten years.

But the 10k dollar question is why?

Well according to New Scientist, the Obama administration is really keen on getting a manned mission to an asteroid.   The prevailing now is to robotically   capture  .and  put into orbit around the Moon.  This would give crews a close by platform to practice on.

Capture of the target asteroid is likely one of the most interesting part of the project.  Once launched, the mission outline would have the robotic capture unit heading out to the target asteroid and capturing it in a big bag before bringing it back to the moon.    Estimates have this maneuver taking anywhere from 6 to 10 years.

Not only could this object be used to train crews, it also could be used to explore possible bower and building material for future missions.

Check out the Wired article here


Anonymous said...

Have they actually figured out what this would do to our tidal influnces on Earth not knowing what could happen if something broke loose. Is that a DRUG related question???

Dave Tackett said...

A good question, though not to worry. Although I was unable to find the mass of 1999 AO10, a "quick" calculation of the Moon's mass (7.3477 × 10^22 kg) and the mass of this asteroid's more famous, and very likely much larger, sister Aten asteroid 99942 Apophis, which has a mass of 2.7×10^10 kg revealed that the Moon roughly 2.7 trillion* times more mass than the asteroid.

With a typical tidal range (the difference between high and low tide) being 0.6 meters means an additional tidal difference of .00000000022 millimeter. By comparison, sea levels are estimated to have risen 1.7 millimeters a year from 1993 to 2009 with negligible effects.

(A far bigger worry might be the estimated 2.6 billion this mission would cost)

* likely even more because 1999 AO10 is almost certainly much smaller than Apophis.

Mallet Head said...

It'll never happen. 1) the time line is too long. It's a thing presidents do. Their, mostly pathetic or at least cynically political attempt to momentarily identify with John Kennedy's, Let's go to the moon, speech. No way is it meant to actually happen. If it were we'd be working on the plans of the last 3 or 4 presidents. Remember we couldn't even finish the moon landings, much less follow up on the successes. 2)people who worry it would cost an estimated 2.6 billion. Think of all the free phones the government could give out instead. The air conditioning budget for our troops (all honor and blessings to them) is larger than NASA's total budget.

Beam Me Up said...

Mallet, I wish there were an easy argument to counter yours, but you are fundamentally right. What we have to do is look at the probes like Cassini which had a time frame that was equally as long. As long as it can be allocated and spent, amazing things can happen. Its the stuff that they are fighting for a decade from now (which I agree is most likely one of these) are always in trouble.
And like you I am not going to piss on people already serving in the armed forces. They certainly are not the problem. However the people that let companies like Haliburton run with virtually blank checks is certainly an indicator where the problems lie.

Thanks for the input Mall


Beam Me Up said...

very interesting question that I hadn't even considered up to this point. But lets take a quick look. If you are familiar with the most common manifestation of Luna's tidal force quite literally the tides. (and do not forget that the sun also has some effect as well. Now the moon is HUGE compared to it's primary. It is a very unnatural 1/6 the mass of the Earth. This is important because if you are familiar with the tides, the size of the moon and how extraordinarily close the moon is, you begin to develop an appreciation for how much mass it takes to raise the tides to the extent that Luna does. To raise the tides, even to a minuscule degree, would take a body that would be a signification portion of the mass of the moon.

Horacio said...

OK....a lot of people are unemployed, can't get health care and are starving/homeless. What does the government want to do? Spend billions lassoing an asteroid. Makes sense to me..hopefully they can raise our taxes a lot to pay for it too!!

Dave Tackett said...

Mallet Head - I'm afraid you misunderstood my concern about the $2.6 billion cost. (My fault, I'm used to Paul knowing that I'm militantly pro NASA).

The concern is that there absolutely zero chance that would come from anywhere except NASA's already far too small budget.

Yes any of us could find countless better places to get the money, but that is not the reality of how Washington works. You have one party that wants to cut everything and the other party which has cut NASA spending while radically increasing spending in most other areas (the free phones, for example).

With that in mind, I'm concerned that the mission would delay or even eliminate better NASA projects. And that the cost is just for putting 1999 AO10 into orbit around the Moon, not for the manned landing on it. It is all too likely that the first part could be completed and then the rest forgotten. (Remember the half completed Superconducting Super Collider in Texas canceled after $2 Billion had been spent)

kallamis said...

I see I don't have much to say. You guys are already on the full attack here.
And I actually agree. I also fear it won't happen, and is just smoke and mirrors being put up for some other hinky shit they are doing.
And like Dave said, 2 billion spent, then cancelled.
I'll say it again, and I will keep saying it. A moonbase, or village, and a freaking station, a big one, and then we start getting things accomplished.
I'm a vet as well, and will definitely not attack our troops, but military spending needs to be cut badly. I was there, I saw the constant and useless waste. They waste more money on a daily basis, than Americans do water, (which we waste in excess).
And I mean things like throwing away perfectly good, and new tools, including a blowers system for a truck because it wasn't listed as inventory and an inspection was coming up. I'm not kidding, I threw it away. (Amazing how 2 weeks later my buddies Camaro had one on it).
If we gave near half the money that the military shits on, we'd have half the freaking Enterprise built already.
And this time, it isn't one of my 9 hundred billion to the extreme exaggerating to make a point.
A minimum of 1/3 of the military budget is basically earmarked as trash. Because that is where it ends up, the trash. And I really wish I was kidding about this.

Beam Me Up said...

Dave I know that 2 billion is a lot of money, but it is not like it is an unheard of sum that NASA can't utilize. Where as some government agencies would call that the toilet paper budget, NASA can build and fly robotic rovers, and when push comes to shove, do it again for half. Now I am not any NASA toady, but if 2 bill is going to be spent, I think I know where a better bang for the buck is.

Beam Me Up said...

Have you really got the tail wagging the dog feeling with this one? Smoke and mirrors? Ok, my enthusiasm for this project comes from wishful thinking I guess. Is it ever going to happen? sigh, not within a row of assholes...I just hope that if we all realize that now, nothing but feasibility studies are done and we never have to bear the cost of bs prototyping.

Beam Me Up said...

yep, the way I heard it, there was a live action made off the anime

Beam Me Up said...

I watched a piece of the live, if it is based on the book, it is radically different in look and feel.

Beam Me Up said...

Again, a clear case of myopia. NASA's budget could fit in a small corner of the cost of "defense" but let someone mention the possibility of spending money that could barely buy 2 b1b bombers and everyone freaks out! 2b would not even buy the military enough tp for a year. Yet NASA could take this money and run a program for a decade or longer. How bout we look at where REAL waste is going on huh?

Beam Me Up said...

Great great answer Dave. What's more I followed it! lmao! I love it when a conversation comes 360 like that. thanks for the post!

Beam Me Up said...

Kall, look, I am more interested in what you have to say than some heeeeee haaaa. I am saying this and I give all my editor permission to whack that kind of stupidity right off at the root. I don't care what they call it. There is no place for ignorance of that style here. If I haven't already done it, delete it. nuff said

Beam Me Up said...

I do want to weigh in here because Dave, I know your right. It is meant as some sort of weird distraction or something. I agree that if it or parts were to be implemented some rover somewhere would go dead. But when I saw it I though...hey now this is a conversation starter if I ever saw one. I wanted to see what people thought, not so much an endorsement of the project. I think the people who are well informed and willing to share a perspective really came through on this one. Between this one and the absolute Zero though there were some real weirdness going on. Never know what is going to shake out I guess.