DailyDirt: Moonshot 2.0

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

It's been a while since anyone has proposed and executed a plan as 'out there' as going to the moon in less than a decade. Sure, we have computers that can beat humans at Go, and we're on the cusp of using CRISPR for some amazing genetic modifications. However, we haven't really been serious about getting people off the planet -- and onto another planet -- for quite some time. Here are just a few moonshot-like projects for getting stuff into space, and perhaps making baby steps toward becoming a Type II civilization. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2016 @ 5:31pm

    The carbon nanotube article isn't a big surprise

    All the article boils down to is ...

    our current manufacturing technology is incapable of producing defect free carbon nanotubes... Hence the material is unsuitable for building a space elevator.

    Frankly a non-issue. Just get the technology better and have QA of the product. When will this happen? I don't have the foggiest. Can imagine the fibers being produced and then being subjected to 80 GPa. Since a flawless fiber could withstand 100 GPa it ought to not break. But a single atom flaw would cause the fiber to fail at 40 GPa. More flaws would result in breaking at even lower tensions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2016 @ 5:20am

      Re: The carbon nanotube article isn't a big surprise

      Not to mention producing nanotubes in any reasonable length in a practical timeframe is currently not possible, regardless of quality

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 15 Jun 2016 @ 5:39pm

    Already there

    I am sorry. But with all of these lawsuits I swear we are all on the moon already.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 15 Jun 2016 @ 5:45pm

    Daunting regulatory approval? On the moon?

    Yes, getting regulatory approval to launch a rocket into space is daunting.

    But once you're in space, I don't think there are any regulations or approvals needed to do stuff on the moon.

    Not yet, anyway.

    I think there's a UN treaty that says countries are liable for any damages caused by space missions launched from their territory (even if private).

    So before a private company can launch, they have to satisfy their government that it's not too risky (or at least buy insurance).

    But nobody lives on the moon. Nobody has any legal right to tell you what to do there - if you can mange to get there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      NorsemanMcGruff, 16 Jun 2016 @ 4:05am

      Re: Daunting regulatory approval? On the moon?

      Shanty towns on the moon. A lawless saloon balancing off the edge of Tycho crater. Dusty street duels. Fainting fairmaidens.

      The future will be awesome.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 16 Jun 2016 @ 3:08pm

    Moon Express

    I could got get the "archive.is" site you linked for the Moon Express article to load, but I was able to load the original article on bizjournals.com. That gave a few details worth noting.

    First the article was more upbeat than your summary (the article's title says it all "Actual moon shot mission from Mountain View startup set to be OK'd").

    That sounds as if the "daunting regulatory approval process" may not be quite so daunting after all.

    However, that said all may not be well be Moon Express.

    Why?

    Because: "The rocket that Moon Express wants to use hasn't flown yet, either"! It does say, somewhat optimistically, that "the actual mission wouldn't happen until the second half of next year".

    However, that may be just a wee bit optimistic. The bizjournal article explains that "[t]he Moon Express lander launch is planned from New Zealand using a 52-foot Electron rocket made by Auckland-based Rocket Lab Ltd."

    When I did a Google search I came across this article from May 2, 2015 from spaceflightinsider.com:

    http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/commercial/rocket-lab-electron-rut herford-peter-beck-started-first-place/

    "The first Electron rocket is supposed to launch this year, and though Beck didn’t have a specific date on hand, he gave 'mid-December' as the current target."

    It is now June of 2016. According to this May 2016 twitter posting from a SpaceflightNow journalist the Electron now has a new test date:

    https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/735173389103423488

    "Rocket Lab/Brad Schneider: 1st Electron launch in late summer, First commercial launch in Feb '17. NASA Venture-class mission in June ’17.".

    That is, of course, assuming that that "late summer" test actually happens. I point this out because the vagueness of both those dates ("mid-December" and "late summer") suggest that Rocket Lab is largely flying by the seat of its pants.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 23 Jun 2016 @ 8:52am

      Re: Moon Express

      Yes, expecting the very first test flight of a new rocket to work perfectly and place your payload on a trajectory to the moon is...optimistic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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