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Men or Machines to the Moon?


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Edited: Feb 28, 2017, 4:13pm Top

Recent news release by SpaceX reveals that 2 paying customers are going to circle the moon in 2018. One link below, probably better articles around:

I know in one of his recent books Michio Kaku stated he believed robotic exploration of the moon might be the most cost effective way to explore there. We are close enough to control the 'bots from Earth in near real time. Others have stated that when manned missions are involved all priorities fall back to bringing the astronaut back alive and most of the budget is dedicated to that and what is left over goes to science.

In any case I wonder if the 2 SpaceX customers will have anyone tagging along. The capsule they are using holds seven people!


and the official SpaceX announcement.

Edited: Mar 14, 2017, 4:40pm Top

Well, it looks like even robots aren't immune to radiation. "We can’t see inside Fukushima Daiichi because all our robots keep dying" is an article in Extreme tech about how robots developed to look in on the worst core meltdown are keeling over before getting near the core area. The place is so "hot" that scientists have not been able to measure the amount of radiation inside the most affected areas - they have to estimate from readings gathered outside the building!

Maybe info learned here will be applicable to space faring RUR bots built in the near future. Image below of the the core meltdown area.

The article also has an interesting link to a wiki topic of Radiation Hardening which goes into a lot of detail:

Edited: Apr 12, 2018, 8:00pm Top

Neat view of part of the control systems from the SpaceX capsule. With a years training I think I might be able to operate that small section!

::edited some truly horrid grammar::

Edited: Apr 12, 2018, 3:55pm Top

Riffing on the Moon topic here is an interesting youtube video {in 4K!} from NASA : https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=nr5Pj6GQL2o

Quote: "Take a virtual tour of the Moon in all-new 4K resolution, thanks to data provided by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. As the visualization moves around the near side, far side, north and south poles, we highlight interesting features, sites, and information gathered on the lunar terrain. "

Pointed to this video by an article at Extreme tech : https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/267356-nasa-posts-stunning-4k-tour-of-the-mo...

Edited: May 17, 2018, 3:29pm Top

China Has a launch date of May 21st for their moon shot. Quote from Science article below:

"On 21 May, China plans to launch a satellite with a vital but unglamorous mission. From a vantage point beyond the moon, Queqiao, as the satellite is called, will relay data from Chang'e 4, a lander and rover that is supposed to touch down on the lunar far side before the end of the year. But a Dutch-made radio receiver aboard Queqiao will attempt something more visionary. In the quiet lunar environment, it will listen to the cosmos at low frequencies that carry clues to the time a few hundred million years after the big bang, when clouds of hydrogen gas were spawning the universe's first stars."

Edited: May 17, 2018, 6:15pm Top

......And.... if & when we have people {and robots} on the Moon again this article explains a hazard we will have to contend with:

Moon Dust Is Super Toxic to Human Cells

The "most famous moon rock", Troctolite 76535, collected by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt who is mentioned in the article.


Edited: May 28, 2018, 1:15pm Top

>5 DugsBooks: QUEQIAO The Chinese satellite is on its way but updates are hard to find for me {when will it reach the Lagrange point?}. While looking I found this interesting site below which helps you track satellites.


::edit:: here is an informative site about the satellite also:

May 29, 2018, 11:23am Top

Thanks for the updates. That lunar dust info is new to me. It highlights how little we know about what we are up against if we venture forth from Earth into the solar system. We are only adapted to live on one small planet in the universe, and the various risks elsewhere are almost impossible to anticipate ahead of time. We will have to be as smart as terrestrial evolution has been - or stay put.

Edited: Jan 30, 10:43am Top

The Chinese spacecraft Queqiao is in position and the moon lander Chang'e-4 has landed. Because of technology concerns a 2011 policy restricts USA/China space joint endeavors but the USA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that is circling the moon did provide photos of the landing site to China according to several sources.

Link to the 3 minute video of the moon landing by the Chang'e-4.

There was also an attempt to start an ecosystem on the moon by the lander with seed sprouts, yeast and fruit fly eggs. Some sprouts started but they died and the experiment is over I read.

Link to image source & article: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-cottoning-chinese-seed-moon.html

::edited source of image to another better one:

Jan 16, 11:15am Top

>9 DugsBooks: That is a pity about the sprouts dying. It looked quite hopeful there for a while. I suppose Matt Daemon will just have to starve if he goes to the Moon.

Jan 16, 11:16am Top

Great info, thanks for the update!

Edited: Jan 30, 4:27pm Top

...and in a more "new in general topic" about the moon, they are still finding out more info from the moon rocks brought back by the astronauts.

Article in Science Magazine : Ancient Earth rock found on the moon

Quote from article:
"Only a small fraction of the 382 kilograms of rocks brought back by the moonwalkers have been studied, he says, and analytical techniques are constantly improving. "


::edited late nite mumbling post::

Jan 31, 2:28pm Top

Interplanetary lending system in action...

Edited: Mar 18, 12:24am Top

Looks like they are going to open a few more cans of those “382 kilos “ of moon rocks. Link to article in Gizmodo:



Better link:

Edited: Apr 16, 4:55pm Top

Israel's lunar lander Beresheet did not make a soft landing on the moon but it is the first private company to get there and they plan on a "Beresheet 2" according to news articles.

Photo taken moments before the crash - caused by engine failure.

Interesting articles on the subject:


Edited: Jul 19, 6:47pm Top

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing this week there have been numerous news shows on T.V with archival footage. This article from Extreme Tech gives links to the footage on youtube - as it was broadcast at the time of the event.


Evidently there is a lot film out there, the CBS network {USA tv that did the live broadcast 50 years ago} had a special earlier in the week that showed footage shot by Buzz Aldrin from inside the moon lander as Neil stepped onto the Moon for the first time. The film was short but had better resolution than the live broadcast at the time.

Edited: Jul 22, 9:12am Top

I am reading American Moonshot, John F. Kennedy and the Great space race . It is a bit of a tome, I am just over 100 pages into the 500 pages. A lot of history and detail with a large part so far on WWII and the roles of Wernher Von Braun and and Kennedy in the space race.

Informative throughout - although when he presents arguments made at the time for and against the cost of the moon shot projects {people argued it would have been better to use it on poverty etc.} he left out arguments for the cost and ending of the Vietnam war {so far}.

Edited: Jul 27, 2:47pm Top

>17 DugsBooks: An addendum :

“The Department of Defense (DOD) reports that the United States spent about $168 billion (worth around $950 billion in 2011 dollars) in the entire war including $111 billion on military operations (1965 – 1972) and $28.5 billion on economic and military aid to Saigon regime (1953 – 1975).Jan 22, 2014”


Wiki gives 158 billion in 2018 dollars for the Apollo program.

The Planetary Society gives a total of $288 billion in 2019 dollars for the moon program and associated costs with a breakdown at the link.


Aug 1, 2:15am Top

Inevitable conclusion: War is expensive, space exploration relatively cheap. Leaving aside the contributions to humanity of each. Can we get the resulting public policy initiatives straightened out? ;-)

Edited: Aug 20, 6:15am Top

The Chandrayaan-2 , India's second moon shot.
India is really making the Moon an international area of interest. With my USA media textured view of India it seems the country's people may have some valid issues about sending money to the moon but their costs seem to be phenomenally low at first glance with no research. From the articles below there appear to be some crucial maneuvers coming up - as early as tomorrow.

From the Economic Times "For India — to the moon, the second time, on the second successful attempt in a decade. For the world — the first time a rover will land, if everything goes as planned, on the moon’s south polar region. And all this, at less than Rs 1,000 crore." {$150.314 Million US dollars according to online coverter}

Chandrayaan-2 set to reach Moon: Here's what happens after:
The article from the Times of India describes the orbital and landing procedures for the lunar lander which is designed to find out more about water on the South Pole of the moon among other objectives.

Best link for detailed information, the home site :

::edited some particularly horrid grammar & gave up on the rest::

Aug 20, 3:24pm Top

.....and from the Chandrayann2 homesite above:

"August 20, 2019

Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuver was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019). The duration of maneuver was 1738 seconds beginning from 0902 hrs IST. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km.
Following this, a series of orbit maneuvers will be performed on Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon’s surface....."

More at link:

Aug 20, 9:58pm Top

Great news!

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