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Casualnaut

Lunar Outpost Questions

15 posts in this topic

All though this was canceled, I think that it is a bit strange.

 

In 2006, NASA announced the Lunar Architecture study. It's purpose?: "To define a series of lunar missions constituting NASA's Lunar Campaign to fulfill the Lunar Exploration Elements." The result was a plan for a permanent lunar outpost near a polar crater that had ice. The crew would swap every six months. Now here is NASA's concept art for the base.

450px-Entering_a_Lunar_Outpost.jpg

 

The guy is walking into his wonderful lunar base. Seems like a legit base, right? Well get this: Back in November of 2000, NASA made plans for a lunar landing. It was like a Apollo mission, with the same type of lander. Here is the link to the plans of the L-1 Lunar Lander and Gateway...

https://history.nasa.gov/DPT/Architectures/Moon - L1-Moon Lander Design JSC DPT Nov 01.pdf

Now the lander from this 2000 concept is the exact same as this lunar outpost from 2007. I don't think that I am seeing the concept picture wrong, the white cylinder in the background looks like it too could be a lander. It seems to have landing legs and a 2 engines on the bottom.  If this mission was revived, I would pose a few questions:

 

  • Is the base permanent like it was described?
  • Why is the base the same as the L-1 Lander?
  • Is the lander actually the base?
  • If the lander is the base, why is it described as permanent? It has a ascent stage in the plans.
  • Is the white cylinder in the background the ascent vehicle?

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It's a study. It's on a paper. It's not real yet, so hold your horses.

Also, given the changes that happens on the exterior they undergo every shift of the Columbian District means I don't even know if the current SLS would consider that exact design.

Meanwhile I'm waiting someone more clued-up to give an actual response.

Edited by YNM
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Why reinvent the wheel? They had concept art,a nd some rough numbers, perhaps, so use them. It's not like they were cutting metal based on it.

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A study is, well, a study. The concept art involved is usually irrelevant anyways, unless it's a big study.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, YNM said:

It's a study. It's on a paper. It's not real yet, so hold your horses.

Also, given the changes that happens on the exterior they undergo every shift of the Columbian District means I don't even know if the current SLS would consider that exact design.

Meanwhile I'm waiting someone more clued-up to give an actual response.

No no no, this was back in 2000 and 2006. It has been canceled due to Barack Obama's replacement of the Vision For Space Exploration.

3 hours ago, tater said:

Why reinvent the wheel? They had concept art,and some rough numbers, perhaps, so use them. It's not like they were cutting metal based on it.

I am not saying it was bad, I am just curious about how it would operate as lunar outpost. Is it a lander/outpost duo? Or are the engines on the bottom just for it's soft landing?  It is great when NASA and other space agencies redesign older designs to use for future missions. It allows them to know that because the older spacecraft design was successful, they can use some of it's design to make other missions successful. 

2 hours ago, Bill Phil said:

A study is, well, a study. The concept art involved is usually irrelevant anyways, unless it's a big study.

I am not really sure what you mean. Do you think this project is ongoing? Because it is not... The concept art is 10 years old. It was scrapped after Obama's replacement for the Vision for Space Exploration.

Edited by Casualnaut

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Bases have to get there, so they have engines. That is a typical architecture you'll see. 

This isn't KSP where you can easily have a single stage lander that leaves a large cargo on the surface. Some concepts have habitats that need to be offloaded from the engine section (inflatables, etc). but that also requires ground infrastructure (cargo rovers with cranes, etc).

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Casualnaut said:

I am not really sure what you mean. Do you think this project is ongoing? Because it is not... The concept art is 10 years old. It was scrapped after Obama's replacement for the Vision for Space Exploration.

This wasn't a project to begin with. It was a study. Some guys did some early work on a possible mission architecture or equipment that might be involved. But it was never really a project, and it was only intended to try and convince the people up top that moon bases and such would be a good thing for the space program. A study has an end, not to mention that it isn't a project, like Mercury or Gemini. 

And the Vision for Space Exploration was riddled with flaws. The Ares I rocket wasn't even capable of lifting the Orion capsule, as was planned.

1 hour ago, tater said:

Bases have to get there, so they have engines. That is a typical architecture you'll see. 

This isn't KSP where you can easily have a single stage lander that leaves a large cargo on the surface. Some concepts have habitats that need to be offloaded from the engine section (inflatables, etc). but that also requires ground infrastructure (cargo rovers with cranes, etc).

Well nowadays there is the sky crane... but that has its own problems.

Edited by Bill Phil
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The sky crane that was used was tiny, and the whole thing for Mars EDL fit in a fairing.

Getting a large sky crane to the Moon would be more complex, obviously, though I supposed it could be assembled in orbit.

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19 minutes ago, tater said:

The sky crane that was used was tiny, and the whole thing for Mars EDL fit in a fairing.

Getting a large sky crane to the Moon would be more complex, obviously, though I supposed it could be assembled in orbit.

KSP has learned me that keeping the engines on the base is smart if you want to move it :
On the other hand the base in the image looks more like an lander, no much room. 

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25 minutes ago, tater said:

The sky crane that was used was tiny, and the whole thing for Mars EDL fit in a fairing.

Getting a large sky crane to the Moon would be more complex, obviously, though I supposed it could be assembled in orbit.

I was just proposing the possibility. Of course skycranes have their own problems.

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Some sort of lander that can then be removed and reused would obviously be ideal, though. It's a good concept, it's just getting it where it needs to be. Then a propellant depot as well.

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Even when this is just a study, its authors probably were studying all major aspects of the base.
So, an irl implementation would differ, but inside the study the parts look meaningful.

If they have to get to the Moon, they also have to get from the Moon. Why not combine both in one single-use lander/lifter.
Looks like a two-stage taxi with a small crew cabin on top. Permanent is the base itself, not necessary a chemical lander.
And then several years later the wasteland where the first stages stay, would look like a trailer park full of empty fuel cisterns.

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 It's a good concept, it's just getting it where it needs to be.1239565317-moon16.png

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@Casualnaut, I think the explanation may be much more mundane - the same graphics artist reused models from the old study. Wouldn't be the first time the people doing graphics for spiffy NASA presentations did something really stupid.

Also, old North American Rockwell MEM lander projects featured nearly indistinguishable habitat, rover garage and return vehicle-carrying landers.

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Spoiler
12 hours ago, DDE said:

rover garage

With a door lock. Otherwise Martians would jack their car.

 

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