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Re: Re The Moon



> Hi folks,
> several months ago William and I raised the possibility of a lunar
> transpodar and were howled down.

The howling down was not for the idea itself, just the practicality of 
getting the transponder package there and keeping it powered and warm 
through more than one lunar night.  A manned lunar mission would be a 
major change in the environmental factors, because, like I said, 
there'd be someone else's RTG to plug into and AMSAT wouldn't have to 
foot the bill or wrestle with the formidable paperwork required to 
launch their own.  And there'd be crew there to set up the transponder 
package and orient the high gain antenna to the Earth, and we wouldn't 
have to worry about landing it softly enough to avoid making a crater, 
and having it come down right side up, and having it figure out by 
itself where the Earth is and how to orient the high gain and the feed, 
and all that.  With a manned mission there to pick up the device and do 
a basic no-brainer setup, that gets rid of an ENORMOUS range of 
variables that are unbelievably expensive to nail down .. we go from 
Surveyor III to a simple PCSAT2-type bolt on and plug in transponder 
pack.

It would be fairly simple and quite desirable to design the remainder 
of the package to be managed from Earth by remote command for as much 
as possible of its operation, because command ops Earthside are far 
less expensive than surface ops from the lunar habitat.  The last thing 
we want is to have to bug NASA for an EVA mission to go out and flip a 
switch on the transponder -- as soon as it's set up we want them to be 
able to forget all about it, or at most, do some low-impact control op 
functions from inside the habitat by remote control.  EVA time will be 
rare and precious at least during the early phases, and will probably 
be scheduled months if not years in advance ..

> I am sure that he is as pleased as I am that it has resurfaced.
> Pleas keep the ideas coming, I have logged all the positive ones from 
> the
> beginning and a spec is slowly coming up.

Don't ever get discouraged.  It does nobody any good for people with 
good ideas to get discouraged about sharing them.  The worst that will 
happen is that a consensus will form that it's not that good an idea, 
or far more often, doesn't integrate well with what's already on the 
board.  No harm, no foul, if you come up with a good idea that doesn't 
work right now, because it can always be kept around to try later ...

> I know that many would prefer to see the unit on a US mission, but do 
> not
> forget that the Chinese are probably going there as well.
> Now if we could get one on both.........

I've heard that the Chinese are planning on a manned lunar mission, 
which strikes me as almost certainly the reason the US is proposing 
doing the same, but neither one is a certainty at this point.  There 
have been a couple of times we've talked about going to Mars in the 
past that have fizzled out, and the primary reasoning behind extended 
lunar surface missions seems to be to build infrastructure for a Mars 
mission, so this may flame out as well.  A lot depends on who gets 
elected this time around, and I'm not thrilled with either of the front 
runners, but one is definitely all for a Mars mission and the other 
would just as soon kill it before it even gets out the gate ..

LOVE is the virtue of the HEART
SINCERITY the virtue of the MIND
COURAGE the virtue of the SPIRIT
DECISION the virtue of the WILL

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1940 (The Organic Commandment)

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