h a l f b a k e r y
No, not that kind of baked.
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the moon is a graveyard of mission vehicles and objects
made on earth.
over 180,000 kilograms of dry mass sent by humans
remains on the moon. probably half of it is disintigrated
from impact but there is likely at least 50,000
salveageable kilograms of metal and other material sent
man to the moon. there may even be substantial weight
of fuel and fuel tanks .
why not make a plan to identify ALL part and components
and materials that can be salvaged and use them to start
up the first moon base.
a mission to the moon COULD be planned in such a manner
that it is designed to use these components to build an
impressively sized moon colony for much cheaper than it
woudl otherwise cost to mine moon materials and refine
them with some as of yet non-existent moon refining
technology, let alone the cost of launching that technology
into space, let alone the cost of launching 50,000 or more
kilograms of material to the moon.
[teslaberry, May 04 2015]
||Some of those sites might be declared off-limits due to
historical significance. First man-made object to hit
the moon (Ranger probe impactor, I think), first object
to soft-land (Surveyor), first site of human landing
||Most of the rest might be declared recycle-able,
although some might also have appropriate historical
significance --one of the Soviet probes had the 1st
rover, for example.
||A few things have scientific significance (laser
reflectors, seismometers), and if they are still
functional or mostly-functional, possibly ought to be
||The moon is big. That material is scattered pretty well
around it (yes, some concentration around the near side
equator, but not much).
||The lunar surface has a high percentage of aluminum,
iron, silica (glass), and titanium. These would be the
materials recoverable from the space craft in place. It
also has a high
percentage of oxygen.
||It's short on carbon, which isn't found in high quantities
on the vehicles sent either. (Someone correct me if any
of the more recent missions had an organic based fuel,
anything older than a decade would have outgassed any
remaining traces). There might be a few plastic parts,
but probably not enough to justify the cost of landing the
equipment needed to break those plastics down into
fertilizer or chemical feedstocks.
||Now consider the relative energy cost of landing a small
solar refinery versus the cost of hopping around the lunar
surface to collect the extant remnants.
||I think we should bring all of that mass back to earth. Slow this place down a bit. The days move too fast anymore for me to keep up.