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the regolith project

crowdsourcing lunar soil engineering experiments
  (+1, -2)
(+1, -2)
  [vote for,

lunar regolith, you know the soil of the moon, is the moon's most predictable and abundant resource. it's other primary resource useful for harvest is,wait for it..... solar energy.

i've been reading about moon colonization for so many years.

my conclusion is the first attempts at preparing the moon for any useful puspose will be accomplished through remote controlled and autonomous sets of robots that we deliver to the moon.

what will those robots do, use lunar soil and use solar power.

solar power is being developed on earth. arguably, early solar paneling on the moon will be based on earth manufacturing and shipped to the moon. but maybe not.

my suggestion is that the major area of engineering yet to be built is how to use lunar soil to do any of the things we will want robots to do on the first moon projects.

the crowdsourcing site allows people to post their engineering project proposals, and the reward if enough people subscribe to the proporsal, is they purchase the amount of simulated lunar soil provided from a bevy of existing providers on earth. simulated lunar soil isn't cheap, and experimenting with it , is necesssary to provide the first few 'killer applications' that robots on the moon with deploy.

alot of peopel think it's a simple affair and that nasa and others have already researched this. wrong.

#1 any reearch on conventional dwellings for human beings is useless. humans won't be on the moon for decades after the robots are on the moon. the robots don't need human habitable dwellings.

#2 turning soil into roads. it is not necessarily the case that roads or landing pads will be especially useful to the future robots we send to the moon.

THERE ARE AND INFINITE amount of possibilities for the next killer app for lunar soil. i think a crowdsourcing site which fosters communication and comparison of ideas, as well as rewarding the 'best' with funding is a great way of finding out that killer app and bringing down the cost of lunar simulated soil at the same time for those whod would like to experiment.

the big complexity in this research is that the methods of using the soil must also be conducted in near lunar conditions. the problem is ---you cannot repilicate low G for very long on earth, and you cannot replicate vaccum conditions very cheaply. but people can try and that is the challenge to figure out......

perhaps we will see simulated lunar soil experimention on the ISS one day?

teslaberry, Feb 11 2014


       One of the things actually tested with genuine lunar soil, brought back by the Apollo missions, was to see how well plants grew in it. After some microbial preparation (because plants need more than just minerals), the plants grew quite nicely.
Vernon, Feb 12 2014

       so let's grow plants!. why'd someone ding me with a fishbone. fishbones could actually contain the microbes needed for enriching lunar soil.   

       a nice little experiment could determine this. maybe we need more fishbones?
teslaberry, Feb 12 2014

       I like the idea but if you insist... [-]
Voice, Feb 12 2014

       //        why'd someone ding me with a fishbone //   

       You're new here, so I'm guessing you haven't heard of the mysterious and shadowy figure known as the autoboner. Don't take it personally.   

       // a nice little experiment could determine this. maybe we need more fishbones? //   

       No need to experiment, fish meal and bone meal are both well-known fertilizers. I use them all the time to nudge the nutrient balance in my plants.
Alterother, Feb 12 2014

       The molecules that make up the lunar regolith aren't any different than the molecules that make up similar substances on Earth, ie: it's rock. The only difference, I imagine, is that under 1/6 gravity, compaction is different and, since there's no water, the grains are sharp-edged. These are mechanical differences, not biological: plants' growth is from the substances in the soil, not the soil.   

       [ ] It's not a bad idea, but you haven't bothered to find a proper category, which is necessary not only for people external to the site who are looking to read ideas, but for future posters who may want to see if their idea already exists. Oh yeah, and spellchecking. And apparently your capslock key is busted, not that I'm one to talk.
FlyingToaster, Feb 12 2014

       //so let's grow plants!. why'd someone ding me with a fishbone.//   

       toO feW capitalS and mostlY iN thE wronG placeS.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2014

       Most halfbakers are anal retentive ex grammer teachers. Finding the right category can be a real bitch. Someone needs to post an idea about that   

       Like the idea, we need to get of this rock.
zeno, Feb 12 2014

       //Finding the right category can be a real bitch.//   

       noT reallY. itS' jusT a matteR oF makinG a biT oF aN efforT.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2014


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