NEEP533 Course Notes (Spring 1999)
Resources from Space
H.H. SCHMITT -- NEEP533 FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS
1 (15 minutes). As Vice-President for Strategic Plans of a well-funded space company, you are responsible for planning the establishment of a permanent commercial lunar base that will ultimately lead to an international contract to place a permanent inhabited base on Mars. Listed below are features that represent major differences between Mars and the Moon, related to their surface and near surface materials and environments.
- Possible life
- Radiation from space
For any three of these features, (1) briefly describe the difference(s) between Mars and the Moon, (2) explain why the differences exist, and (3) discuss how the differences would affect your approach to the activation of permanent bases on these two planets.
NOTE: You should plan on no more than a two page answer to this question and consider using a four column table format.
2 (15 minutes). You are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a private space resource company legally chartered under the laws of the United States. Your investment banker has organized a "road show" during which you will meet highly sophisticated (they once took NEEP533), potential investors in your companys lunar resource and 3He power initiative. Prepare responses to the following questions that such potential investors could be expected to ask:
a. The United States is a party to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. What are the provisions of that Treaty that will permit your company, properly licensed by appropriate agencies of the United States Government, to develop and export lunar resources?
b. Briefly explain how your company expects to provide a competitive return to investors during the 10 years you say it will take to deliver your first 3He shipment to your first operating fusion power plant.
c. Will you outline the major factors that will result in the cost to use your new heavy lift rocket being significantly less than that for the Apollo Program's Saturn V, that is, an estimated $70,000 (today's dollars) per kilogram placed on the Moon?
NOTE: You should plan on using no more the one page for answering each of the above questions.
- COMMENTS RELATE TO FUTURE REPORTS, PAPERS, THESES, ETC. YOU MAY WRITE IN THE "REAL WORLD"
- THIS WAS AN EXERCISE IN "TECHNICAL WRITING"
- MOST PAPERS NOT PROOFREAD
- MOST PAPERS OVERUSE THE PASSIVE TENSE (IS, WAS,
WERE, ETC.) - MORE IMPRESSIVE IF ACTIVE VERBS ARE USED
- BUY "STRUNK AND WHITE" AND KEEP IT HANDY
- USE WORDS PRECISELY!!!!
- TRY TO FIND MOST RECENT REFERENCES
- AS WELL AS ORIGINAL SOURCES
- BE SKEPTICAL OF THE HYPOTHESES OF OTHERS IF REASONABLE
ALTERNATIVES ARE KNOWN
- IF YOU OFFER AN OPINION OR JUDGEMENT, SUPPORT IT
- FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN LECTURES AND REFERENCES
G.L. KULCINSKI -- Major Points to Remember From Professor Kulcinski's Lectures
Expand Your Time Horizon!
Serious energy problems will be encountered when you are 45-50, and your children are just entering college.
"There's Gold in Them There Hills!"
The existence of 1 million tonnes of 3He on the Moon has been established (and we know how to get it)
Solar Wind Volatiles Will Be Enabling Resources for Future Space Exploration!
Fusion Energy is Closer Than You Thought!
After 50 years of research we now are a factor of 2 away from break-even
We Can Produce Nuclear Energy With Little or No Long Lived Radioactivity
The use of 3He fusion fuels greatly reduces (D3He) or even eliminates (3He3He) radioactivity in power plants
Solar Energy From Space Can Be Beamed to the Earth
Several schemes for conversion of the Sun's energy to microwaves have been proposed. The question is "Is it economical?
Consider the "Net" Environmental Impact of the Earth/Moon/Mars System
The recovery of any mineral or fuel involves some effects to the locality in which it is extracted or used. The question is .. "Will the use of that resource produce more benefits than the environmental cost of obtaining it?"
PHIL BROWN World Reserves and the Future
Before going any further consider weight, mass, inertia,
- Inertia not weight is the real problem with moving things
and, as this is a function of mass not weight, the lack of gravity
is not a real bonus
- Fracturing and evacuation equipment on Earth uses gravity
as the hold-down mechanism. Something else will have to take
- On Earth, loading equipment operates near its traction limit
- Reduced gravity creates a less favorable inertia: traction
- Can increase traction by increasing mass (which makes for
- Once anchored, the slusher fills basically in response to
the in-haul force which is traction independent. The bucket will
have to be more massive but this may be accomplished by using
- Fracturing provides initial velocity to rock particles/pieces.
On Earth these pieces rapidly lose their V and accumulate; at
zero gravity you have an out-of-control 3-D billiard game.
Extraterrestrial Mining Problems for Research:
- How should mechanical equipment be modified for operation
in reduced gravity? (excavation, loading, moving)
- Remote and automated mining. What progress has been made
- Environmental effects: extremes of heat and cold
- Applicability of terrestrial techniques to low gravity, no
- Rock drilling: conventional drilling: drilling mud? friction?
melting and vaporization; chemical reaction; heat induced spalling;
mechanical stress; spark cratering
- Changes in traction and how to compensate:
- Traction is function of gravity and friction
- Changing role of blasting in low gravity settings; vacuum
will also affect blast
- Wear resistant materials
- Particle size reduction in low gravity settings design of
crushers; substitute for wet grinding and separating? classifiers
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