NEEP533 Course Notes (Spring 1999)
Resources from Space

Final Exam
Resources from Space
May 9, 1999

Please answer questions 1-5 in Blue Book # 1 and questions 6-8 in Blue Book #2.
Be sure to sign both books.

1) [15 points] (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 points] (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 company’s lunar resource and 3He power initiative. Prepare responses to the following questions that such potential investors could be expected to ask:

NOTE: You should plan on using no more the one page for answering each of the above questions.

3) [15 points] (15 minutes) Assume that you have abundant oxygen, hydrogen, and helium-3 fuels available on the Moon. Diagram the use of these resources in an Earth-Moon-Mars transportation infrastructure, including any intermediate transportation nodes. Indicate the type of rocket to be used along each route (both directions), assuming the availability of chemical and fusion rockets. Briefly explain your choices for the transportation node(s).

4) [15 points] (15 minutes) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked you to write an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) comparing the 3He-3He fusion fuel cycle to solar energy from satellites or lunar power stations that would beam energy to Earth. What are the major advantages and disadvantages of each approach? (Compare 3He-3He fusion to the 2 solar options, not to coal, fission, etc.)

5) [10 points] (10 minutes) You are an entrepreneur living on the Earth and trying to decide whether you should try to set up a company to extract and market the resources of the Moon or Mars. On which planet would it be most advantageous to set up a company? Why? Use the following table to guide your thoughts.


From the Moon

From Mars

Location of Use


Volatiles, Metals, Minerals


Volatiles, Metals, Minerals

On Earth

In Space

On the Body From Which the Resources Came

6) [10 points] (15 minutes) Mining for a particular commodity usually requires breaking up, reducing the size of, and separating the constituents of a parent material into what you want and what you don’t want. Ignoring the transportation issue, what are some of the problems that will surround adapting mining methods developed here on Earth to mines on Mars or an asteroid? Answer using explanatory sentences, not just a list of terms.

7) [10 points] (15 minutes)

a) List at least four general features of the solar system that any successful theory of the origin of the solar system must explain. (4 pts)

b) Explain how the bipolar outflow-accretion disk theory of star formation provides natural explanations for three of the four general features you listed in a). (6 pts)

8) [15 minutes] (10 points) In analyzing the feasibility of mining the moon for 3He what maxims (or principles) of financial analysis are important. In your answer explain what the maxim means and why it is important in analyzing feasibility of large scale space projects.

NEEP533 Syllabus
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