NEEP602 Course Notes (Fall 1996)
Resources from Space

Final Exam

Resources From Space
NEEP 602/EMA-601/Geology 376

May 16, 1996

Questions 1 & 2 must be done
Choose 5 out of 7 from questions 3,4,5,6,7,8, & 9
Do questions 1 & 2 in one exam book (Put your name on it!)
Do questions 3-9 in a separate exam book (Put your name on it!)
Circle the number of the questions you chose on the front of the second book

1.) 20% Assume that you are NASA's Associate Administrator for Galactic Exploration in 2050 and are planning the first mission of scientific exploration of the several identified terrestrial planets orbiting a nearby star similar to our sun but about 3.5 billion years younger.

What would be your scientific objectives for this exploration and why would you choose those objectives in relation to what you know about the origin of our solar system; the evolution of the Earth, Moon, and Mars; the origin of life in our solar system; the resources necessary to sustain your expedition for several years; and the resources necessary to refuel your warp drive, 3He fusion propulsion system for the return to your home base?

2.) 20% Assume that you are the Chief Engineer of the Lunar Resources Division, INTERLUNE, INC., and charged with the conceptual engineering design cost analysis of equipment and facilities for a crewed lunar base and for the equipment related to production of solar wind volatiles at that base. Your potential markets include both fusion power plants on Earth, the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth, your own lunar base, a far-side lunar astronomy and lunar science station, and users of heavy lift launch vehicles.

For each of the two efforts, i.e., lunar base and volatiles production, what would be the three highest priority engineering projects that you would tackle in your design efforts, why would you select these, and what considerations would you take into account relative to the lunar and Earth environments, the lunar regolith characteristics, risk management, cost, mass, automation potential, and any other significant factors you deem important.

3.) 12% Explain how the mechanism of star formation discussed in class relates to the broader issues of resources in Space. In particular, explain how the general composition and gross structural features (physical nature) of the planets and their natural moons vary with distance from the sun and why one can understand these changes based on the star formation scenario.

4.) 12% The lack of water (perhaps to start with), the loss of water over time, and the presence of water throughout a planet's history have had profound effects on the tectonic evolution of and on resources available from the inner planets. What are the differences in the tectonics of Venus, Earth, and Mars (as we know them today) and what role did or does water (or the lack of it) play in their (tectonics) evolution? Comment briefly on the effect of the lack of an atmosphere on resource accumulation on the Moon.

5.) 12% What are the key variables that must be analyzed to assess the financial feasibility of mining the Moon for 3He? In your answer, explain the significance of each variable and why it is important in determining feasibility.

6.) 12% There are 2 main methods for collecting solar power in space and transmitting the energy to the Earth.

a.) Briefly describe the concepts (1 paragraph each)
b.) Give 2 advantages of each concept (compared to the other concept)
c.) Give 3 benefits and 3 detriments to the "environment" if the general concept of solar power from Space were to be used.
d.) What is the main impediment to deploying such systems today?

7.) 12% Assume that scientists and engineers were able to construct fusion electrical power plants using the D3He fuel cycle. List at least 4 main advantages such a fuel cycle would have compared to making electricity from each of the following fuel cycles:

a.) Coal
b.) Fission
c.) DT fusion

8.) 12% You have chosen an electrostatic ion thruster for use on a prospecting mission from Earth to the asteroids by humans. Assume that your rocket's D-3He fusion engine can produce a specific power of ~ 1 kW/kg.

a.) Describe the three main functional regions of ion-thrusters.
b.) Give 4 arguments you used to convince the International Space Exploration Society to fund your mission instead of the competing chemical rocket proposal?

9.) 12% On the basis of the geology (as presented in this course) of Mars and the Moon, which body is likely to be more favorable to the mining of Earth-like ore deposits? Please be specific in the examples of ore concentrations that you suggest may be present and say something about each example-do not simply answer with a list of items.

What geologic processes would the Earth have in common with each of these bodies?

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