Military Review

NASA to choose between asteroid exploration and lunar base

The US will have to make a choice between the creation of a lunar base and the development of asteroids. According to US President Barack Obama, each of these programs will be very expensive, so there’s one thing to be chosen. Until recently, the answer to this question seemed obvious. Scientists around the world seriously enough took up the study of asteroids. However, the other day a group of congressmen submitted a draft law “On the restoration of American leadership in space” for consideration by Congress, which involves sending a man to 2022 on the moon and then creating a habitable base on the moon.

The authors of this bill argue that the idea is not to repeat the tasks that stood before the Apollo program 40 years ago. The new lunar mission sets attainable and quite clear goals for the country, which, according to the developers of the law, will return to the American space program the status of a world leader in space exploration. Also attention is paid to the fact that a person’s being on another celestial body will entail the creation of new technologies and breakthroughs in many scientific disciplines. And the experience gained during the implementation of this program can be applied in future expeditions to explore deep space, for example, flights to Mars.

If we talk about the moon, then there is still a lot of work for scientists. Since the middle of the 90 of the last century, satellites have been successfully engaged in this kind of research. According to Vladimir Surdin, an associate professor of the Faculty of Physics at Moscow State University, in the past few years, spacecraft from various countries have been operating around a natural satellite of the Earth. It is also planned to land automatic stations on its surface. Roscosmos is also preparing for such work, and human participation in such programs is not required. Rather, it even seems harmful, since it can significantly increase the cost of the program, without adding anything fundamentally new to it. According to Sudrin, today there is no need for a habitable lunar base, humanity does not yet know what it is possible to develop there and what is useful for the Earth to find.
NASA to choose between asteroid exploration and lunar base

At the same time, the number of critics of the “asteroid” project is growing in America. Earlier in the United States seriously considered the idea of ​​"catching" a small asteroid and putting it into lunar orbit. Part of the amount of funding for this project in the amount of about 100 million dollars has already been included in the US budget for 2014 year. According to experts, the implementation of the entire program would require investments at the level of 2,7 billion dollars. This amount is quite adequate to the work to be carried out by scientists. She did not have examples yet. Initially, you need to find the desired asteroid. At the same time, there are quite a lot of candidates who are not so far from Earth - about 20 000 pieces. Scientists call the ideal option a small carbonaceous space body weighing about 500-550 tons and with a diameter from 7 to 10 meters. Such a small asteroid, in case something suddenly goes wrong, and it falls on the surface of the Earth or the Moon, should not cause serious harm.

Catch and tow the desired asteroid to the moon are collected using an automatic apparatus. After that, it will be possible to send space missions to it and conduct various kinds of training and experiments, including as part of the flight to Mars planned for 2030. It is assumed that if this venture was successful, astronauts could step onto the uncharted surface of the asteroid already in 2021. Previously, NASA had already planned a mission on any of the large asteroids by 2025. But, as it turned out, it is much cheaper and faster not to send a mission to an asteroid in the depths of space, but to acquire its own "home" asteroids, pulling it closer to Earth or the Moon, securing it in orbit. However, the previous version was not canceled, so it’s not entirely clear whether this is a single project or 2 are different.

Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences of Cosmonautics Andrei Ionin believes that the very idea of ​​the US asteroid mission came into being artificially. She appeared in 2010 year, when the new president of the country, Barack Obama, canceled the moon program of George W. Bush. According to Ionin, it was necessary to pick up the goal purely for political reasons. It was impossible to simply cancel and close everything, it was necessary to choose a new direction. So the idea came up with asteroids. At the same time, there is not much sense in it, since everyone understands that this goal is not reasonable and in itself gradually recedes into the background.

The differences of opinion about what is better for the United States in space in the next decade, was the result of a kind of ideological deadlock, which modern cosmonautics has already climbed for quite some time. After the implementation of the Apollo missions, the tasks of the same scale were never again set. Therefore, some big space project is needed today, which would allow to provide a number of conditions. Such a project should be interesting for people and businesses working in the space sphere and should be understandable for politicians and the public, says Andrei Ionin.

In his view, the flight to the asteroid does not correspond to any of the two points above. But the moon is responsible, albeit partially. At the same time, in his opinion, the only possible project that would meet all these conditions is only a mission to Mars. And the preparatory stage for such a mission would be the return of a man to the moon, but only to then fly to Mars.

As arguments in favor of the new lunar programs, US congressmen refer to the plans and programs of other states for disembarking people on the moon. Such programs are available in the PRC and Russia. But in this particular case, we are talking only about giving the topic a sharpness, and not about competition in space, says Andrei Ionin. The head of NASA, Charles Bolden, has almost certainly met the congressmen’s initiative. In early April, 2013, he confirmed the US plans for the development of asteroids, stressing that the United States is not engaged in planning expeditions to the Moon. Although it is rather difficult to imagine a situation in which a state official would make a statement that went against the space policy of the current President Barack Obama.

And if the US still does not fly to the Moon in the coming years, then in Russia, the Moon is chosen as the closest space target. Currently, the Luna-Glob and Luna-Resource projects are being actively implemented in Russia. The first of these is the orbital probe, which is part of the national space program, which is implemented by the NPO named after Lavochkin. This program is aimed at the study and practical use of the natural satellite of the Earth and near-moon space with the help of automatic spacecraft. Luna Resource is a more complex program that involves the use of full-fledged landing modules and lunar rovers.

At present, the control systems of the Russian Luna-Glob and Luna-Resource apparatuses, which should be launched after 2015, are undergoing significant alteration. Instead of on-board computers inherited from Phobos-Grunt, it is planned to install new on-board computers on the devices, which are used on satellites made by the AIS to them. Reshetnyova, reports RIA News with reference to its own sources in Roscosmos.

It is assumed that the first Russian lunar device "Luna-Glob-1" will be launched as early as 2015. Mainly, it is designed for testing the landing platform. In 2016, the launch of the Luna-Glob-2 orbital probe is planned, and in 2017, the Luna-Resource apparatus with the landing module is sent to the Moon. This version has more weight and significantly greater opportunities for scientific research than the Luna-Glob apparatuses.

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  1. Canep
    Canep April 17 2013 09: 22
    Oil has not yet been found on the moon, what can the Americans do there, and if they find it (it is possible that the oil can also be of non-organic origin), then delivering it to the earth will be economically disadvantageous.
    1. Alekseir162
      Alekseir162 April 17 2013 11: 04
      Quote: Canep
      On the moon until they found oil

      There are more valuable raw materials on the moon, this is Helium-3.
      Helium-3 as nuclear fuel

      The 3Не + D → 4Не + p reaction has a number of advantages compared to the deuterium-tritium reaction T + D → 4Не + n, which is most achievable under terrestrial conditions. These benefits include:

      Ten times lower neutron flux from the reaction zone, which dramatically reduces the induced radioactivity and degradation of the structural materials of the reactor;
      The resulting protons, unlike neutrons, are easily captured and can be used for additional electricity generation, for example, in an MHD generator;
      The starting materials for the synthesis are inactive and their storage does not require special precautions;
      In the event of a reactor accident with depressurization of the core, the release radioactivity is close to zero.

      At present, helium-3 is not mined from natural sources, but is created artificially during the decay of tritium. The latter was produced for thermonuclear weapons by irradiating boron-10 and lithium-6 in nuclear reactors.
      Moon Helium 3 Production Plans

      Helium-3 is a by-product of reactions taking place on the Sun. [source not specified 658 days] On Earth, it is produced in radiochemical plants in quantities estimated in thousands of liters per year: for example, the industrial production of helium-3 in the USA amounted to about 8 thousand liters per 2010 year at a cost of about 2150 dollars per liter.

      Another thing is the moon, which has no atmosphere. As a result, of this valuable substance there is up to 10 million tons (according to minimal estimates - 500 thousand tons [5]). In fusion, when an 1 ton of helium-3 reacts with 0,67 tons of deuterium, an energy equivalent to the combustion of 15 million tons of oil [6] is released (however, the technical feasibility of this reaction has not yet been studied). Consequently, the population of our planet's lunar resource helium-3 should be enough for at least the next millennium. The main problem remains the reality of helium mining from lunar regolith. As mentioned above, the content of helium-3 in the regolith is ~ 1 g per 100 t. Therefore, at least 100 million tons of soil should be processed to extract a ton of this isotope.
      Это цитата из Википедии wink
      1. Canep
        Canep April 17 2013 11: 17
        And whoever built YOU reactor that would produce more energy than it consumed?
    2. Jackyun
      Jackyun April 17 2013 11: 30
      Quote: Canep
      On the moon until they found oil

      God with you! If there is oil on the moon, then the lunatics will immediately have problems with democracy with all the ensuing consequences, well known to the Libyans, Syrians, Egyptians, etc.
      1. Tambov we ...
        Tambov we ... April 17 2013 13: 09
        There will be no problems with sleepwalkers. There still need to fly. Stripes on Hollywood effects, like 40 years ago?
    3. Geisenberg
      Geisenberg April 17 2013 11: 35
      Quote: Canep
      On the moon, until they found oil, what should the Americans do there, and if they find it (this

      There is water on the moon except helium 3. This is already enough.
    4. Shawnee
      Shawnee April 21 2013 19: 11
      Stupid you, there is helium 3.
  2. Black
    Black April 17 2013 09: 34
    Quote: Canep
    its delivery to the land will be economically disadvantageous.

    The moon above ... extended the pipe .. and by gravity !! laughing

    The benefit from such projects, including Martian programs, in the next 20-30 years is only one - the development of technology.
    1. 101
      101 April 17 2013 09: 46
      It should be fair Down the pipe! Punch a hole and let no one go offended
  3. Terrible ensign
    Terrible ensign April 17 2013 09: 34
    Thanks to the author for the article! More or less intelligible information on the plans of Roscosmos in the near future. The situation in space exploration over the past few years has been somewhat "stuck" ... As far as I know, the Americans are now actively cutting the budget in order to save money. I wonder how this can affect their space program ... As always, we, Russia, have a chance to worthily continue the work started by Korolev and Gagarin ... I would like to be convinced of the reality of hopes.
    A friend recently wrote:
    You can’t buy the dream of flying for money
    about fast rockets, steel planes

    You won’t let a smile in the circulation of astronauts
    such a briefing, there is no right to make a mistake.

    Do not corrode "Pepsi" the light of the starry sky
    You will not change the heroes to the splendor of consumer goods

    Sunrise will not disappear and Progress will not decrease
    as long as there is Russia and Russian people.

    There will again be lightning-rocket nozzles!
    Go miracle birds - Buranas, Unions!

    Despite everything-
    The sky will be ours.
    Space will be Russian!
  4. wolland
    wolland April 17 2013 09: 35
    Successful landings, and explorations, and let the Americans engage in asteroid fishing, then maybe they will also be engaged in our space debris .....
  5. SPACE
    SPACE April 17 2013 10: 59
    Houston you have a problem. You can no longer launch a person into space!
    SPIRITofFREEDOM April 17 2013 12: 17
    Let the weapons of mass destruction be searched for on the asteroids Alkaida!
  7. jayich
    jayich April 17 2013 13: 53
    Well, there is positive news that we are testing a new engine at KBH (in the sense of a new development)
  8. Perchik
    Perchik April 17 2013 14: 26
    In the country of poverty and devastation, and that would be all to the moon ...
    But why be sad ... lived in shit for the last 30 years, why not continue to live like that?

    I would not give a penny to deep space!
    Only the orbit of the earth and satellites - that's it!
    1. Cat
      Cat April 17 2013 15: 14
      But what about space expansion, star wars with aliens ... What is it that will never be? crying Why did I then read fiction in my childhood? request
  9. Maximus
    Maximus April 17 2013 14: 31
    In NASA, there are visionaries and dreamers, Barak Huseynovich will clamp down on money for space, and even more so, since the first thing to do is fly to Iran.
  10. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg April 17 2013 19: 52
    The ideal option is called a small carbon space body weighing about 500-550 tons and a diameter from 7 to 10 meters. Such a small asteroid, if something goes wrong, should not cause serious harm.

    And if "accidentally" falls on Moscow, what? Will the harm be small too? By the way, if an asteroid rushes to the Earth at a cosmic speed, will it be possible to destroy it with a non-nuclear weapon?
    1. Containers
      Containers April 17 2013 20: 12
      An asteroid of this size will burn out before it reaches the Earth’s surface.
  11. SANAY
    SANAY April 17 2013 21: 42
    Well, that’s where they go with their debts!
    1. svp67
      svp67 April 17 2013 21: 45
      Quote: SANAY
      Well, that’s where they go with their debts!

      Away from lenders ...
  12. Know-nothing
    Know-nothing April 24 2013 21: 03
    NASA to choose between asteroid exploration and lunar base

    Great choice! That's really - someone has thin cabbage soup, while someone has small pearls.
  13. Rider
    Rider 7 May 2013 20: 31
    The ant works hard in the sizzling heat throughout the summer,
    builds his house and stocks up for the winter.
    Grasshopper thinks Ant and laughs, dances and plays all summer
    all the way ...
    Winter has come, Ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has neither food nor shelter, so he dies in the cold.

    The moral of this story: be responsible for yourself!