Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to develop an excitement for a future that includes the use of space and the Moon

Well on the last post, Possible Future Space Exploration and The Tasks Needed To Make It Happen, I sounded like it would be hard to generate an interest in a future that included space and going to the Moon with humans, and yet the past Apollo missions continue to make impressions on those that understand and make possible for the next generation to experience the excitement of a vision.

David Robertson is experimenting with micro computers and passed me a link about Jeff Highsmith's Bedroom Apollo Mission.
Jeff Highsmith is from Make. His Mission Control Desk (a homework desk which, when you’ve finished learning your spellings and writing about what you did on your holidays, magically turns itself into an Apollo Mission Control station, complete with bleeps, bloops, and the ability to disastrously stir the oxygen tanks) is a project that got a lot of you very, very excited when we featured it. Jeff is King of the Maker Parents.

He’s not been idle since then - after all, he has two sons, and the younger one needed a project for his own bedroom to go alongside his brother’s envy-inspiring Mission Control Desk. This is what he ended up with. Please make sure you’re giving your jaw plenty of support before hitting play, so it doesn’t hit the floor when it falls open with amazement.
The must see video - LRK -
Here is the "Make" website for Jeff''s  Making Fun: Kids Room Spacecraft with a commentary and images of the different stages.
Do take a look and then think how the script he has could be written to talk about going back to the Moon to do real work.
- LRK -

Kids Room Spaceship
When I was building the Mission Control Desk for my older son’s room, it became clear that we would also need a spaceship to go with it. Over the last four months, in scraps of time between other roles, I built a spaceship for my younger son’s room. It has a control panel full of interesting displays and whiz-bang space sounds. A joystick controls lights and sounds for the engine and thrusters. The payload bay has a motorized hatch and contains a robot arm that can be remotely operated over video feed to deploy payloads like toy satellites. Headsets provide an audio link between the spacecraft and Mission Control in the other room, so my sons can practice collaborating on their space missions. The above video is a great overview of the main features of the spaceship, but if you would like to know a few more implementation details, keep reading.

Another look at Jeff's play list of the individual projects.
- LRK -

These micro processors beat my one micro switch on the steps up to my room over the garage that let the Erector Set motor open my door.
- LRK -

The little microcontroller that launched a maker revolution.

Raspberry Pi
The embedded Linux board that fits in your hand — and in your next project.


Can we take images of the Apollo Lunar Module and use them to make our own simulators for going back to the Moon?
The book, "VIRTUAL LM" is a good pictorial reference.
Virtual LM: A Pictorial Essay of the Engineering and Construction of the Apollo Lunar Module: Apogee Books Space Series 47 [Paperback]

There are plenty of reference at the Apollo Archive Project.

Maybe you have seen the simple Lunar Lander simulation.
I would really like to see more from NASA and as my granddaughter said, "ASK YOUR PHONE", so I did.

Version 1.0 of the NASA Lunar Electric Rover App is now available!

In Version 1.0:

Lunar Electric Rover (LER) Photo Gallery
Interactive LER Viewer
Awesome conceptual animation
LER Simulator
Multiple difficulty levels

Application Description

Welcome to the NASA Lunar Electric Rover (LER) Simulator. You don’t need a driver’s license, but you still need to buckle up as the LER Simulator gives you a glimpse of what it might be like to support the activities of a functioning Lunar Outpost. Get busy. You never know if your skills here will become a major part of the NASA Astronaut application process in the future.

LER App Menu Page


That doesn't help me on my android Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
Took a look at the next link below the one I found and we have a list of applications.
Again, more for Apple than Android.  :-)
- LRK -

Connect & Collaborate with NASA

Station & Shuttle

Ascent: Space Station Crew: › iPhone/iPad→
Ascent: Commemorating Shuttle: › iPad→
30 Years Shuttlebook:  iPad→
AstroApp: Space Shuttle Crew: › iPhone/iPad→

Solar System

3D Sun:› iPhone/iPad→
Cassini:› iPhone→
Comet Quest: › iPhone→
Curiosity: › Windows Phone→
Go StarGaze: › iPhone→
Grail Mission App: › iPhone→
Lunar Electric Rover Simulator App: ›  iPhone→
MESSENGER: Orbiting Mercury: › iPhone/iPad →
Moon Tours:  › iPhone/iPad →
NASA Be A Martian: › iPhone/iPad→› Android→, or › Windows Phone→
NASA HIAD: › iPhone/iPad→
NASA Science: A Journey of Discovery: › iPad→
NASA Space Weather App: › iPhone→
NASA Visualization Explorer: ›iPhone/iPad→
Space Communications and Navigation: NetworKing: › IPhone/iPad→
Spacecraft 3D: › iPhone/iPad App→ or › Android→
Space Junk Sammy: › iPhone/iPad→
Space Place Prime: › iPhone→or ›iPad→


My problem is making the possible, seem possible.  No one could break the 4 min mile, until someone did, no one could do a Quad in ice skating, until someone did. It seems to mean at our current pace it will be China, Russia, India or maybe even Italy, who will get back to the Moon to do something profitable. 

What is the purpose of the global exploration strategy?

The Global Exploration Strategy, which includes input from more than 1,000 individuals representing 14 of the world's space agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations and commercial interests, was intended to address two overarching issues: "Why we are returning to the moon," and "What we are planning to do when we get there?"

Participation by other nations, as well as commercial interests, is an important aspect of implementing the Vision for Space Exploration. The process of developing a global strategy created an opportunity to explore in greater depth the reasons other countries might have for going to the moon, potential activities associated with lunar exploration, and to understand commercial interest in the overall Vision. The global exploration strategy is the result of a lengthy dialogue among potential stakeholders.

How was the global exploration strategy dialogue conducted?

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin initiated the dialogue in order to discover fresh ideas and gauge international interest in the U.S. agency's plan for implementing the Vision for Space Exploration – particularly with regard to the moon and Mars. From April 2006 through December 2006, NASA and representatives from 13 other space agencies met regularly with non-governmental organizations and private-sector entities to identify goals and objectives, and to begin to understand what exploration of the moon might mean for each nation. NASA coordinated the multilateral discussions. The agency's approach was inclusive.

What space agencies participated?

In addition to NASA, space exploration experts from Australia, Canada, China, the European Space Agency, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine participated.

What did the multilateral discussions produce?

The discussions generated agreement on six strategic themes for lunar exploration, 180 possible objectives within those themes, and a draft framework document. More information about the themes and objectives can be found on the Exploration website at The participants agreed on the themes that answer the question "Why return to the moon?" The themes are:

1. Exploration Preparation: To use the moon to prepare for future human and robotic missions to Mars and other destinations
2. Scientific Knowledge: To pursue scientific activities addressing fundamental questions about Earth, the solar system, the universe and our place in them
3. Sustained Presence: To extend human presence to the moon
4. Economic Expansion: To expand Earth's economic sphere to encompass the moon and to pursue lunar activities with direct benefits to life on Earth
5. Global Partnership: To strengthen existing international partnerships and create new ones
6. Inspiration: To engage, inspire and educate the public.

The Global Exploration Strategy is a work in progress. It will inform future discussions between NASA and its partners on areas of collaboration and cooperation in the exploration of the moon, Mars, and beyond.
What are NASA’s priorities in terms of capabilities to develop?

Such priorities include, but are not limited to, space transportation (including the Orion crew exploration vehicle, the Ares I and Ares V rockets, and the Lunar Surface Access Module), initial communications and navigation capabilities, the development of a suit for extravehicular activity on the lunar surface, providing a closed-loop life support system, and obtaining knowledge about the effects of the lunar environment on humans. Consistent with broader U.S. policy objectives, further discussion, study, and evaluation of these issues will take place as part of the process of developing a final lunar exploration program.

What objectives would NASA hope to accomplish on the moon?

As part of developing the global exploration strategy, NASA identified 40 objectives of particular interest. These include those activities associated with preparing for human missions to Mars and other destinations, providing the capabilities to support scientific investigations, actions that would enable an extended/sustained human presence on the moon, such as demonstrating the use of in situ resources and measuring lunar phenomena, measuring lunar resources and characterizing their possible use, activities that enable international participation, and activities that engage, inspire, and help educate the public. Unlike the sorties to different locations that characterized Project Apollo in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an outpost would enable a sustained human presence on the moon that meets the priorities of the Vision for Space Exploration.

Do read the whole link, and note the year 2006.  Now here we are in 2014.  Maybe not make those 2020 predictions.
Recent email exchanges with Dr. David Schrunk, "The Moon" left me with this suggestion.
- LRK -

A couple of parting thoughts...

To solve problems and improve human technological expertise, engineers need ideas, knowledge, tools, and resources.  Ideas and knowledge -- they have plenty. The present set of tools (computers, 3-D printers, earth-moving machines...) are highly capable -- marvelous.  Main challenge for engineers, then, is to obtain resources (finances, raw materials, energy).   Which brings us to the Moon!  The Moon will provide us with infinite material resources (lunar regolith, harvestable near Earth asteroids, asteroid belt [eventually]) and abundant, continuous energy (sunlight).

So.  All we need to do is arrange the financing for a small (initially robotic) lunar base that has the "seed" tools needed to grow an autonomous manufacturing facility on the Moon.  Then engineers will have everything needed to explore and colonize the solar system, supply the Earth with all of its energy and material needs (i.e., greatly improve living standards and quality of life on Earth), and launch robotic emissaries on missions to the stars.

The Moon is the key (am I being redundant? -- sorry about that).

Second point.  Lava tubes / lava chambers on the Moon will enable us to "go underground" where humans and machines will be protected from the radiation, micrometeorites, and temperature extremes of the lunar surface.  By going underground (e.g., with inflatable habitats), we will create and grow Earth-like environments that will be safe and comfortable.  Result from this effort is that we will become a multi-planet spacefaring species. Interesting thing is that we require no technological breakthroughs to make this possible -- can be done today.

Anyway, here's a photo of the opening to a large underground chamber on the Moon (opening is 60-80 meters diameter and depth to underground floor is also 60-80 meters).  Maybe use this chamber to create a safe and comfortable home for 1000 people with inflatable habitats, etc?


The above with permission Dr. Shrunk.

I hope we can help our students that are in the pipe line to be inquisitive and interested in the "What IF" problems where they learn to think outside the box and attack problems with an "How can I?" attitude, rather than "I can't", maybe we will have a chance at developing our nearest neighbor, the MOON. 

Have fun with lunar robots, send lunar maintainers, send lunar engineers, send lunar scientists, send lunar dreamers.  Will look more into what is being done with the subject Lunar games. Maybe someone is interested in our own Luna right near by that needs to be developed.

How to develop an excitement for a future that includes the use of space and the Moon.

Moon 101. 09. Future Scientific Exploration of the Moon
Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -