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jamescanvin
Just read this interesting article about LRO

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/28apr_lro.htm

QUOTE
"This is the first in a string of missions," says Gordon Chin, project scientist for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "More robots will follow, about one per year, leading up to manned flight" no later than 2020."


One per Year? Is this just wishful thinking or have any tentitve plans been mentioned for follow up missions after LRO? If the next one is going to be 2009/10 then I guess some desisions about it will have to be made fairly soon.

James
tedstryk
If they follow through with it, it will be really cool. I just hope this doesn't turn into a dead end that siphons money from the real space program and then never flies.

QUOTE (jamescanvin @ May 2 2005, 01:31 AM)
Just read this interesting article about LRO

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/28apr_lro.htm

QUOTE
"This is the first in a string of missions," says Gordon Chin, project scientist for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "More robots will follow, about one per year, leading up to manned flight" no later than 2020."


One per Year? Is this just wishful thinking or have any tentitve plans been mentioned for follow up missions after LRO? If the next one is going to be 2009/10 then I guess some desisions about it will have to be made fairly soon.

James
*

BruceMoomaw
Judging from what I've read:

(1) There will indeed be an Announcement of Opportunity put out for the proposed 2009-10 lunar lander later this year.

(2) Judging from some of the background documents for the first meeting of the Lunar Strategic Roadmap Committee ( http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/apio/pdf/moo...rief_taylor.pdf ), it has been decided pretty firmly that this lander will investigate southern polar ice. The chief remaining question seems to be how ambitious it should be.
tedstryk
That would relate strangely to New Frontiers.
JRehling
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ May 2 2005, 01:01 PM)
Judging from what I've read:

(1)  There will indeed be an Announcement of Opportunity put out for the proposed 2009-10 lunar lander later this year.

(2)  Judging from some of the background documents for the first meeting of the Lunar Strategic Roadmap Committee (  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/apio/pdf/moo...rief_taylor.pdf ), it has been decided pretty firmly that this lander will investigate southern polar ice.  The chief remaining question seems to be how ambitious it should be.
*


The document has a couple of key sentences that amount to the "original sin" of bad thinking upon which a bad megaprogram can be based. The first key question the document poses is "What will humans do on the Moon when they get there?" What an astonishing question! They will play chess, perhaps? Make quilts? It is 100% bass-ackwards to assume that you need to send humans to the Moon, then wonder what they will do when they get there! If you're not starting with a function that requires human presence on the Moon, and only then ask if it's worth putting humans there to carry that function out, then you've committed to poor planning.
Then, there is the related "assumption" that a sustained human presence on the Moon is essential to a dynamic program of robotic human exploration of the solar system. Why make an assumption of this kind rather than try to prove such a costly principle? How does a Neptune orbiter depend upon humans on the Moon? Will it pause there for a 248,000-mile checkup before continuing its cruise for the remaining 29 AU?
Some of the justifications for this nonsense are the ISS hobgoblins reincarnated, goals that amount to "learning how" to do such and such. Of course, many of the features of a human mission to Mars could be learned in submarines, if learning were the goal. Others are not learned from a lunar mission at all. (Seeing as how "living off the land" would be very different in the two places; the distance from Earth; even the local gravity is very different.) To gain experience, through lunar exploration, in 4 out of 6 technological challenges re: Mars missions; instead of 2 out of 6 that might benefit from a submarine mission requires an exceptional justification for the added expense.
At the back of which, there has yet to be an answer to the showstopper behind human exploration of Mars, which is how the risk of backwards contamination can be put to risk. With this thread left dangling, this entire tens-of-billions enterprise comes unraveled, and looks to be a way to spend an enormous amount of money pursuing a programatic dead end. Some nice lunar, and perhaps martian, science will come along the way, and sometime circa 2025, a new NASA Administrator will be able to look back on the stalled and failed and overbudget Bush plan, shake his head kindly, and promise a new satchel of bunk for the next 15 years' plan.

If there is truly a purpose for mankind that depends upon human lunar missions in the short run, it must be far more elaborate than furthering martian science. This entire program consists of a blindfolded person taking a stick and aiming for a pinata that is behind him and 5,000 miles away.
BruceMoomaw
Well, you know, Bush has already blindfolded himself once, taken a stick, and aimed at a much larger pinata that really is about 5000 miles away -- namely, Iraq. He was just doing it again here (and at least the Space Pinata isn't filled with bees).

At the first Mars Strategic Roadmap Committee meeting (which I attended), Sean O'Keefe showed up at the very start and blew menacingly through his mustache that the members were under no circumstances to actually question any of the official space goals that the Great Leader had stated in his official Initiative description -- including that manned return to the Moon. Their job was only to recommend how the Great Leader's goals could be achieved most economically. Nevertheless, by the third and last day of the meeting the members were in open rebellion; a whole series of them (including Sally Ride) said flatly that the Great Leader had better make up his damn mind whether he was really serious about initiating a manned Mars program in the fairly near future, because the manned lunar program was not only unnecessary for it but a serious bleed-off of resources from it.

Now, of course, new NASA Administrator Griffin has already started radically shaking up the entire manned program again -- including totally cancelling all of the Strategic Roadmapping Committees that dealt in any way with the design of the manned space program (plus the one on Nuclear Systems, which includes Project Prometheus). I don't yet know what he's up to; but I would hope that -- since Griffin, unlike O'Keefe, actually knows something about space technology and science -- we may be about to see a radical revision of the manned space program, both the current Shuttle/Station fiasco and the design of what will follow it. Hope springs eternal.
babakm
New article on LRO:

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/11jul_lroc.htm
SFJCody
LROC site up:

http://www.msss.com/lro/lroc/index.html
dilo
QUOTE (SFJCody @ Sep 4 2005, 04:10 PM)


Humm, 0.5 m/pixel... meanwhile, maybe someone didn't notice:SMART-1 views Glushko crater on the Moon
(150m/pixel sad.gif )
BruceMoomaw
Ominous indication tonight that LRO may be about to be cancelled due to lack of funds: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=18090 .

Griffin has already thrown the Prometheus nuclear-electric propulsion project to the wolves for the same reason: http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp...sdate=9/14/2005 . God knows how much more will have to be thrown from the sleigh thanks to NASA's continuing fiscal travails, culminating in at least $1.1 billion in short-term post-Katrina costs. You're gonna have to decide whether you want a manned or an unmanned space program, guys; there isn't enough money for both.
BruceMoomaw
Stop the presses! No sooner did I write that than I got two E-mail messages from insiders claiming that they have every reason to think LRO is still on, and that what that message actually indicates is just that NASA may be eliminating outside competitive contracts for its propulsion system and picking single-source procurement of an existing system to save time.
edstrick
Somebody said, yesterday -?on another thread?- that Lockmart was turning all propulsion hardware for the partially completed and now terminated hubble deorbit vehicle over to LRO, I think.
Redstone
Things are starting to move on the Lunar Lander, which will follow LRO in 2010. As Bruce hinted, its main target is polar ice.

NASA Press release


EDIT: October 6.

A few more details on the proposed lander: the project is aiming unofficially for Shackleton crater, and it may have some kind of surface explorer, possibly a hopper. (Terrain too tough for a rover.)
New Scientist article
jamescanvin
Decent Space Review article this week, giving a good overview of the various unmanned lunar missions currently planned. LRO, Chang’e-1, Chandrayaan-1, SELENE, etc and various follow ons.

James
Rakhir
QUOTE (dilo @ Sep 7 2005, 03:05 AM)
Humm, 0.5 m/pixel... meanwhile, maybe someone didn't notice:SMART-1 views Glushko crater on the Moon
(150m/pixel sad.gif )
*


Sure Dilo, the resolution of AMIE camera is not very impressive but don't forget that SMART-1 is a technologic demonstrator (ion propulsion, advanced solar panels, new communications and navigational techniques testing, miniaturization...). SMART means "Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology".

The miniaturization objective results in having a dozen of technological and scientific payloads weighting only 19 kg, for a total spacecraft mass of 370 kg.

Below, an idea of the size of the ultra-compact visible and near-IR camera.

Click to view attachment
ljk4-1
http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind...8980.xml&coll=1

http://www.al.com/printer/printer.ssf?/bas...8980.xml&coll=1

Marshall hopes lunar lander makes return trips

Scientist says probe isn't seen as 'one-shot effort'

Monday, January 02, 2006

By SHELBY G. SPIRES

Times Aerospace Writer, shelbys@htimes.com

Before America sends astronauts back to the moon, NASA scientists want to
find minerals and water that could help sustain life on the lunar surface.

About 10 people at Marshall Space Flight Center and another 40 at NASA sites
around the country are developing what NASA engineers believe will be a
complex, unmanned lunar lander that will serve as a test run for a manned
lunar lander.

The probe isn't considered a "one-shot effort like the unmanned lunar
efforts in the past," said John Horack, the program manager.

When Apollo astronauts were headed to the moon in the 1960s, NASA launched
several probes to orbit and land on the moon. This time, NASA wants to put
as much as possible into basically two probes: the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter and Marshall's lunar lander.

The rest at the above links.
AlexBlackwell
An interesting tidbit from the "In Orbit" section of the January 9, 2006, issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology:

QUOTE
In Orbit

NASA Shifts Lunar Orbiter To EELV; May Drop Probe Into Crater
Aviation Week & Space Technology
01/09/2006, page 15
Edited by Frank Morring, Jr.

NASA may try to drop a sensor into a permanently dark crater at one of the Moon's poles as early as 2008 to probe for water ice in the super-cold shade there. The idea is one option for using extra payload capacity gained from a decision to launch the planned Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) instead of a smaller Delta II. Also under study is the launch of one or more small communications/navigation satellites to support future lunar exploration missions. Scott Horowitz, associate administrator for exploration systems, dropped the Delta II to avoid stability problems with its spinning second stage, growing out of the heavy fuel load needed to get to the Moon. He will decide as early as this month between the larger Atlas V or Delta IV EELVs for the LRO launch. Either way, the LRO mission will gain at least 1,000 kg. (2,204 lb.) in capacity for a piggyback mission. Under the lander idea, some sort of small, inexpensive spacecraft would be sent into one of the polar craters where data from previous orbiters have suggested there may be water ice. Another proposal under study would send at least one microsat into lunar orbit to provide communications links and navigation services for subsequent surface explorers. Exploration managers also are surveying the NASA science directorate for potential add-on payloads.
AlexBlackwell
NASA Developing Robotic Scouts For Lunar Exploration
By Frank Morring, Jr.
Aviation Week & Space Technology
01/22/2006 09:18:54 PM
Phil Stooke
Alex, your posts are very useful... Thanks.

Phil
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 23 2006, 07:08 PM)
Alex, your posts are very useful... Thanks.
My pleasure, Phil. There are two more RLEP-related articles in the January 23, 2006, issue of AW&ST; unfortunately, online access to these articles is available only to subscribers. The second of these two "not-for-free" articles, "Robotic Lunar Lander Will Try For Water Samples" by Frank Morring, has an interesting passage:

QUOTE
THE TECHNOLOGY would be extensible to other landers, says Mike Booen, vice president for Raytheon's advanced missile defense product line, and would be available much faster and at lower cost than a new development. Raytheon is also studying whether it could be used on a piggyback LRO ground-sensor payload, one possibility under a new request for information put out by Ames Research Center, home of the RLEP program office (see p. 44).

If the secondary LRO payload is a lunar communications satellite, it could help solve the problem of communicating with sensors in deep craters, at least when the satellite is over the crater. Also being considered are trailing cables that would link the sensor with the lander on the crater rim. That, in turn, might help solve the problem of powering sensors in the dark crater bottoms. Other possibilities include batteries, fuel cells or a nuclear power source that converts heat from radioactive decay into electricity.
BruceMoomaw
"Trailing cables"? They're kidding, right? It reminds me of that old joke about the $50,000 electric car: $10,000 for the car and $40,000 for the cord.
Phil Stooke
The first time they try it, will they have to use training cables?

Phil
RNeuhaus
A new article from space.com

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Searching For A 'New Moon'

LRO is the first of the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program missions. After a planned launch by late fall 2008, LRO will take four days to make its way to the Moon and then orbit that chunk of "magnificent desolation" for nominally one year.

Now being competitively sought is a co-manifested "secondary" payload on the LRO launch. One idea floating about is ejecting some type of hardware from LRO to demonstrate a "first look" at the polar regions from the Moon's surface.


It will circle around the poles. This mean it is capable to map all Moon surfaces.

"LRO, in all respects, is a unique and challenging planetary mission," Jim Watzin, Planetary Division Chief for the Flight Programs and Projects Directorate at Goddard Space Flight Center explained to SPACE.com. For example, LRO will fly within 31 miles (50 kilometers) of the lunar surface for at least one year in order to conduct a comprehensive and detailed mapping mission. That's a feat that has never before been attempted, he noted.

So low and the Moon's magnetic surface is very unstable due to the asymmetry of the lunar gravitational field. Why there is uninform gravitational field of Moon? Due to Marias lavas? Will it use Ion propulsion to maintain the Moon's orbit?


Take note. For you "Apollo landings were a hoax" believers LROC's sightseeing abilities should set the record straight.

Hope to see again the buried and dirty Apollos' pictures...Not only to American but Soviet landing sities on the Moon.

LRO will give extra special attention to the relatively unexplored polar regions on the Moon.


Unresolved is the issue of polar volatiles as a resource—especially water-ice. The hunt for water-ice on the cold Moon is a hot-button topic. Among a bevy of sensors, LRO is outfitted with equipment to chip away at the ice-on-the-Moon matter.

That is good enough since the previous pictures from South pole is not able to show in detail on the bottom of craters near to South Pole such as Shackleton and its neigboors which are iluminated for the 80% of the lunar day. The other interesting and worth to take pictures is the Peary Crater from the North Pole.


If present, water-ice would be a nifty resource. It could be processed into oxygen, water, and rocket fuel for use by future lunar explorers. Still, whether that icy material is truly tucked away at the Moon's poles is arguable.

Perhaps, these Moon ices would be a good Whisky brinds for astronauts to relax the stressfull (I think so) 3-4 days Moon's trip.

"There's clearly something going on at the lunar poles that we don't fully understand," said David Paige, a space researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. He's the lead scientist on LRO's Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment. It will chart the temperature of the entire lunar surface at roughly 985 feet (300 meter) horizontal scales to identify cold-traps and potential ice deposits.

I have heard that the lowest Moon temperature is recorded in the South Pole Aitken Basis where is located the crater Shackleton with perhaps -230 degree of centigrade. That is so cold as Pluto since that low temperature is due to the continuous shadows in the south polar craters cause the floors of these formations to maintain a temperature. The night moon in middle latitudes usually lowers to around minus 145-150 degree of centigrade.



Much more to read at http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/06...technology.html

Rodolfo
Phil Stooke
The irregularities in the gravitational field are (simply put) caused by the excess mass of those mare lavas. They filled holes in a surface that had isostatically adjusted after the basin impacts, but then became too rigid to adjust again after the lava filled the depressions.

LRO will use regular chemical thrusters to maintain its low orbit.

It will map the whole moon at low resolution, but only select areas at high resolution.

And it will try to image landing and impact sites. But it will not necessarily get all of them because we don't know where they all are with sufficient accuracy to hit them with the high resolution images. For instance Lunokhod 1 is uncertain by at least 5 km, Luna 9 by probably 40 km. Apollo landing sites will be no problem. of course.

Phil
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 8 2006, 10:01 PM)
And [LRO] will try to image landing and impact sites.  But it will not necessarily get all of them because we don't know where they all are with sufficient accuracy to hit them with the high resolution images.  For instance Lunokhod 1 is uncertain by at least 5 km, Luna 9 by probably 40 km.  Apollo landing sites will be no problem. of course.

Yes, the Russian landing sites will be hard if not impossible to find.

I believe Clementine UVVIS had the spatial resolution to spectrally resolve the individual sampling stations at the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 landing sites. On the other hand, the precise locations of the Luna and Lunokhod sites are virtually unknown, even to the Russians. In fact, Blewitt et al. [1997] reported an excellent linear correlation between the spectral Fe and Ti parameters and the average FeO and TiO2 contents of lunar soils that were sampled at each station/site for the final three lunar missions. And they felt that their correlation was strong enough to permit extrapolation to the Moon as a whole. Interestingly, they reported that the reported Russian Luna 24 site does not fit this model, which led them to believe that the site is either nonrepresentative or that the Russian reported coordinates are in error.

Reference:

Blewitt, D.T., et al., "Clementine images of the lunar sample-return stations: Refinement of FeO and TiO2 mapping techniques", J. Geophys. Res. 102, 16319-16325 (1997).
Phil Stooke
Alex, you can't really say that Clementine 'resolved' the Apollo sampling sites - which in effect are only as big as the scoop or the rock which was picked up. What you can say is that we know which Clementine UVVIS pixel the sampling site is in. So the multispectral characteristics of that pixel can be described and searched for elsewhere.

My LPSC abstract (print-only, as I can't be there - look at the moon section under 'print-only) discusses this topic.

Here's an example. This is the Luna 24 landing area. If L24 was 10 km off its predicted location it could lie on the higher albedo unit at lower left or on Fahrenheit ejecta, or on a mare ridge (though that's not likely to differ chemically from its surroundings). THe grid is 0.25 degrees. The image is from the Apollo 15 panoramic camera.

Click to view attachment

Phil
Bob Shaw
Phil:

At least with the later Apollo flights and the Soviet rovers there's the prospect of seeing an albedo difference resulting from the passage of the vehicle, which may lead to some accurate LRO camera pointing (obviously not really a problem with regard to Apollo sites, which are well known, but potentially a method of finding the Lunokhods). After all, look at MGS and the MER tracks - I doubt if a mere forty years of space weathering will have wiped out the tracks on the Moon!

Bob Shaw
Phil Stooke
It might *just* be possible, Bob, but the tracks will not really have much if any albedo difference - Apollo disturbed soil was only darker near the LM, where the descent engine exhaust brightened the surface and any disturbance exposed darker material again (probably a texture difference rather than true albedo). LRV tracks far from the LM were not darker.

Much more useful for the Lunokhods will be the pattern of larger craters along the route. We don't know exactly where Lk1 is, but Soviet maps of the route show the pattern of craters nearby. That will be visible in LRO images if they happen to fall in the right area. Lk2 should be easier to find as we know its location relative to nearby craters fairly well. It will still be barely resolved, though.

Phil
ljk4-1
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 9 2006, 08:23 AM)
It might *just* be possible, Bob, but the tracks will not really have much if any albedo difference - Apollo disturbed soil was only darker near the LM, where the descent engine exhaust brightened the surface and any disturbance exposed darker material again (probably a texture difference rather than true albedo).  LRV tracks far from the LM were not darker. 

Much more useful for the Lunokhods will be the pattern of larger craters along the route.  We don't know exactly where Lk1 is, but Soviet maps of the route show the pattern of craters nearby.  That will be visible in LRO images if they happen to fall in the right area.  Lk2 should be easier to find as we know its location relative to nearby craters fairly well.  It will still be barely resolved, though.

Phil
*


Don't they still use the laser reflector on Lunakhod 1, or at least they did.
I recall they could not do this with Lunakhod 2 as they were not able to
position it properly at the premature end of its mission.

Couldn't they just check the records and have literal pinpoint accuracy as to
L1's location?

http://www.astrosurf.com/lunascan/luna_17.htm
Phil Stooke
No. That information, which is repeated on many websites, is exactly the opposite of the truth. Lk2's reflector can still be used. Lk1 has not been used since early in the mission. There is a new attempt being made this year to reacquire Lk1 with improved equipment, and a new prediction of its location (made my me). I have presented evidence that Lk1 is about 5 km west of the position usually quoted, and that point will be searched later this year. But we don't know if Lk1 is actually in a suitable orientation to give a reflection.

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2005/pdf/1194.pdf

(the abstract mentions a 2004 attempt which was in fact not made).

Phil
Phil Stooke
One final point, often not appreciated. The laser would give a lat-long position (you can't see the spot illuminated by the beam). We still need to know the location relative to local features like craters. Since lunar maps still contain many positional inaccuracies, the laser would still leave us uncertain by several km, but it would narrow the search in images.

Phil
AlexBlackwell
Kaboom! Ancient impacts scarred moon to its core, may have created 'man in the moon'
The Ohio State University Research News
February 8, 2006

Reference:

Impact-induced mass flow effects on lunar shape and the elevation dependence of nearside maria with longitude
Laramie V. Potts and Ralph R.B. von Frese
Physics of The Earth and Planetary Interiors 153, 165-174 (2005).
Abstract
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 9 2006, 02:46 AM)
Alex, you can't really say that Clementine 'resolved' the Apollo sampling sites - which in effect are only as big as the scoop or the rock which was picked up.

Given your knowledge of the subject, Phil, I wouldn't be surprised if you've read the Blewitt et al. paper. However, for those who haven't, Blewitt et al. have a different definition of "sampling sites."

The authors state, "Apollos 11, 12, and 14 and Lunas 16, 20, and 24 sampled either single points or small areas around the landing site. Individual sampling locations for these missions cannot be reliably separated in the Clementine images. However, the availability of the lunar roving vehicle on the Apollo 'J' missions (15, 16, and 17) greatly extended the range of surface operations. We are thus able to resolve the majority of the sampling stations at these landing sites in images collected by Clementine."

For the Apollo "J" missions, Blewitt et al. further write, "Boxes of 3 X 3 pixels were averaged for most stations. At a few locations where two stations were close together, slightly larger boxes were used to average the two. The data set includes eight stations at Apollo 15, seven at Apollo 16, and 18 (including rover stations) at Apollo 17."
RNeuhaus
Very interesting article: Kaboom! Ancient impacts scarred Moon to its core, may have created "Man in the Moon".

I have copied the two last paragraphs:

von Frese said a lunar base would be needed before scientists can more completely answer these questions.

Potts agreed. "Once we have more rock samples and soil samples, we will have a lot more to go on. Nothing is better than having a person on the ground," he said.


Now, the Moon is still a misterious world astro sphere and it must be visited again very soon!

Rodolfo
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 9 2006, 02:23 PM)
It might *just* be possible, Bob, but the tracks will not really have much if any albedo difference - Apollo disturbed soil was only darker near the LM, where the descent engine exhaust brightened the surface and any disturbance exposed darker material again (probably a texture difference rather than true albedo).  LRV tracks far from the LM were not darker. 

Phil
*


Phil:

I didn't realise that the dark tracks were only local to the LM - I always assumed that the spray from the walking astronauts (not to mention the LRV 'rooster tail') was darker than the top of the soil.

Something learned!

Bob Shaw
dvandorn
In fact, Bob, the footprints and wheel tracks near the LMs were not at all darker than the general soil at the landing sites. The LM DPS exhaust would sweep the top layer of dust grains from the regolith during landing, resulting in a temporary brightening of the soil around the LMs. "Darkened" footprints and wheel tracks were simply *restoring* the soil's natural albedo within the splash of brightened soil.

There is some question, I guess, as to whether or not the local soil brightening around the LMs still exists. I don't believe any of the Clementine or SMART-1 or Lunar Prospector images were able to answer that question -- though Phil probably knows the answer to that better than I do.

-the other Doug
Phil Stooke
There are no lunar prospector images! And the others are not detailed enough to resolve tracks. We'll have to wait for LRO.

The sampling site thing is just a different way of looking at it - in effect they are saying what I did, that they identify a pixel or group of pixels containing the sample site (the 'station'). But it can still contain more than one type of surface. For instance at Apollo 14 Station C on the rim of Cone crater the crew sampled soil and rocks. One UVVIS pixel contains lots of soil and quite a few rocks. None of the individual samples are resolved - rocks with different compositions, from different depths maybe, are all averaged in one pixel. I think we're saying the same.

Phil
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (dvandorn @ Feb 9 2006, 11:54 PM)
In fact, Bob, the footprints and wheel tracks near the LMs were not at all darker than the general soil at the landing sites.  The LM DPS exhaust would sweep the top layer of dust grains from the regolith during landing, resulting in a temporary brightening of the soil around the LMs.  "Darkened" footprints and wheel tracks were simply *restoring* the soil's natural albedo within the splash of brightened soil.

There is some question, I guess, as to whether or not the local soil brightening around the LMs still exists.  I don't believe any of the Clementine or SMART-1 or Lunar Prospector images were able to answer that question -- though Phil probably knows the answer to that better than I do.

-the other Doug
*


oDoug:

Yes, I had the mechanism 'backwards' - and, taking the DPS plume notion one step further, presumably the ascent engine firing again scoured the surface, as well as blasting bits of foil around the area. Apollo 12 was the dustiest landing site, AIRC, so were any pre-landing vs post-landing vs post-liftoff images taken from the CSM? Over a few hours the shadows wouldn't have changed much for the first two, but there's be quite a change between first and last, and that would obviously mask any effect.

Bob Shaw
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 10 2006, 03:45 AM)
The sampling site thing is just a different way of looking at it - in effect they are saying what I did, that they identify a pixel or group of pixels containing the sample site (the 'station').  But it can still contain more than one type of surface.  For instance at Apollo 14 Station C on the rim of Cone crater the crew sampled soil and rocks.  One UVVIS pixel contains lots of soil and quite a few rocks. None of the individual samples are resolved - rocks with different compositions, from different depths maybe, are all averaged in one pixel.  I think we're saying the same.

So do I, Phil. I just wanted to make sure no one else understood me to be implying that Clementine UVVIS could resolve individual rocks, soil scoops, etc.
dvandorn
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Feb 10 2006, 06:00 AM)
...Apollo 12 was the dustiest landing site, AIRC, so were any pre-landing vs post-landing vs post-liftoff images taken from the CSM? Over a few hours the shadows wouldn't have changed much for the first two, but there's be quite a change between first and last, and that would obviously mask any effect.
*

Let's see -- the Apollo 12 CSM didn't have any cameras with enough "throw" to get the kind of resolution you'd need to observe that effect. I think the longest lens they carried for the CSM's Hasselblad was a 250mm. Dick Gordon did try to capture the view through the CSM's optics on his 16mm movie camera, and suceeded in getting an overexposed, washed-out image in which you can sort of recognize Surveyor Crater, but you can't really resolve the actual LM landing point. And the image was so overexposed that any local brightening was washed out.

The only other way to have documented the "bright splash" of the LM's landing site would have been the 16mm movie of the LM liftoff from inside the cabin.... except that the camera malfunctioned and there is no film of the Apollo 12 lunar ascent.

In fact, though, the Apollo 12 landing site probably wasn't all that much dustier than any of the other mare landing sites. Pete brought his LM down by curving along the north rim of the Surveyor Crater, and dropped pretty much straight down from about 200 feet directly over the northwest rim. Crater rims on the Moon seem to display less consolidation in their regolith -- the slope keeps the surficial layer from "firming up" as much as it does on more level ground. At least, all of the Apollo moonwalkers reported that the dust on relatively "flat" ground let them sink in less than an inch, but that crater rims were "soft" and that they sank in several inches on most crater rims. This was pretty ubiquitous at all of the landing sites, as I recall.

So, Pete's Intrepid blew up so much dust because 1) it kept blowing over the same spot for the final 200 feet of descent, and 2) it was blowing down on a crater rim that, by its nature, was composed of looser and less consolidated dust than they would have encountered on the adjacent plains.

To back this up, I'll point out that the second dustiest landing was Apollo 15's, during which the LM made a near-vertical final descent from about 150 feet, with the engine plume impinging directly on the rim of a 10-meter shallow crater. (The engine bell even got whacked by this small crater's rim, since the LM landed directly astride its western rim.) So, dustiness of landing seems to have been controlled by whether or not the exhaust was plowing up a crater rim during an extended near-vertical descent.

-the other Doug
ljk4-1
If this is any help, Lunar Orbiter 3 was able to image Surveyor 1. In magnified views, you could even see the lander projecting its shadow across the lunar surface.

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-168/section2b.htm#96

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/imgcat/html/obj...lo3_h194_1.html

http://www.astrosurf.com/lunascan/Surveyor1.htm
BruceMoomaw
On Apollo 12 , Dick Gordon -- from lunar orbit -- saw not only the LM but the Surveyor clearly through the CSM's navigation telescope.
dvandorn
Gordon saw both the LM and Surveyor with his eye, yes. They didn't really show up in the 16mm film frames, was my point.

-the other Doug
ljk4-1
Dolores Beasley
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: (202) 358-1753

Nancy Neal Jones
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Phone: (301) 286-0039

Feb. 17, 2006

RELEASE: 06-065

NASA'S Lunar Orbiter Team Passes Preliminary Design Review

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team recently passed its Preliminary Design Review heralding the start of the mission confirmation process.

The first in a series of robotic missions to the moon, the lunar orbiter is scheduled for launch in October 2008. It will carry six science instruments and a technology demonstration. The mission goal is to develop new approaches and technologies to support human space exploration to Mars and other destinations.

The preliminary design review concluded Feb. 9. The results of the review, on-going assessments of project cost and schedule will support a confirmation review this spring.

The confirmation review represents NASA's formal decision for authorizing additional work and will set the project's cost estimate. The mission's Critical Design Review is scheduled for fall. It will represent the completion of detailed system design, the transition to assembly and integration of the mission elements.

For information about NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate on the Web, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

This Article URL:

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/feb/H...ar_orbiter.html
PhilHorzempa
[size=2]Does anyone have recent info on the RLEP-2 unmanned lunar lander?
From what I can make out, APL was awarded the contract to design a Lunar
Lander System a few months ago, with launch planned for January 2011. However,
I haven't found a written or visual description of what might be planned for this
lander.

The LRO is RLEP-1, but it appears that the RLEP-2 lander doesn't have
a spacecraft name. How about calling it Surveyor 8? Do we want to start a
separate thread for this mission?
Phil Stooke
RLEP-2 will be a brand new spacecraft, so they will want a brand new name. I think it's still a bit early for any hard news about the vehicle, and (more in my line) any future landing sites. I imagine we will be seeing landings at one or both poles, since they are clearly high priorities, but I hope we will see missions to other locations as well. I would like to see a rover mission to D-Caldera (AKA Ina) among other places.

Phil
BruceMoomaw
NASA has made it clear that it will land at a polar site to check out the ice deposits -- but the initial grotesquely ambitious plan to land a huge spacecraft based in many respects on the planned CEV lunar lander at the permanently illuminated edge of a crater, and then drive a rover down for dozens of km across the permanently dark interior of the crater to look for ice, has been quietly dumped in the last few months. The plan now is to send down a relatively small lander directly into the darkened area -- and then either dispatch a rover for local studies, or actually have the entire lander use its remaining fuel to hop from place to place on the suface for that surface.

I'm working off memories; it would take me a while to dig up the references, and frankly I don't feel like doing it tonight.
BruceMoomaw
I've dug up some more on this. It turns out I was wrong; they HAVE decided to go for MSFC's huge, hulking lunar lander that will weigh 10,000 kg on launch and 4500 on landing and be able to carry up to 3500 kg payload -- the reason being that they hope to used the same lander design later on as an unmanned resupply lander for human expeditions, "a lunar equivalent of the Russian Progress vehicle". And it will use an RL-10 engine with a 1:10 throttle range. The mission cost is projected at about $750 million.

There's still quite a lot of flexibility in the details -- but the landing site, at least, seems to have been pretty firmly settled on: a 1 x 5 km eternally sunlit spot on the rim of Shackleton Crater near the south pole, which is about as rugged as the Apollo 16 landing site. The crater itself, whose permanently dark slopes seem to run to a maximum of about 30-35 degrees, will likely be explored by a rover dispatched from the lander and based generally on the Apollo rover design, which seems capable of handling such slopes -- although it's possible that a propulsive hopper may be substituted. The rover will use RTGs to recharge batteries for peak loads (although it's possible that the RTGs will recharge fuel cells instead, since there's a desire to use this mission to test as much of the manned-landing paraphernalia as possible), and it will navigate in the dark using high-resolution lidar, as we thought. Its main function will be not only to look for water ice and other frozen volatiles in the soil, but to actually test the ability to extract them from the soil and turn the water into usable H2 and O2.

Meanwhile, the main lander -- which will use a descent camera and scanning lidar to create a very detailed map of its landing area for possible later use by manned crews -- will also run some experiments having to do with the general mechanical consistency and overall composition of the local soil, and it will also carry the first navigation beacon for the guidance of later manned crews to the same spot. It will also likely carry some biological experiments to test the effects of prolonged 1/6 G (and lunar-level radiation) on living things -- and, since all this will still leave it and the rover with a huge unused payload capability, they will likely carry some experiments paid for by commercial businesses, and maybe even a little equipment such as solar arrays for the later use of manned expeditions. Finally, the decision has been made to have the craft release a comsat/navsat into a 2000-km polar orbit before landing to allow constant contact of both the lander and the rover with Earth -- and that excess payload capacity could allow it to carry as many as 3 additional such satellites to complete the network needed for manned expeditions.

Where'd I find all this out? Well, partly from RLEP-2's very preliminary official webpage ( http://sms.msfc.nasa.gov/vp40.html ), Aviation Week's November article ( http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/chan...s/LUNA11155.xml ), and Doug Cooke's december letter announcing the initial choices made about the mission ( http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=18919 ) -- but mostly from the very helpful DigitalSpace page on the October LEAG-SSR Conference ( http://www.digitalspace.com/presentations/leag-ssr-2005/ ), and its links both to Mark Borkowski and Paul Spudis' talks on the mission ( http://www.digitalspace.com/presentations/...kowski-rlep.mp3 ; http://www.digitalspace.com/presentations/...dis-rlep-qa.mp3 ), and to some of their slides ( http://www.digitalspace.com/presentations/...lep2/index.html ). Unfortunately, there's no slide of the rover's strawman payload -- but one abstract at this year's STAIF conference mentions in passing that the "RESOLVE" package has been already selected as one of RLEP-2's experiments (which must be on the rover), and there's a nice description of that included in http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/leag2005/.../01_sanders.pdf (pg. 19-21).

And that's all I've been able to dig up so far. How much of this -- if any -- will actually fly, God knows; but they do seem to have a firm idea at this point of what they want to do at an absolute minimum.
Phil Stooke
Thanks for this, Bruce. Very nice.

The landing area would be in the region I illustrated in this post:

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.p...ype=post&id=640

(the big black circle is Shackleton crater).

Phil
Jim from NSF.com
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Apr 5 2006, 08:12 AM) *
they HAVE decided to go for MSFC's huge, hulking lunar lander that will weigh 10,000 kg on launch and 4500 on landing and be able to carry up to 3500 kg payload -- the reason being that they hope to used the same lander design later on as an unmanned resupply lander for human expeditions, And it will use an RL-10 engine with a 1:10 throttle range.


The use of LH2 and LO2 will cause issues for whom ever flies this lander. Launch pads are not set up to supply cryos to spacecraft. Add a couple more $100M for pad mods. I doubt it will fly on a CLV since it will need an3rd stage
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