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December 01, 2010

Carnival of Space 179

The Carnival of Space 179 is up at Weird Sciences

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What was the best way to use the Saturn V to reach the moon in retrospect ? Lunar Surface Rendezvous and other methods would have enabled 3 times more payload to be landed on the moon and if what was landed was mining and processing equipment a facility 100 times larger could have been built than what was landed.

* The key thing is-- the Moon will stop an incoming impactor for you, give you free radiation shielding if you pile it on, and give you mine-able resources—and those resource piles and all your scrap landed boosters do not need to have their orbit maintained at the expense of fuel.

* The second expedition might land at the same site, with another module for expansion (the LASS booster) and perhaps a rover; the third might carry a small foundry kit to melt down one of the boosters (each with 13 tons of metal) and using the motors and bearings from the rover, make a much more comfortable and larger rover. Six lunar landings (the same as actually happened) would have built up quite a lunar infrastructure

* we could have brought to orbit nearly one hundred 30 ton External Tanks of the Space Shuttle to make a station 6 times the size of the ISS.

* It is not difficult to imagine mining and processing 10 to 100 times what you landed with even in the early stages.

The Vasimr 200 kilowatt plasma rocket achieved its full power milestone


Centauri Dreams looks at Brown Dwarf's

The WISE mission has received a lot of press in terms of discovering nearby brown dwarfs, but it’s clear that finding low-temperature objects is a major investigation at many Earth-bound sites as well. That includes the UKIRT (United Kingdom Infrared Telescope) Deep Sky Survey’s project to find the coolest objects in our galaxy, an effort that has paid off in the form of a unique binary system. One of the stars here is a cool, methane-rich T-dwarf, while the other is a white dwarf, the two low-mass stars orbiting each other though separated by a quarter of a light year.



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