A New Era - To the Moon to stay
Hey you all! Usually, I do a lot of preamble with these videos. I'm guessing if you're watching this one, you've watched plenty of the others. I’m going to just jump straight into it. There's useful stuff in the other videos especially preamble stuff. Thanks for joining and let's jump straight into it.
This document that we've been referring to this The New Era document really has five main points. The one we're going to be paying attention to this time is just going to the moon to stay. Honestly, it's my favorite topic. I’m super excited about this one.
It makes me laugh when a document like this says: The Moon is closer to the Earth than any other planetary body. I really hope that the people reading this document already know that. I just literally started laughing when I read this. But they make the point it's about logistics and transportation and being close it makes it easier. It's way easier than a direct human mission to Mars. They're making this contrast. I guess I understand their point. But I really do hope that the folks reading this document and acting on it building policies around this policy. I hope they already know that part.
This is a bit contentious. Reducing overall risks to Mars! I've met Robert Zubrin several times. He is one of the guy's architects of the direct to Mars philosophy. Super smart guy. For a long time, I think he's changed his tune recently. But for a long time, he's like let's just go to Mars. I'm in the other camp. I’m in the camp that says the better we understand how to do lunar missions, the better we're going to accomplish Martian missions. I like this step but definitely, other people have different opinions and different philosophies. I think developing and demonstrating technologies on the Moon makes the idea of going to Mars smarter and safer and ultimately more feasible.
I also know Dr. Robert Adams who is working on a nuclear rocket. In his words, Mars in a month. That changes the equation but that technology is not viable yet. What we have versus what we want. What we have are missions that will probably take more than two years between the flight out time on the surface and flight back. I’ve seen arguments strong arguments that say that the whole trip is a three-year mission, not a two-year mission. What we have is eight months’ worth of rocketry to get to Mars. What we want is one-month rocketry to get to Mars. But even if you have a one month to Mars system, it is still exceedingly risky and exceedingly expensive. Using the Moon as a testbed, I think makes a lot of sense.
I like this acknowledgment in this document: Some private entrepreneurs. They can't write Elon Musk but that's what they mean. Some private entrepreneurs might accept the inherent risks of deep space and systems reliability. I think that he has proven that he is. He is willing to accept that and people are lining up behind him to support that. I’m not doing that. That's not how I want to die but this document is making the very clear point that government has to do it one way and private enterprises can do it a different way if they're willing to accept the risks. That acknowledgment, I think is pretty profound. I think it's worth taking some time to look at and consider.
EDL (Entry, Descent, and Landing). Dr. Tom Robeline one of us technical advisors designed the EDL (Entry, Descent, and Landing) system for Mars. Actually, two of them. Pretty remarkable guy. I recommend taking a look at them at a video called Seven Minutes of Terror about how we landed on Mars. It's pretty amazing. The systems are bigger especially the crude system for people. That makes it heavier and even harder. Even though this section in the document is focused on going to the moon to stay, it's really setting the stage for the next step which is going to Mars.
If we are going to do a multi-year mission what do we know about radiation and reduce gravity those are going to be ongoing issues. So once again, the Moon as a testbed makes a lot of sense.
If we are going to be on the ground If we are going to be running around on the surface of the moon, there's a lot of stuff we're going to have to know. But we're going to go there longer. The first lunar mission was measured in hours. We're going to have to be on the Moon for weeks, months, years. The kind of activities we're going to develop is the kind of facilities and habitats. We're going to develop all of this. It's going to grow organically. It's going to grow based on market demand. These things are how we will evolve on a new planetary body, moonlight.
As we get better at this, the next lunar explorers are going to really be there in kind of longer-lasting facilities. They're going to have to be experts at life support because their life depends on power generation, communication storage, service transportation, and resource extraction. Their lives will depend on them mastering this new technology and by mastery on the Moon they will go to Mars better.
Surface mobility! I’m pretty sure you all have seen photos of astronauts, galloping on the lunar surface, falling over. I mean it's pretty funny to laugh when we're standing solidly in 1G (Gravity). I would fall over if I was up there. The act of walking and the act of building a lunar rover and going from point A to point B. We're talking about pretty short distances. We haven't really understood how big the moon is because we've only glimpsed a small portion of it. These kinds of vehicles are really critical for long term stays on the Moon. That's just the surface mobility then we're talking about back and forth to and from the surface of the Moon, ferrying cargo, and people to the lunar Gateway and back to earth. These kinds of systems are essential literally life and death. But we're also going to have to get better at working with our international partners and interoperable systems. There are interoperable communication systems that are already being designed and implemented but something as simple as a door hatch. I’ve got an American door and they've got a Japanese door and if these doors don't connect everybody's going to die. I mean I know that's a super simplistic example but this interoperability partnership is really essential to the long-term development both of the Moon and eventually Mars.
Environmental controls. Obviously, I think that's kind of self-explanatory. If you can't figure out how to breathe up there if you're shivering because it's too cold or you bake because it's too hot, you're not going to build a food system on the Moon. You're not growing lettuce if you can't figure out basic life support. You need to grow lettuce. You need to be able to grow food on the Moon in order to make it long-term sustainable. That requires power. The idea of a nuclear-powered generator on the moon, it almost makes me giddy. I’ve talked about that in earlier videos that much-spared energy capacity makes everything else on the Moon easier. I think that's the one technology that's ultimately missing. We're not really doing enough on it yet. It's brand new technology. This document really gives a lot of people permission to develop this technology. Once we've got this, I think it changes everything else in all of the space not just developing the Moon.
We are going to have systems on the Moon that can be used in other places in the solar system. We're talking about enabling and extending human presence to Mars. I’m not entirely sure that all of the technologies naturally cross over. I think this is a cheerleader paragraph. I think some of it is not entirely accurate.
We know we need water and ice. We've got a lot of it around the poles of the Moon. That's necessary for energy. It's necessary for life support. It's obviously necessary for spacecraft propellant. We have made none of these things actually in the environment. Earlier I kind of made some references to PowerPoint companies, these are PowerPoint technologies. Does the math work in a technical paper? A technical paper only covers so many things. You have to actually go there. Dig into the lunar regolith, process the ice from it, insert question mark here because nobody really on paper we knows how to do but we don't have experience doing that. Once you have processed the ice then you can turn it into energy, then you can turn it into life support, and then you can turn it into the propellant. This paragraph makes it seem like it we already know how to do all that stuff. We do not have experience in doing that stuff. We've got good papers. Really bright people working on this stuff. Dr. Phil Metzger has got some pretty clever ideas. But until we actually go there and do it, it’s not the same as writing a paper and building a PowerPoint. Experience matters here. That is going to take time. It's going to take years. It's going to take cash. It's going to take breakthrough inventions. I love that’s where we're going but it is not easy.
Living off the land! Super easy to say that in a government document. Pretty hard to do it when we actually get there.
This part's pretty interesting to me. It's not just a technological development. It's not just a commercial development. It is strategic and it is a political destination. I’ve talked about this in other videos, it has always been a political destination arguably to showcase strategic technology and arguably military-strategic technology. Don't ever lose sight of that? This document downplays it. But it is a pretty critical reason for why we're going. This line here: A presence in areas of strategic importance is crucial to safeguarding our ability to operate anywhere in space, from low-Earth orbit to the lunar surface to Mars. This language tells me it was probably a military officer who wrote this particular line. I don't disagree with it. But I think it is important to understand where some of this language is coming from. I fully support this line but the language is important and I would like to know the source of that language.
It's been 50 years since we've been there. No other nation has ever gone and landed people on the Moon. Nice job NASA! Thank you very much for your good work. There have been some nations recently going back to the Moon; Israel and India's crash-landed about a year ago. I feel bad about that. I watched every step of those two missions. I was disappointed like they were at the crash landing. It's really hard to get to the lunar surface. Hats off to those folks for trying. Really looking forward to their next attempts. Currently, there are only two other countries that have successfully landed on the Moon and have robots down there. Russia did it. They've got a new mission recently announced. China has been operating for nearly 18 months on the far side of the lunar surface. Credit where it's due but that's not enough. We are going to surpass that. The world is going back to the Moon. I’m really excited about a video that we're going to produce probably Monday or Tuesday. That really dives into that more specifically.
This is hard stuff. Participating in lunar exploration is really tricky. But this document is an invitation to international peers and partners. Says it's attractive to them and it's an opportunity for the United States. Absolutely true. You've heard me mention lots of times. I’m really involved with the International Space University. I’m a globalist. I really hope that other nations take advantage of this invitation and participate in this global effort to go back to the Moon. I think it ultimately makes the world a better place if we all work on this stuff collaboratively and cooperatively. But this language, at the bottom a more secure and stable regime again tells me. There's probably some military influence in the crafting of this document. That's it! Thank you for watching!
Next step, I’m going to just run straight into it. In a moment, is really extending humans to Mars. There was a lot of stuff about Mars in this video and the next video. Some more stuff on Mars. Thanks, stick with us. Appreciate your help!