[FPSPACE] Zubrin on lunar base
zirconic1 at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 1 22:54:32 EST 2005
Zubrin's second op-ed has appeared in Space News. The first was on launch vehicles for a lunar base. This second is on mission modes for a lunar base.
He makes a number of conclusions, including that direct return is superior to lunar orbit rendezvous, that storable propellants are superior (as opposed to hydrogen, which burns off faster), and that the ability to mine oxygen on the lunar surface dramatically improves options for a lot of things.
You can find his paper here:
I have not compared the paper to his actual op-ed, but assume it is more detailed.
It is now clear where he is going with his argument:
1-build an HLV rather than relying on a large or medium launch vehicle and extensive rendezvous
2-mine oxygen on the moon, use direct return
3-this infrastructure is then excellent for Mars (part 3 of the series, to run next week)
What is interesting to me about this (besides his reasonable arguments) is that it appears to represent a definite shift for Zubrin. He has adopted the moon as the chosen goal and now he is concerned that NASA not choose a vehicle or a mission mode that makes it hard to go on to Mars. This appears to be an evolution in his thinking. And it appears that he is making a coherent and reasonable argument. But I'm not a rocket scientist. Maybe he forgot to carry a zero or something. Others with better math skills and pocket protectors will have to check his math.
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