The Moon and Mars are vying for a place in the most promising space body for manned missions in the XXI century. In a previous publication
I brought the case for the moon. And now we will talk about what a place on the Moon will be the most interesting, and what it can do.
General characteristics h4> The fact that the moon is constantly turned to one side of us, lunar day and night last for approximately two weeks, and its axis of rotation is almost perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic, meaning that some of its parts have special properties:
Pole Due to the fact that the axis of rotation of the Moon is almost perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic, its polar circle (areas where there are polar days and nights) in diameter is less than 50 km away. But it is the small size of the polar circle means that the lunar terrain forms areas of perpetual day and night. For example, at the south pole lettered mountains covered more than 80% of the lunar day, and the mountain is lit Malapert 74% of the lunar day, but on the other hand, always visible from Earth:
Land of Eternal Light are the obvious candidates for the installation of solar panels, which is the polar circle two weeks lunar night would be useless.
But craters abound located at the poles, forming areas where sunlight never looks:
On the surface of the moon water ice can only be maintained in places sunlight and heat the surface over 100 ° C under vacuum vaporize all the ice. In addition to water in these depressions can be of simple organic compounds of non-biological origin (such as methane), brought by comets. Water and hydrocarbons can be used for the operation of the base, reducing the volume requirements of goods shipped from the Earth. And if they would be quite a lot, and production will be easy, it will be possible to produce and fuel for missiles launched from the moon.
Equator The lunar equator is valuable because it is visible from almost all the celestial sphere:
Example celestial maps projected on the surface of the moon. The object is seen when the difference of the object and the observer latitude smaller than 90 °. Longitude object varies with the movement of the moon in its orbit i>
The graph shows the appearance of the sky, depending on the latitude of the observer on the moon. Except in the case of sight to the horizon shows the visibility for the partial overlap of the horizon relief. I>
An optical telescope on the moon would work in close to the space conditions without suffering from atmospheric interference.
Besides the astronomical benefits, the lunar equator is convenient in terms of ballistics. The fact that the landing near the equator can be any inclination of the orbit of the spacecraft. In contrast to the pole to which it is necessary to spend extra fuel on the formation of the orbit with an inclination of -90 °.
Any orbit crosses the equator. A pole is only available for polar orbits i>
The fact that on the surface of the lunar equator can not be water ice does not completely inhibit the operation of local resources. First of all, you can use the lunar regolith as a building material. The solar oven allows relatively easy to create a molten regolith bricks or more complex units. And if you heat the regolith to 700-1000 ° C, then it will be possible to remove nitrogen, oxygen and carbon, in small quantities it is present. Yes, a small concentration is expected, about 100 grams of each element per cubic meter of soil, but in the case of a serious construction of these valuable elements can be incorporated into a closed life-support system.
The Other Side of the Moon Its unique feature is the screening of all radiomusora that emits the Earth into space. Side of the Moon - the perfect place for a radio telescope.
The visible side of the Moon Moon Base on the visible side will always see the Earth will be able to maintain constant radio contact and used also for experiments on the study of the Earth.
Limb It is an amazing place and the visible side of the moon - the lunar limb. It combines the advantages of both sides. By placing the base on going along the meridian ridge in one place you can get portions as always hidden from Earth, and is always visible to her. In addition, you can use the relief effect of libration - Moon in its orbital motion is rotated relative to the observer on Earth ~ 7 °:
Thus, the areas near the limb of the moon will go on the back side and reappear on the visible. Using terrain features will be available almost any desired percentage of visibility of the Earth. In the area of the limb would be very interesting to place telescopes of various ranges. Direct connection to the Earth will create a unique record interferometer base. And if the angular resolution of the radio band, though achieved in the project will exceed the "Radioastron" but not by orders of magnitude, the optical interferometer is a range of more than 60 times "vigilantly" any combination of only ground-based telescopes. A permanent lunar base will allow to serve these telescopes and their failure is not fatal.
narrows the range of h4> From the general considerations that the moon has four of the most interesting area: the South Pole, the North Pole, the eastern equatorial dial, western equatorial limb:
North Pole Of the two poles of the moon it is the least interesting, compared to the South Pole it is less than the craters and mountains of eternal night eternal light.
A general view of the North Pole of the Moon i>
Pole It attracts more attention and is considered one of the most interesting places to automatic missions and future lunar base. Apart from having it plots of eternal night and eternal day, the South Pole is located in the basin of the South Pole-Atkin, one of the largest craters in the solar system, the deepest and largest impact structure on the moon.
Topographic map of the lunar south pole. Blue - lower field, red - high i>
Photo South Pole Infrared i>
In considering options NASA lunar base at 88 ° S, 50 ° E:
eastern equatorial limb It is very interesting from the point of view of geology formation - Sea Smith. Lunar base near the proposed place of the crater Schubert:
These numbers refer to the place special geological interest i>
The same area, shooting from the ground, a small height of the sun emphasizes the terrain i>
western equatorial limb There is an interesting place of the crater Riccioli neighborhood - in this area there are traces of the action of shock, volcanic and tectonic processes.
In addition to these areas as potentially of interest specified: Sea of Dreams, Sea of Tranquility, the crater Aristarchus (which is very often observed transient lunar phenomena), Pyrenees lunar crater Tsiolkovsky and others.
In a future article we will talk about the projects of lunar bases and on more specific technical aspects.
Similar publications are tagged with «мысли the future of space exploration ».
Additional Resources h4> head to place a lunar base from the book "Near-Earth resources». list of interesting places < / a> on the Moon, prepared the program "Constellation». about lunar Long Baseline Interferometry. the visible side of the moon (for the general development).