Friday, October 06, 2006

NASA - Moonquakes

NASA - Moonquakes: "NASA astronauts are going back to the moon and when they get there they may need quake-proof housing.
That's the surprising conclusion of Clive R. Neal, associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame after he and a team of 15 other planetary scientists reexamined Apollo data from the 1970s. 'The moon is seismically active,' he told a gathering of scientists at NASA's Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) meeting in League City, Texas, last October."

This reminds me of an idea I've had for a while. I would like to see a network of nodes that handle related communication, navigation, and information tasks. It links well with the MUOL concept of building an automated infrastructure.

Each node would have a space based wireless internet router making communications possible between nodes. By deploying nodes in orbit around a location (like a moon or planet), constant communications may be maintained. All local satellites can then use these nodes for system wide communications that do not rely on line of sight links to a distant radio telescope on Earth.

Additionally, select nodes can act as a Celestial Positioning System (CPS) with plug in units that transmit position and timing information. The CPS would allow greater navigational control of future automated and manned missions.

Space and local weather plugins would monitor local weather conditions (i.e. dust storms and glaciation on Mars or eruptions on Io) as well as space weather conditions (background cosmic radiation, solar flare activity, Jupiter's magnetosphere, etc.) that may affect the local scene. This ties in with the above article by including land based seismic recorders as part of the network.

The network would continue the current work of mapping and surveying territories in ever greater detail. New sensors units delivered to MUOL nodes would tell new stories about the nature and history of the local environment.

MUOL and non-MUOL not in this network can use the net as client nodes. This gives each client all the capabilities of the network expanding it's own possiblilites. This includes potential robotic explorers, surveyors, miners, constructors, and factories. If alerts come up or suppliers fail, the clients can react appropriately to their situations.

The network could also provide data storage and backup facilities incase client nodes fail or lose contact with the network. The network would also act as servers to make this data available to users back on Earth.

As this MUOL network builds, automated missions to networked locations should become more reliable. More data can be collected and processed and shipped back to Earth. By the time humans arrive to a networked location, the environment will be very well understood and have a usable communication, navigation, and information network in place.

See also:
The Importance of Establishing a Global Lunar Seismic Network. Clive R. Neal [PDF]
MUOL Eric Hunting

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