For we are a space faring species.
Apollo 8 Earthrise
Remember it?!? It's hard trying to remember any significant advancements in aviation history. It all came to a virtual standstill with the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. Just look at a timeline of aviation history.
In 1961 Kennedy said we would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. 8 years later we did.
In 2004 Bush said we would go back to the moon in 11 years, 2015. The space budget is being incrementally increased trying to get us there in 9 years, 2013. Problem, NASA says it is not possible to get there by 2015, let alone 2013, regardless of any budget increases.
Russian, China, India, and the US are suddenly racing for moon, and the reason behind the competition is sliding under the radar of almost everyone. If there was ever a reason for an international agreement, and staunch military enforcement of that agreement, it is for EVERYONE to now stay off of the moon!
Personally, I feel that the moon should be colonized. A multinational research station similar to the ones in Antarctica. From there, long term studies can be conducted without threatening the health of the astronauts due to the long term effects of microgravity on bone mass.
The real trick is coming up with a means to efficiently get there and back.
Well, for anyone that has been paying attention, it was just announced that NASA and the Dept of Defense are teaming up to get back to the moon before China gets there. They aren't going there to colonize it; they are going there to weapon-ize it.
The moon is the ideal launch platform for weapons that will make a very, very big boom back on Earth. The idea is to put a missile launcher below the rim of a crater. The launcher can raise up and fire straight down at the Earth because the moon does not rotate like the Earth does. That part of the missile's flight time to target in the Earth's atmosphere is measured in seconds, not possible to knock it out of the air mid-flight. There is no defense from it. Because the launcher sits below the crater's rim until ready to fire, it is virtually impossible to knock it out, requires a projectile that can quickly maneuver in an environment without an atmosphere (space). That doesn't exist.
We can knock a missile out of the sky if launched from China. We cannot knock a missile out of the sky if launched from the moon. I'll bet my dollars to your dimes the next major defense project will be a resurrection of Brilliant Pebbles that sit permanently in outter space above the US. China will do the same. Russia will follow. And then countries will claim the space above them.
Why do think they are "racing" to get to the moon? Hint: to claim the best craters that can be used to install missile launchers.
Like I said, we need a strictly enforced international agreement for everyone to stay the hell off of the moon. If they want to colonize something, let them go to Mars.
Flight time from the moon to earth is measured in days and it can't be fired straight down unless newton's Laws changed last night. The issues of a near earth intercept and terminal intercept are the same regardless if the war head is coming from from an earth or lunar launch. In fact a lunar launch would be easier to intercept due to the long lead time.
You mentioned days of space flight. I mentioned resurrecting Brilliant Pebbles.
However, a new threat emerged: the spread of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction to smaller states such as North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. A new approach of Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS) was adopted by President George Bush, with the goal of defending the USA against limited missile attacks, and protect deployed US forces and allies against shorter-range ballistic missiles. It was based on three components: a global, space-based system of Brilliant Pebbles interceptors; the ground- and sea-based Theatre Missile Defense; and a limited, ground-based national missile defence element.
You can intercept any where in earth orbit. Current deep space radar which can resolve a basket ball at over 1500 miles up and more. They don't come straight down, re-entry doesn't work that way.
I used to be paid to think about how to do this.
(a) what the flight time is for a rocket projecting straight down in the Earth's atmosphere??? My understanding is that the flight time is measured in seconds.
(b) how do you knockout a missile traveling in outer space? When, where, and how was the technology tested?
(c) how do you knockout an installation below the rim of a crater on the moon?
(d) why were you paid to think about this?
(e) why is there now a balls-out race for the moon? Why does NASA feel compelled to partner with the Dept of Defense to get to the moon first?
Ok, lets presume it's not about missiles. What about putting a laser on the moon? Aren't laser's used for targeting? (Yes!) Let's consider the technology used in torpedoes -- what if that technology was implemented in a Earth atmosphere missile flight coupled with moon based laser targeting. How the hell can anyone knock that out of the sky?
It's not about today's technology. It's about tomorrow's technology, and how fast and how far that technology is going. Me thinks there is much, much more to this than just seeing who can be second to put a man on the orbiting dust ball. Me thinks technology has advanced to the point that the moon has become a consideration as a viable platform for launching assaults back on Earth, one way or the other.
Last edited by Oxide Blu; 11th January 2009 at 02:25.
Some possible answers:
(a) This question is non-sequitur to a lunar based missile attack. Rockets cannot reenter the atmosphere traveling straight down. The Earth is a moving target, plus reentry that way and that fast would destroy the rocket due to friction.
(b) Same tech used to dock with a satellite/space station or to put a man on the moon. We've been doing it since the 60's.
(c) Several methods can be used but the simplest is a dropping a missile straight down from the above. The Moon lacks Earth's pesky atmosphere.
(d) Probably because he thinks things through and knows how to keep his mouth shut about them.
(e) Why was there a ball-out race for the poles? Nowadays there are resources on the Moon to be used and then there is the whole lesser-gravity environment for long term stays in space and manufacturing.
Smoke bomb or clouds disperse lasers. Want to be thorough? Add reflective metallic particles to the smoke bomb and you disperse lasers and masers. Cheaper to have a soldier or drone aircraft paint the target.
The only credible military threat from lunar bases is the use of a mass driver to lob chunks of nickel-iron asteroids at the Earth. No lunar atmosphere to impede launch, no complex fuel system, no electronics to jam. Pure kinetic energy, no fallout, no radiation.