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Rondaru t1_ja5b7sl wrote

I see two major problems for heavy machinery on the Moon surface: extreme temperature differences between day and night and lots of fine and coarse moon sand that wants to get into every joint and crevice. Good luck solving these two.


gordonjames62 t1_ja93un3 wrote

I don't think we will be looking at heavy machinery (prohibitive cost of getting it up the gravity well) or many current technologies. It is also unlikely to have a huge manpower component.

More likely we will establish a small research station on the moon, with a great deal of automated manufacture (think 3D printing) using lunar materials.

Some of the mining we do will be excavation for underground habitation purposes. This activity will probably where we learn more about manipulating and processing lunar materials.

SO far, "we don't know what we don't know".

We have so much to learn, and will really only begin to figure stuff out when we get there and begin a lunar habitation.


Zestyclose-Ad-9420 t1_ja9ebaw wrote

Temperature difference: only work during the night. Or the day, which ever's easiest.
Moon dust: a constant electric charge to create static.

These things are technical issues. Very difficult ones. But the last few hundred years hint that if you take some egg heads and throw money and give them time, they will probably figure it out. Now give them supercomputers and nanomaterials as well.

The real problem, time and time again, has been working with the constraints that our governments, economies and cultures limit us with when it comes to distributing energy for problem solving.


russianpotato t1_ja659u2 wrote

Oh shit! What if we have machines that work...wait for it.....under water....where something as small as a water molecule can get into the oil and ruin an engine.


Rondaru t1_ja6r7mb wrote

Lubricants don't mix with oil. They mix with moon dust though. And don't underestimate the dust problem:


russianpotato t1_ja6zyzs wrote

It is a challange. But like I said. If you can keep out water you can sure as heck keep out dust. A positive pressure system would be simple, cheap and effective.


Rondaru t1_ja70vkf wrote

And how do you refill a positive pressure system inside the machine if there is no external atmosphere available that you can just suck in and compress? Do you want to add constant gas resupply from Earth to one of the cost factors?


russianpotato t1_ja71bi5 wrote

If you are building stuff on the moon you're for sure mining the 600 billion kilograms of water ice already discovered and can make all the gas you need!


Rondaru t1_ja76rqv wrote

At a concentration of 1000 parts per million in the soil you'd have to move and kick up a lot more destructive regolith dust than you'd ever hope to get enough gas out of it to protect the excavator from that dust. Not to mention that you're just utterly wasting the most precious resource of all on the Moon.


russianpotato t1_ja7q23f wrote

You're thinkin of the water in the actual moon dust. I was referencing the recently found actual water ice found at the poles. You didn't follow any of that and the proposed Chinese and US moonbase because of it?