September 11, 2006
6:00 - 7:30 pm
State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
Lamar Alexander Building
Humans Return to the Moon: This Time to Stay
Dr. Lawrence A.
Planetary Geosciences Institute
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
University of Tennessee
It is man&rsquos heritage that we are explorers, to go where no man has gone before. Well, we have finally reinitiated our goals of going back to the Moon with humans as the first step. In January, 2004, President Bush established a national program of returning humans to space, first to the Moon, then Mars, and beyond. And with no increase in NASA&rsquos budget. The Lunar settlement is to be a &ldquotest-bed&rdquo for perfecting exploration to Mars and beyond, and to be an effective &ldquogas station&rdquo providing the lunar liquid oxygen and hydrogen (LLOX & LLH) for space ship propellants.
The 35+ years that our team at UT has been continuously planning for this time and studying the science/engineering of the lunar rocks and soils put us immediately in the main stream of this major endeavor. This will be no easy task, largely because of the cost of carrying materials to the Moon (~$25,000/lb). Therefore, to establish a lunar base, permanently settled by humans, we must learn &ldquoto live off the land,&rdquo much as our forefathers did centuries ago. But we have already begun to deal with this based upon our studies at UT. For example, one unexpected discovery made just two years ago can be summed up as,&ldquoIf you place Lunar soil in your kitchen microwave oven, it will MELT at >1,200 degrees Celcius long BEFORE your tea-water boils at 100 degrees Celcius!&rdquo Wow!
Page updated September 11, 2006