Save The Far Side!

This seems a little overblown to me, certainly currently.

I agree that it’s a special place in terms of radio silence, and would be a great location for very large radiotelescopes. But I don’t know many people who would want to live there, and never see the home planet. And they could do comm via lasers — no need to pollute the local “air” waves with spurious RF communications.

13 thoughts on “Save The Far Side!”

  1. Lunar farside radio silence has been a topic in astronomy since the 1970s. It ought to be considered carefully.

    1. Agreed. This is the one and only place in the Solar System that is shielded from terrestrial radio noise. Yes, a few spacecraft beyond lunar orbit contribute contamination, but they are sparse, weak, and well characterized in frequency. This really is something to think about as we look to develop space resources.

    2. Not that it has much impact on your points, but Arthur C. Clarke mentioned the advantages in one of his books, possibly Voices From the Sky, so the idea has been around a bit longer. I mentioned using the farside for astronomy to one of my astronomy profs in the late 70s (probably in a Space 1999 context) and he didn’t see much point to it.

  2. Yeah, there’s really no good reason to park stuff at EML-2 smack dab over the best place in the Solar System for radio astronomy. Some pole-sitting solar sails can cover comms at the poles (srsly, they’re constantly looking into the everdark craters; it doesn’t get any better than that), with an EML-1 facility as a relay. Don’t even really need an orbiter.

    Which is one of the things that always puzzled me about the LOP/G. The only advantage EML-2 has is a marginal delta-V bump for staging to Mars. Some folks over at NSF insist that out beyond the Moon at EML-2 is the best place to stage for cislunar operations and development of the econosphere. I prefer EML-1.

    I’m convinced that NASA has no real strategy for the Moon. They don’t really want to go there, they want to go to Mars, so why can’t people leave them alone and just let them fumble their way there…eventually. They don’t want to do cislunar transportation infrastructure or communications networks. They don’t really want to build facilities on the lunar surface. They’re not really concerned with taking out the garbage in GEO. They don’t want to deal with modularity in crewed vehicles (i.e. universal vehicle, bolt on landing legs for lunar excursions, waldos for GEO work, heatshields for Earth re-entry, cargo racks for pretty much everywhere).

    NASA just wants to go to Mars. Why doesn’t everyone just let them do that?

    Not understanding that a robust cislunar econosphere is the best way to ensure that happens.

    1. They don’t want to do cislunar transportation infrastructure or communications networks. They don’t really want to build facilities on the lunar surface.

      They wont, private industry will do all the building. NASA just gets to boss them around and toss in some money.

  3. I’d rather preserve the Earth facing side of the Moon as that is the side that is culturally significant. Put a couple tourist areas near the poles so they can Earth watch. Astronomers can find other solutions for their problems.

    1. Other than the lights, you can see not human civiliations from the lunar surface without a telescope. And you don’t really need much outdoor lighting on the moon. So to see anything on lunar surface without a telescope, would be due a deliberate effort to use lunar surface as a billboard, spend a fair amount of effort in order to make it visible from Earth.

      I wonder whether future Lunatics, will want laws which prohibits Earthlings from altering the visible pristine state of Earth.

      1. I’m thinking long term and the impact that humans have where they live, work, and recreate. What would a thousand years of development look like? The Moon isn’t self healing like the Earth. The Moon has a special place in our collective human experience and should be treated with respect.

        It isn’t just about protecting the near side for Earthlings, but also people who live on the Moon.

        Space nerds should be pro-active about it as I am not the only one who thinks this way. Far too often space nerds disregard things that are important to other humans. I am not sure why this is.

        1. –wodun
          February 12, 2019 At 3:28 PM
          I’m thinking long term and the impact that humans have where they live, work, and recreate. What would a thousand years of development look like?–

          I think looking beyond 50 years is rather problematic.
          1000 years after lunar development starts, I wonder about viability of a spacefaring civilization which is traveling to and using resources of other star systems.
          1000 years after lunar development, I consider total human population approaching a trillion as possible, And most would not live on earth surface. But population on Earth surface could be more than 50 billion.
          In 50 year of start of lunar development, I think the possibility of starting to make space power satellites for Earth which could be economical in terms global electrical market. One could have some locations on Earth which get solar energy harvested from space, before this. I also think it’s possible that SPS are used for mars settlements, before they used as global source electrical on Earth. This would the case if electrical power on Mars was quite expensive, say more than $1 per kW hour [or $1000 per MW hour- or more than 10 times cost of electrical power on Earth]. I expect Lunar electrical power to reach below $1 per kW hour before Mars does. And as Lunar electrical prices approaches $1 per kW hour price point, one will get a lot lunar activity- and thereafter have rapid lowering of electrical cost which within short period of time [less than decade] it end up being cheaper than Earth surface electrical wholesale price.

          In terms of when we will get lunar development, it will depend on when we determine if and where there is minable lunar water. And probably within 5 to 10 year after this point.
          And we don’t seem to be making much progress in this direction, so it’s about +2030 AD.
          Or so finish exploring lunar polar in 10 years- 2029 AD, then might take around 5 years, before starting lunar development.
          Though possible that lunar development could start before 2030 AD. And it’s possible Mars could finished with exploration within 2 decades, 2050 AD. And Mars settlements begin before the Mars exploration is finished.
          But seems it will take longer.
          But before 2100 AD, one could large scale iron mining on the Moon, and from Earth you need a big telescope, to see any mark on Moon from this.

          1. Though before 2100 AD, with eyes only you will see a lot more satellites in LEO. And small telescope could see SPSs in GEO.
            And could see a space elevator and other large structures in Earth orbit.

  4. “Could be worse.”
    “Could be the folks complaining about contamination of Saturn by Cassini.”

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