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Moon Express Unveils Next Moon Lander

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the it's-mine-all-mine dept.

Moon 79

Velcroman1 writes "A U.S. spacecraft hasn't made a controlled landing on the moon since Apollo 17 left the lunar surface on Dec. 14, 1972. That's about to change. Moon Express will unveil the MX-1 spacecraft at the Autodesk University show in Las Vegas Thursday evening — a micro-spacecraft that will in 2015 mark the first U.S. 'soft' landing since the days of the Apollo program, FoxNews.com has learned. The craft looks for all the world like a pair of donuts wearing an ice cream cone, and the tiny vehicle clearly isn't big enough for a human being. But it is big enough to scoop up some rocks and dirt, store them in an internal compartment, and return it to Earth. After all, the moondirt Gene Cernan, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin once trod holds a king's ransom of titanium, platinum, and other rare elements. Moon Express plans to mine it."

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79 comments

All right, then... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614191)

Nice Slashvert for a "company" that has no hope in hell of doing anything near "mining the moon", though I'm sure that between grants and people that want to lose their money, the "leadership" will do very well for themselves. Seriously, these people are going to *try* and land a small beacon on the moon, and this is some proof of concept that they can mine valuable resources and fly them back? In any case, the Chinese are well on their way to this goal with both the technical knowledge to get there and the moo-la to do it first and claim most of the surface, long before these people figure out how to turn a small immobile beacon with an inner-tube for landing gear, into a machine that can mine resources and return them to Earth. Seriously, sounds like an MIT engineering grad student project, putting it in the same frame as Apollo 17 is a stretch.

But it is big enough to scoop up some rocks and dirt, store them in an internal compartment, and return it to Earth.

Return to Earth? Sure it will. And if it does, with what? A pound if that? Even a few pounds? Again, the Chinese will be there shuvelling ore into huge return crafts way before - er - long after these people move on to some other grad school project.

Re:All right, then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614385)

China has the technical knowledge to profitably mine the moon? They're well on their way? Just the thought is ridiculous.

The most important discovery related to bringing back huge returns crafts full of ore from the moon is the immense energy requirement. China doesn't have Mr. Fusion machines developed yet.

And China is about to claim most of the surface of the moon? Are you reading dystopian science fiction, or how do you possibly rationalize this?

Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614467)

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614617)

Are you a deranged homeless man? Because I don't think sane people would post they way you do.

China having an unmanned lunar mission has basically no logical connection to "China is about to claim most of the surface of the moon." The US planted a flag there 40 years ago, certainly the US doesn't claim most of the surface of the moon.

And David Duke? Young Republicans? It's like you lack the ability to make logical connections.

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614791)

Are you a deranged homeless man?

Your attitude and language pretty much fit the description "asshat" that the Original Poster vomited on your pathetic Ayn Rand Coo Coo face. Go back and crawl under your rock, you kind is short for this world.

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (3, Interesting)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 4 months ago | (#45614931)

I'm thinking we need a new version of Godwin's Law [wikipedia.org], whereby the first person to make an unprovoked (indeed totally unconnected) claim that someone is an Ayn Rand disciple automatically loses.

Can someone tell me how the parent gets from the GP to vomiting on a pathetic Ayn Rand Coo Coo face?

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615135)

I'm thinking we need a new version of Godwin's Law, whereby the first person to make an unprovoked (indeed totally unconnected) claim that someone is an Ayn Rand disciple automatically loses.

Yet another brainless incoherent comment from an Ayn Rand Moron. When you read her book Atlas Took A Shit, you masturbate, right? Maybe you should put down the bitter cup of TEA... You're a "dead ender", your time is over. You people are all cum junkies, you suck each other's cocks and just vacuum up that hot jizz like it was cocaine.

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (2)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 4 months ago | (#45615201)

I've never read any of her books, and I only have the vaguest idea of her ideology! But I must admit, that's the only flaw in your argument - had I ever read a single one of her books, all the rest of your accusations would undoubtedly follow.

It must really suck to have the technology of an adult, the vocabulary of a teenager, and the reasoning capability of a toddler.

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615669)

At least he's not a neckbeard [amazon.com] like you...

Re:Please pull your head out of your putrid ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617687)

You do realize that Godwin's law does not say anything about losing the debate?

Re:All right, then... (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about 4 months ago | (#45616803)

Don't need near as much energy to return as to get there. Has little to do with distance or load - it'a all about time and delta-v and relative sizes of gravity wells.

Quibble: I'm old enough such that the plural of conveyances on or under water, in air or space, is craft. I first saw the plural "aircraft" around age six, and in sixty years have never had difficulty discerning singular and plural from context. YMMV, of course. I find it as idiotic a practice as with a youth selling me binoculars describing them as being "ten-ex" instead of "ten-power."

Re:All right, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45621959)

Craft is still the plural of craft, unless you're an uneducated youngster who doesn't know the difference between there, their, and they're (like so many these days are).

Re:All right, then... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 4 months ago | (#45627981)

Yeah, aina?

At least those are homonyms; one that boggles me is where for were - how the Holy hell do they get that?

Re:All right, then... (0)

farble1670 (803356) | about 4 months ago | (#45615157)

um, do you work for the chinese govt or otherwise have some special knowledge? even with open books to the chinese govt, do you have expertise to evaluate their capabilities?

i'm not knocking what they've accomplished, but it isn't anything better than the US did 40 years ago.

Re:All right, then... (1)

recharged95 (782975) | about 4 months ago | (#45615421)

Funny they, like that other [wikipedia.org] two companies [wikipedia.org] doing some sort of space mining, they advertise the brains of the operation vs the tech....like an old established corporation. And each site is like a resume platform--where's the concept art, approach, tech, overviews, schedule? Just cheesy high level art work.

The tech is what going to get you there, like there's competition to steal it.. yeah right. Come on it's rocket science, we know it hard to reproduce.

I just feel a bit weird (Vegas announcement, TFA sources FoxNews?), maybe more embrassed as some of those brain are from my Alma Mater, JHU-APL...

Re:All right, then... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 4 months ago | (#45615681)

Claiming the moon is going to be a lot like claiming North America was 400 years ago... you have to do more than plant a flag to hold territory, you'll have to be making some kind of productive use of the land to hold that claim, and there's a whole lot of moon to go around at the moment.

As long as the US-China economies are significantly interdependent, neither is likely to do anything arbitrary and capricious like claim the whole moon and start destroying any enterprises from "the other side" based there. And, until somebody gets a true self-replicating lunar mining machine working, we should be able to both find worthwhile dirt to dig in without getting in each other's way.

Re:All right, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45619243)

How the heck did this get modded insightful? The Chinese havent landed on the moon (the US has), they have not demonstrated the capability to do so, and money-wise, last I checked, the US economy is STILL a lot stronger than the Chinese one. All of the folks claiming gloom and doom for the US and praising the Chinese economy are doing so based on the growth of the Chinese economy, and the relative slump of the US-- but in raw numbers and in per-capita numbers the US still is quite a bit ahead. Lets also keep in mind that in any particular area of technology, the US is leaps and bounds ahead of China.

This isnt meant to be a RAH RAH GO COUNTRY rant, but lets be realistic here.

DID THEY HAVE TO USE CAPITALS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614259)

They going to the MOOOOON!

How is this ending up on the front page??? (5, Funny)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 4 months ago | (#45614261)

Outside of being crap it even contains what I would have thought would have killed any article on Slashdot "FoxNews.com has learned."

How do I down vote an article?!?!?

Re:How is this ending up on the front page??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614327)

Outside of being crap it even contains what I would have thought would have killed any article on Slashdot "FoxNews.com has learned."

In the past few years, Slashdot has become a second home to the Ayn Rand Coo Coo Nuts that also get a lot of their right wing "news" from Fox.

Re:How is this ending up on the front page??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614575)

and pretty much every fox news article is posted by velcroman1, see http://beta.slashdot.org/~Velcroman1#submissions if you don't believe me!

Re:How is this ending up on the front page??? (2)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 4 months ago | (#45614989)

Outside of being crap it even contains what I would have thought would have killed any article on Slashdot "FoxNews.com has learned."

Yes, because anything reported on Fox is automatically incorrect. Nelson Mandela must be so relived to hear that his death has been reported on Fox - that means he must still be alive!

Re:How is this ending up on the front page??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617943)

It's not that everything on Fox is incorrect. It's that, if something happens to be correct, it will also be reported by far more reliable and less (blatantly) biased sources.

Re:How is this ending up on the front page??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615003)

Yea, Fox News that reported first about "if you want to keep your health coverage you can keep it, period"
The only one still reporting on the coverup of Bengazi
The only one to fully cover the hundreds of Mexicans killed by the fast and furious program
The only one to keep us updated on the lack of progress by the FBI (refusing to turn over ANYTHING to Congress) about IRS abuses

And on and on.
The overwhelming majority of Americans now think Obama is a liar, but the only news outlet that shows that is "Coo Coo Nuts".
Nope, its the OTHER outlets and you that are the extremists whackos. The overwhelming majority do not agree with your viewpoints, check the ratings.

Re:How is this ending up on the front page??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45620047)

Hows that kool-aid taste?

Controlled Landing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614289)

Umm..the last controlled landing was when Apollo 17 actually landed, not when it left the surface. The landing was December 11th 1972.

Re:Controlled Landing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614415)

Umm..the last controlled landing was when Luna 24 actually landed. The landing was August 18th 1976.

I suggest you listen to Planetary Radio [planetary.org], a fine source of ~~Random Space Facts!!~~

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614541)

To be fair, the summary does read, "A U.S. spacecraft hasn't made a controlled landing on the moon since..."

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Dahamma (304068) | about 4 months ago | (#45615033)

You're both wrong, of course. The last controlled US lunar landing was in December, 1974 by the Apollo 18 module. It just never returned.

Re:Controlled Landing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615137)

You're a faggot cunt, bitch. Just shove you faggot fantasyland up your faggot ass and go down to the faggot bathhouse where your kind of fucking retarded faggot shit gets played off.
 
Just keep sucking that comic book dick, faggot.

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615387)

Looks like that new troll account has already been modded down to permanent -1 status. Now he's posting AC. Such a sad troll.

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615819)

True, I didn't notice that. I'd only read the title of the article and then your comment. Sad, for a bit there I thought I was smarter than Fox News P)

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614699)

Quite correct. But OP was still wrong and it was fun to twist his tail. Thanks for the correction.

Re:Controlled Landing (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 4 months ago | (#45615037)

Quite correct. But OP was still wrong and it was fun to twist his tail. Thanks for the correction.

Uh, unless you've missed something, OP was "quite correct", and thus cannot be "still wrong", so have fun twisting your own tail with that. Not quite sure what point you were trying to make there...

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614907)

Why is this marked informative? It is a lie. The article said the last time a US made a controlled landing. That is correct. The poster above lied and claimed that the USSR and the USA are the same thing and that the USSR landing was actually a USA landing. That is insane. Why do the moderators reward people that are so deluded liars. Really, does /. endorse the idea that there is no difference between the two? Lie and claim that they are the same thing?

Also, the story is from Faux Knews so you know it is full of lies. They tried to trick us by including a small truth about Apollo 17, but reasonable people will understand that they are lying even though the facts are true. As the phrase the Washington Post correctly coined, they are "true but false." It is factually true, but it is false. It's sad that the conservative controlled media has done this to us.

Re:Controlled Landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615029)

ummm, screw being fair. you're all a bunch of dumbasses. The LM landed on December 11. Do I really have to point out that leaving the lunar surface is not a landing?

Mooned (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#45614297)

Senator: "What good is electricity in the house?"

Engineer: "Senator, in 20 years, you'll be taxing it."

In time, governments will try to tax and control it, perhaps even stopping colonization or private enterprise, probably even cheered on by some around here who, one presumes, were completely down with Europe looting the New World to feed their governments' voracious appetites for cash, dead-set against any colonies not their own, much less independence.

Re:Mooned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614413)

You're imagining some kind of Earth v. the Colonies political struggle. Maybe it's time to stop trying to apply science fiction to the real world, nerd.

Re:Mooned (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 4 months ago | (#45615719)

That's a lot of time you're talking about. Government has already shown a lot of trust in private enterprise, do you think 50 years ago we would have let private companies develop high lift capacity ICBMs? Who knows where this will go in the future, during the American Revolution privateers and pirates wielded significant naval power, that's not really the case anymore. I suppose the big question is when will militarization of space start happening (on a significant scale beyond "intelligence gathering.") When that race starts, things will change a lot.

Re:Mooned (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about 4 months ago | (#45617693)

Senator: "What good is electricity in the house?"

Engineer: "Senator, in 20 years, you'll be taxing it."

In time, governments will try to tax and control it, perhaps even stopping colonization or private enterprise, probably even cheered on by some around here who, one presumes, were completely down with Europe looting the New World to feed their governments' voracious appetites for cash, dead-set against any colonies not their own, much less independence.

Huh, what?!?!?! See this. [wikipedia.org] Ownership has been declared and agreed that the moon belongs--literally--to everyone. Unless you want to renegotiate that (good luck, you're gonna need it) or start a very nasty war, mining the moon or colonizing the moon are out. Plus, you'll have protests and backlash the likes of which God has never seen.

Titanium (4, Informative)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 4 months ago | (#45614357)

is not a rare element - "There is more titanium in the earth's crust than there is nickel, zinc, chromium, tin, lead, mercury, and manganese combined!" http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/titanium/overview.php [csa.com]

Re:Titanium (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 4 months ago | (#45615759)

From the same article: "Supplies of pure titanium are rare", and at $9/lb, it is over 10x the price of Aluminum. http://www.metalprices.com/p/TitaniumFreeChart [metalprices.com]

Relative value for strength (weight of an aluminum frame vs weight of an equivalently strong titanium frame) is left as an exercise for the bored...

Re:Titanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615833)

So if they return 130 lbs. of Titanium they can sell it for $1,170! I'm sure that'll cover the costs of the moon mission!

Re:Titanium (1)

robinesque (977170) | about 4 months ago | (#45616349)

Titanium mined from the Moon could surely be sold for more than $9/lb.

Plain old rock.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45621803)

Lunar meteorites (meteorites whose origin was the Moon) sell for upward of $1000/gm. Lunar material brought back by Apollo or the Soviet program is unavailable at any price (by law, in the case of Apollo samples, not sure about the Russian stuff).

So bringing back 130 lbs of plain old moon rock should be worth at least $60 million. (Of course you have to trade of "saturating the market" against whatever additional value the first commercial samples might have for historical or other interest.)

Re:Titanium (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45615989)

Titanium is abundant, but the cost of refining it is high. Various outfits have been working on reducing that cost. If they ever succeed, inexpensive metallic titanium will be nice to have. Goodbye stainless steel, hello titanium. The cost of working (machining, etc.) the stuff will probably still be high since it's a bitch to work with, but stainless steel ain't no picnic either.

Moon, schoom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614379)

The only interesting things in the solar system atm are asteroids (which we have a chance of mining in my lifetime) and select gas giant moons (Europa and Titan, to start).

I suggest everyone ignore this story and settle down for some ashes! [cricket.com.au]

Re:Moon, schoom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614435)

Read about BS story or watch BS sport?

That's a sticky wicket, if I every saw one.

Not quite (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45614403)

> The craft looks for all the world like a pair of donuts

I can hear sleeping brits having nightmares. They are "all the world", and that craft is clearly a pair of Doughnuts.

Re:Not quite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614513)

I'll show you a pair of donut holes wearing an ice cream cone.... and here comes the frosting!

First sentence is broken (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614523)

"A U.S. spacecraft hasn't made a controlled landing on the moon since Apollo 17 left the lunar surface on Dec. 14, 1972."
No. This doesn't make sense. You mean:
"A U.S. spacecraft hasn't made a controlled landing on the moon since Apollo 17 landed on the lunar surface on Dec. 11, 1972."

Re:First sentence is broken (2)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 4 months ago | (#45615767)

Unless you consider the astronaut's hopping footsteps to be repeated controlled landings until the last few steps when the left the surface...

Re:First sentence is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45620687)

Those are both true statements that make sense. I can also say:
"A U.S. spacecraft hasn't made a controlled landing on the moon since I ate breakfast this morning."

"since" sets the scope of the statement, not the event that the statement is about.

"No one has left the building since I got here at noon" does not imply that someone left the building at noon.

How long did it take to write that blurb? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614573)

If they don't have the brains to copyedit their own blurb (their rockets will "break to zero velocity" -- indeed!), how in hell do they expect to do anything?

Re:How long did it take to write that blurb? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#45614767)

...their rockets will "break to zero velocity" ...

It probably makes more sense in Chinese.

Re:How long did it take to write that blurb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615195)

May be they use the American idiot spelling "break" to mean "brake"?

Actual photo of future Moon Express miners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614959)

Here: http://images5.alphacoders.com/425/425087.jpg

One suspects they didn't find any of the parts of the Moon Express rocket "by the side of the road", though. :0

Define "kings ransom" first. (1, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | about 4 months ago | (#45614995)

A individual can of peas at your local Wal-Mart spiked 20% overnight because of an increase in fossil fuel prices.

That individual can of peas was transported along with 5,000 other cans in the same truck, and yet it still was hit with an per unit 20% price increase.

Will someone please tell me how the fuck mining titanium or even platinum from 385,000 miles away is even remotely worth it? We can't even keep prices at our local grocery store reasonable when bureaucrats decide to raise the price of gas by 20 cents overnight. I wonder what the cost per gram of moon platinum will be, or why the hell we think it's worth it.

Believe me, I want to prove we've actually been to the moon as much as the next conspiracy theorist, but an unmanned trip to mine metals we can easily find here on earth is a stupid and pointless reason.

Get big Al on the phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615433)

You'll need Alan Greenspan for that. Anyone that can convince the American people that the Federal Reserve makes sense should be perfect for this PR nightmare.

Re:Define "kings ransom" first. (4, Funny)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 4 months ago | (#45615777)

When a 10kg ingot of titanium is shot out of a solar powered linear accelerator on the moon and strategically lands in your bedroom, your surviving friends and relatives will understand the value of mining on the moon.

Re:Define "kings ransom" first. (3, Insightful)

kermidge (2221646) | about 4 months ago | (#45616871)

I don't have the assays handy and I'm not an ores or metals guy anyway, but if the various metallic ores on the Moon are of a nature that they'd be easier to smelt and refine that'd be a plus. If mining and refining can be scaled up and use the freely-available solar energy, then the issue boils down to cost of return.

Using anything from hydrogen-oxygen to mass driver, return of bulk would only need an ablative shield against re-entry. Better might be doing other useful things as well - use the metals to build a tug for LEO, LEO to GEO, and trans-lunar chores, for starters. It really shouldn't take much - a wee bit of imagination (extrapolation, really), some cold hard energy and costs analysis....it's just rocket science with a bit of a twist on materials exploitation.

Yeah, the food thing. What got me was when a few years back when many retailers made their containers smaller to as to keep price rises less spectacular. The thought of all that re-tooling against turning a wheel on a sticker machine struck me as really messed up.

Re:Define "kings ransom" first. (2)

painandgreed (692585) | about 4 months ago | (#45619783)

Will someone please tell me how the fuck mining titanium or even platinum from 385,000 miles away is even remotely worth it?

Realisitically, it's not, at least until we start needing those things in space. Then, it will probably be much more economical to mine and refine such on the moon and then send them where they need to go instead of lifting that material out of Earth's gravity well. In the meantime, the rights to mining on the moon are going to be the big prize in anticipation of that time.

I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616937)

I read it as: “Moon Empress Unveils Next Moon Leader”.

Are you sure it's American? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 4 months ago | (#45618713)

Isn't "Moon Express" the name of the Chinese take-out place around the corner?

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