[meteorite-list] trips to the Moon (Moon bases and meteoriterecovery)

From: MexicoDoug <mexicodoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 14:04:53 -0400
Message-ID: <8CE049E2E4C79A2-10F0-2F57_at_webmail-m172.sysops.aol.com>

Hi Richard and thanks for the defense from the heart (to the choir of
course). Like I said, If I could sign the $800,000,000 funding check
(which would equate in one measure to $14.1 million per gram of
material returned), I would do it in a heartbeat because it is another
program I'd like to defend.

I understand your points, I'm just a little fuzzy on why this has to be
such a competition due to the relative mission costs and completely
different objectives. The libration point mission I propose which you
want to call "street sweeping" could probably be had for a tenth the
cost of the relatively inexpensive program you have so much pride,
OSIRIS-Rex, so I wouldn't even put them in the same class. And they
aren't: O-R is a "New Frontiers" project with a higher price tag which
beat out a fight with a sample return mission to the far side of the
Moon, while the libration mission would be part of the low budget
"Discovery" program projects, and likely one of the cheapest ones at
that. A libration mission doesn't even need to completely escape
Earth's gravitational field - it's only about 200,000 miles which is
tantalizing to me as I look at the same number on my truck's odometer.

I guess things are tense around there so please don't take the 'pet
project' comment in a dismissive light at the early morning hour you
wrote the reply, much less find some way to personalize it to a career
which is a ridiculous thing to do when discussing the relative benefits
of two missions. We all have pet projects that are driven by our
passions, professional interests and just a gut feeling. A pet project
is the one endearing to you. Forgive me if we all have different
perspectives - but are on the same team. If we didn't champion our
projects to earn the support or respect for them from others, the world
would be a a much poorer place for it.

Regarding the funding, we can all related to that - you know how most
professional meteorite hunter feels with every big mission they take
on; in a far worse support situation than in a University jockeying for
funding. I don't mind your being dismissive to equate
meteorite/meteoroid/tiny body hunting in space to "street sweeping"
rather than coming up with some fancy named project as I asked for a
Meteoroid Exploration Traveler to L's, like Athena-MEt-L for studying
the birth of the Earth-Moon system which may have been created when
Earth was cracked open with a hammer like Zeus' head was by Hephestus
birthing Athena, thunderbolt in hand ... But it would be nice to get a
little more respect for it than street sweeping,.. though cute, for
some it has its connotations that would make it a terrible marketing
strategy and be instantly dismissed!

Speaking of the value of returning pristine meteoric material to Earth,
any more exciting news from the Stardust analyses lately?

Kindest wishes

PS I think I'll go back to lurking after hopefully responding to
Sterling's perspectives at some point

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Kowalski <damoclid at yahoo.com>
To: MexicoDoug <mexicodoug at aim.com>;
meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
<meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Wed, Jun 29, 2011 7:18 am
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] trips to the Moon (Moon bases and

----- Original Message -----

> From: MexicoDoug <mexicodoug at aim.com>
> To: damoclid at yahoo.com; meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
> Cc:
> Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 11:37 PM
> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] trips to the Moon (Moon bases and
> "1999 RQ36 is a carbonaceous Potentially Hazardous Asteroid with a
> of
> about 350 meters in diameter that has a 1 in 1,800 chance of earth
imapct in
> 2182. I find that mission much more tantalizing than exploring the
> points to do some street sweeping."
> Oh, grief, another thing to defend, I better call a shrink. Good luck
> pet project, I'd sign off on it if I could ... But, a near-earth 171
> into the future 99.94% probability that the statistics will fade away
and be
> forgotten vs. collide with Earth is something I'm willing to be
> about if I were forced into the position to choose one and only one
> the Discovery program thankfully isn't so restricting for those who
> understand how to build a budget to explore the heretofore unexplored.

I guess I see this from a different perspective.

Finding potential impactors decades or centuries out is what I do for a
We not only want but we desire the longest lead time possible The
longer the
lead time before impact, the more time we have to study an impactor and
come up
with the best plan for mitigation. The longer the lead time also allows
for the
minimum of energy input require to deflect the impactor.

Thank you for so dismissively calling my career and the associated
programs of
planetary defense a "pet project".

1999 RQ36 was chosen as OSIRIS-Rex's target for a number of reasons.
The current
impact threat probably had little bearing on the selection. The mission
has been
selected and we are awaiting the signing of the contracts in the next
few weeks.
Sorry if being awarded this gigabuck program, the biggest ever at UA,
continuation of a long history of LPL's solar system exploration is the
of a little pride in me.

The thing about Potentially Hazardous Asteroids, like 1999 RQ36, is
that they
will one day in the distant future almost certainly impact the earth.
It may be
millions of years from now, but I for one would like to know a bit more
this class of asteroids.

> In reading your opinion, I really did get a good chuckle, though.
> of "street sweeping" you fondly refer to is the reason for the
> existence of this list! What you basically have in each of them is a
> gravitational well that meteoroids can fall into. This is pristine
> material - and I don't mean Antarctic style, I mean reach out and
touch a
> meteoroid in the ideal case. Sure in some circles the Near Earth
> hazard is like having to dot your i's and cross your t's, but if I
> to go hunting meteoric material anywhere in this Solar System you
know my
> Even if material can't stay there for the long haul due to various
> perturbations we might dream up, that really isn't so bad. Even a
blink of
> an eye such as one million-years accumulation of perfectly fresh
material in
> quantities greater than we find in the happiest hunting grounds on
Earth would

> be interesting.

I guess I don't see the point of a mission that has to explore millions
of cubic
kilometers for some objects that should be there, but of which we have
not found
a single object.

If I want to bring back the most science for the buck, I'd go to the
interesting known NEO; One that has potential for spawning 5 - 20 meter
meteoroids that can drop meteorites on earth, spend about a year
studying and
surveying it and then finally landing, retrieve samples and the return
to earth.
To me that's the best way to return pristine meteoritic material to the

> I should comment that I did not mean to infer specifically that the
> overwhelmingly endowed with Lunar material. I think it would be
similar to the

> meteorite type distribution we find on Earth for falls, just pristine
and not
> single meteorwrong to be found.

In my opinion, if you want lunar, go to the moon and bring back as many
tons as
you can haul.

> Designing the collection device is something I could really "dig" as
> bet could most hunters, tinkerers and geologists. I mean, you visit
> and you learn about one asteroid. You work this one out and your
quest is to
> the Rosetta Stones to all of our meteorite classes and likely some
> local 'geoselenological' history. The dirt behind the refrigerator!
> I'm proud to be a card-carrying street sweeper! Motion to change the
> from "street sweeping" to meteorite collecting on steroids (not
> a-steroids).. Actually I'm not sure if these objects are meteoroids
or even
> should be called meteorites. They've clearly fallen into a
> well and they do not have independent orbits .... micro-satellites is
> tacky-sounding term for me. if for no other reason than to get the
IAU all
> about what we can't call them, I say the mission is well worth it! ;-)
> Kindest wishes
> Doug

What you describe is exactly why I call this street sweeping. Sure some
gems can
be in there but mostly you'll get a lot of mixed up junk with no
context about
where it came from, just like the sand and debris that accumulates on
parts of the road.

Now to honor my word to return to semi-lurker status


Richard Kowalski
Full Moon Photography
IMCA #1081
Received on Wed 29 Jun 2011 02:04:53 PM PDT

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