Representatives of SpaceX, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance participated in a forum last week, conducted by NASA to determine the future of the Moon. This is not exactly how they will live, how long they will stay or what they will do; no, this is much more interesting: so people will travel from the moon's orbit to the surface of the moon. The future of the next generation of lunar collectors is determined right now.
The plan right now is quite different from Apollo, who sent two orbits to spacecraft around the moon, sent one to the surface, then returned to the mother ship to return to Earth. Instead of something simple, the next era of the lunar exploration will happen from a door circulating in the cis-lunar space. What makes this so incredible is how odd the orbit and its causes are.
This is The Orbit That's Special
So far, most of us need to know how Apollo missions go. Saturn V flew out of the nose, traversed the Earth for an orbit, and then re-ignited the engine to send it to the moon. After a three-day trip, Apollo's Command Module entered a near-equatorial orbit, sent the moon in its path, waited a day or two or three, stuck, and then returned to Earth. The equator is the easiest place to land on the moon, and the first three missions of Apollo – Apollo 11, 12 and 14 – landed several degrees from the moon equator. Later the missions rushed further north, but only so far: Apollo 15 landed at 26 ° north latitude. Of course, we explored the moon, but it's like saying that you studied the Earth if you were only north, like Florida. There are interesting things in a more temperate climate, and especially on the Moon: there is water under ice under the craters of the lunar pillars.
Part of this was due to the technology at that time. Apollo could theoretically land on the poles. He could land on the equator. Medium latitudes were challenging; to reach these latitudes, the command module will have to move in orbit on a slope that is equally far from zero as of 90. Of course, you can take Apollo's Moon's Apparatus to the Moon at 45 ° north, with a low level of the horizon, but to get back, you have to meet the command module. This could also happen, but then I will stay. Apollo was simply not built for landing at medium latitudes, and Earth is low on the horizon.
Of course, this is rocket science, but it also plays the Kerbal space program. With the equator and Mun in the zero-degree orbit, you do not need to think too much about the arrival at Mun. If you want to go to latitudes other than the Armstrong memorial or the arch north of the eastern crater, it takes a little more work.
Keep in mind that the same applies to past, potential landing sites for Apollo missions. When Harrison Schmitt proposed landing on the far side of the moon, using a relay satellite to send transmissions around several thousand miles of rocks, he offered a landing near the equator. It never happened, but the possible landings of Apollo's missions were based on the capabilities of the Apollo spacecraft.
New orbit and portal
NASA's new plan for future moon trips does not go directly to the moon. Instead, future freaks will first visit a "moon gate" in a near-rectilinear aura. What is Near-Rectangular Chlororbate (NRHO)? It takes a bit to unpack, but the benefits are worth it.
There are stable co-orbits in any three-body system and there are already hundreds of objects in the solar system in such a configuration. As a thought experiment, imagine yourself on the surface of the sun. Immediately above you, about five AUs, is Jupiter. If you had to draw an equilateral triangle with five AU long legs, you will find a group of asteroids leading Jupiter. These are the Trojan asteroids, and thanks to Jupiter's vast mass, these asteroids are in extremely stable orbit. They also circle around a point of Lagrange, in this case L4 (orbit in front of Jupiter) and L5 (after Jupiter). There are three more points that are stable in each orbit, but the important ones are L1 and L2. In the Sun-Earth system, these points are for solar monitors, and ultimately, James Webb's space telescope will hang around Sun-Earth L2 or in the Shadow of Earth, about a million miles away.
Although there is a mathematical reality of Lagrange points, it is actually much easier to move around these points. That's what the lunar entrance will do. Near-rectilinear halo-orbit is a special case of L2 Earth-Moon orbit, which at first glance looks strange polar orbit of the Moon, with an orbit taking between 6 and 8 days.
From a simple point of view, NRHO resembles a highly eccentric polar orbit around the moon, with a periapsis of about 2,000 miles and an apoapsis of about ten times more. However, this orbit is not a lunar orbit. Mathematically, it is still orbiting around the L2 point of Earth-Moon. It takes a little more energy to get to the moon's orbit, but it gives some fantastic benefits. It is easy to reach with carrier launchers that are currently flying, or in testing, it is in a favorable position to observe the Earth, the sun and the deep space, as well as to communicate with the Earth. country.
Since it is orbit around Earth-Moon L2, it is inherently unstable and will require little fuel to maintain orbit. This is a problem, but since Apollo's science packages have discovered, almost all the orbits around the moon are unstable and will require fuel to maintain orbit.
Soon there will be a space station that runs around the moon. It's not actually in the moon's orbit, though if you look at it long enough it might look like this. This is the orbit, which will be the first stop point on the way to the Moon, and unlike the Apollo missions, this lunar entrance will take us anywhere, whether it be to the water ice caught under the poles to the far side. on the Moon, or visit the historic landmarks of the landing sites of Apollo and Geodesist.