How to Go to the Moon

Thứ sáu - 26/04/2024 23:11
Everything you need to know about how astronauts travel to the moon and backThe moon is the closest body in space to Earth, with a mean distance of 238,857 miles (384,400 km). The first probe to fly by the moon was the Russian Luna 1,...
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The moon is the closest body in space to Earth, with a mean distance of 238,857 miles (384,400 km).[1] The first probe to fly by the moon was the Russian Luna 1, launched January 2, 1959.[2] Ten years and six months later, the Apollo 11 mission landed Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on the Sea of Tranquility July 20, 1969. For the first time in the 4.5 billion year history of the moon, its population became 2. Going to the moon is a task that, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, requires the best of one’s energies and skills.[3]

Things You Should Know

  • To get to the moon, first you need to escape Earth's gravity by traveling fast enough in a rocket (25,000 miles per hour, to be specific).
  • Once you're orbiting Earth, it's time to fire the thrusters to change your trajectory and head to the moon.
  • After entering the moon's orbit, you're ready to descend to the moon's surface and land the spacecraft.
Part 1
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Planning the Trip

  1. Step 1 Plan to go in stages.
    Despite the all-in-one rocket ships popular in science fiction stories, going to the moon is a mission best broken into separate parts: achieving low-Earth orbit, transferring from Earth to lunar orbit, landing on the moon, and reversing the steps to return to Earth.
    • Some science fiction stories that depicted a more realistic approach to going to the moon had astronauts going to an orbiting space station where smaller rockets were docked that would take them to the moon and back to the station. Because the United States was in competition with the Soviet Union, this approach was not adopted; the space stations Skylab, Salyut, and the International Space Station were all put up after Project Apollo had ended.
    • The Apollo project used the three-stage Saturn V rocket. The bottom-most first stage lifted the assembly off the launching pad to a height of 42 miles (68 km), the second stage boosted it almost to low Earth orbit, and the third stage pushed it into orbit and then toward the moon.[4]
    • The Constellation project proposed by NASA for a return to the moon in 2018 consists of a two different two-stage rockets. There are two different first stage rocket designs: a crew-only lifting stage consisting of a single five-segment rocket booster, the Ares I, and a crew-and-cargo lifting stage consisting of five rocket engines beneath an external fuel tank supplemented by two five-segment solid rocket boosters, the Ares V. The second stage for both versions uses a single-liquid fuel engine. The heavy lifting assembly would carry the lunar orbital capsule and lander, which the astronauts would transfer to when the two rocket systems dock.[5]
  2. Step 2 Pack for the trip.
    Because the moon has no atmosphere, you have to bring your own oxygen so you have something to breathe while you’re there, and when you stroll about on the lunar surface you need to be in a spacesuit to protect yourself from the blazing heat of the two-week-long lunar day or the mind-numbing cold of the equally long lunar night – not to mention the radiation and micro-meteoroids the lack of atmosphere exposes the surface to.
    • You’ll also need to have something to eat. Most of the foods used by the astronauts in space missions have to be freeze-dried and concentrated to reduce their weight and then be reconstituted by adding water when eaten.[6] They also need to be high-protein foods to minimize the amount of body waste generated after eating. (At least you can wash them down with Tang.)
    • Everything you take into space with you adds weight, which increases the amount of fuel necessary to lift it and the rocket carrying it into space, so you won’t be able to take too many personal effects into space – and those lunar rocks will weigh 6 times as much on Earth as they do on the moon.
  3. Step 3 Determine the launch window.
    A launch window is the time range for launching the rocket from Earth to be able to land in the desired area of the moon during a time when there would be sufficient light for exploring the landing area. The launch window was actually defined two ways, as a monthly window and a daily window.
    • The monthly launch window takes advantage of where the planned landing area is with respect to the Earth and the sun. Because Earth’s gravity forces the moon to keep the same side facing Earth, exploration missions were chosen in areas of the Earth-facing side to make radio communication between Earth and the moon possible. The time also had to be chosen at a time when the sun was shining on the landing area.
    • The daily launch window takes advantage of launch conditions, such as the angle at which the spacecraft would be launched, the performance of booster rockets, and the presence of a ship downsite from the launch to track the rocket’s flight progress. Early on, light conditions for launching were important, as daylight made it easier to oversee aborts on the launch pad or before achieving orbit, as well as being able to document aborts with photographs. As NASA gained more practice in overseeing missions, daylight launches were less necessary; Apollo 17 was launched at night.[7]
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

To The Moon or Bust

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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Returning to Earth

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  • Be aware that most lunar missions require thorough testing of the equipment before launch. The Apollo 11 mission that landed Armstrong and Aldrin was preceded by four manned missions that tested the command module (Apollo 7) and lunar lander (Apollo 9 and 10), as well as the ability to transfer from Earth to lunar orbit and back again (Apollo 8 and 10). The astronauts also had to undergo regular fitness testing and training in how to use their equipment. Also, 3 astronauts died in an Apollo 1 fire.
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