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Bill Stone & Hydrogen: Exploring Europa, Mining the Moon

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posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 01:16 AM

Engineer and daredevil explorer Bill Stone is obsessed with discovery. After years of crawling through the deepest unexplored caves on the planet, he’s building robots to go where he can’t. His company Stone Aerospace built DepthX, an autonomous robot, which descended 1,099 feet down Mexico’s deepest watery sinkhole. By 2008 he’ll send an enhanced machine through the ice of Lake Bonney in the Antarctic. But that’s just a test for the real mission, building a probe with Nasa to bore through miles of ice on Jupiter’s moon Europa, then swim through the buried Europan sea in search of alien life.

Frickin You Tube link

Original TED Talk: Bill Stone explores the world's deepest caves

The Endurance Homepage

I saw this presentation on TED and enjoyed the attractive delivery. Watching a speculative submersible exploring the oceans of Europa to a soundtrack of Steppenwolf is a good combination. I searched for more information on Stone and see if he's still working towards the same goal. The Endurance test (see link above) has been a great success and continues to provide data from Lake Bonney. As he explains in the video, they are attempting to demonstrate that a similar technology would function in a Europan environment.

5 June 2009: NASA has approved $250,000 in upgrade funding for the Endurance AUV for the upcoming 2009 field season at West Lake Bonney, Antarctica. Based upon the results and experiences in the vehicle’s successful 2008 field season, Stone Aerospace engineers and scientists from University of Illinois at Chicago and Montana State University developed recommendations to improve vehicle performance, sub-ice survivability, and data collection characteristics.
Stone Aerospace

What about his dreams of mining for Helium-3 and using the Moon as a staging post to aim for Mars? He remains serious. The TED talk is essentially a sales pitch for funding. He mentions Bigelow Aerospace. These are people with the connections and the finances to fund these ambitious projects. Unfortunately, there seems to be no connection between Stone's 'Shackelton Energy Company' and it indicates he's been unable to attract the serious funding required. There are quite a few people with the same goals and whoever gets involved in the chase stands to be wealthy beyond dreams or bankrupt ( Boeing details 2007 )

Stone is a dynamic guy with a willingness to put his neck on the line...he also attracts people with the same spirit. He's aware of the cost of space missions ($10 000 per KG) and needs the funding. The science behind his ambitions is well-supported and has interested Nasa. He's got competition in a notoriously conservative area of science.

Discovering rich concentrations of hydrogen on the moon would open up a universe of possibilities—literally. Rocket fuels and consumables that now cost an average of US $10 000 per kilogram to loft could instead be produced on the moon much more cheaply. For the first time, access to space would be truly economical.

At last, people would be able to begin new ventures, including space tourism, space-debris cleanup, satellite refueling, and interplanetary voyages. Lunar prospecting will cost a lot of money—perhaps $20 billion over a decade. Rovers would have to descend into the polar craters to sample the deposits and test for ice, and then move on to other spots to form an overall map, much as wildcatters do every day in oil fields.
June 2009 Article: How the extraction of lunar hydrogen or ice could fuel humanity's expansion into space

Apologies for untidy thread...bit of a rush job.

[edit on 20-7-2009 by Kandinsky]

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 01:23 AM
I know it's gonna happen.
Arthur C. Clarke told me so.

surround water with ice, apply heat, crack knuckles and watch.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 02:22 AM
If we ever manage to colonize Europa, I think it would be a smart idea to send missions to Titan to collect liquified natural gas to fuel our machines, colonies etc..

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 02:23 AM
Video doesn't work.

Did the other two who made comments notice that? lol

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 02:34 AM
i hope i am alive when this happens...

when is the whole europa thing scheduled for?

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 02:34 AM
reply to post by breakingdradles

no, godfather, we didn't. however, some have heard of this europa phenomenon outside of videos on ats.

...nice suite lol.

[edit on 20-7-2009 by heyo]

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 03:18 AM
We need his kind of thinking but before He-3 can be used for a fuel we need to be able to create a fusion reactor capable of using it to actually produce energy. That reactor then needs to be put into a spacecraft. From where we are now, I think we're talking about a pretty long timeframe and some investors with a very long view.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 10:41 AM

Originally posted by breakingdradles
Video doesn't work.

Did the other two who made comments notice that? lol

I couldn't get the video to link...there're two links immediately beneath it that link to You Tube and TED respectively.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by Phage
It's not the first thread of mine that I've criticized...I wrote it in a rush as a way of sharing the video. The video didn't work and I wrote H-3 instead of 'Hydrogen.' Pretty darn poor!

You're correct as usual. There's no technology to make use of H-3 at this moment in time...quite a few papers. I've edited the title to correct it. I also publicly admit to writing a thread with the sleep still in my eyes.

Regarding Bill Stone...his thinking is excellent. Not only that, he's pro-active in attempting to achieve ideas that are very ambitious and visionary. He's been very busy in the subsequent 2 years...he's combining theories with practical endeavor. If only the video would work...ATS guys could see what an inspiring presentation he 53mb it was too big to upload to ATSM

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 11:54 AM
While Europa is certainly intriguing, I personally think that Saturn's Moon Enceladus is at least equally -- if not more -- intriguing.

Enceladus seems to also have an ocean, but tests of the water on Enceladus (sampled by the Cassini spacecraft while flying through Enceladus' geysers) also appears to contain organic compounds -- compounds which could be the building blocks for life. As far as I know, these organic compounds have not been detected on Europa. Although we haven't been able to sample the water thought to be on Europa like Cassini was able to sample Enceladus' water -- so Europa could may be a prime candidate for life.

Europa may have been the "darling" of astrobiologists in the past, but I think Enceladus will become planetary scientists' new favorite place to wonder about the possibility of life.

Before NASA commits large amounts of money to a Europa mission, we should be sure that Europa is the best place to look for life.

[edit on 7/20/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

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