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Author Topic: Arduinos IN SPAAAAACEEE!  (Read 3063 times)
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I'm sorry to state the obvious that you are deliberately driving this discussion towards max word count and min meaning.
If you recall I was the one who said I don't want to talk about how to get there. That is not what I wanted this thread to be about. All I wanted to find out was what would be necessary to make an AVR micro-controller work in space. Everyone else seems to want to talk about how to get it there. Which is an interesting discussion in and of itself, but not what I started this topic for.

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I have a statement - you can not do what you say you want to do. And as you say yourself - be my guest and prove me wrong by providing as much evidence about your abilities, prior work and determination, as you have at hand. I am a mere spectator of your efforts to change my opinion.
See, the thing is, I just don't care. If you have some suggestion as to how an AVR might be made to work in space great. Otherwise it's off topic.

I don't have to prove to you I can do it. Nor do I have to detail my skill set and give you a resume. This isn't a job it's a frakken hobby.

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I watched the Top Gear team's fantastic failure of trying to put a reliant robin into space. I knew that was rather far fetched, but had the release mechanisms worked it might have actually made it.

That has got to be the most ridiculous statement I've read all week.
What, exactly, is ridiculous about it? Sending a car into space? I agree. That it might actually have worked? Whyever not? Given the right amount of the right kind of fuel set up in the right way there's no reason why it couldn't work.

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StarkRG - what age bracket would you put yourself in?  I only ask as I think it would perhaps put your comments into context.
27, though I'm not sure why this makes any difference. I haven't really learned all that much since I was 17. Well, ok, calculus helps, I suppose...

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Like I said, it's not negative, it's realistic.  The average private citizen simply lacks the funding, equipment, and quite frankly intelligence to put a device on the moon or even into orbit!
No, it's defeatist. I've already said I don't want to talk about funding right now. I want to find out what equipment I would need in order to, eventually, discuss how much it would cost. So the only thing I can see is that you're questioning my intelligence... I agree, most people are morons, but you can't just assume that everyone you meet is.

If you know how to deal with projectile motion you can put something in orbit.

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I would love to build one of those DIY laser cutting devices, but I know I just don't have the cash or time for it, so I'm not bothering to ask for help.
If you don't know what's required to do it how do you know you can't?

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By all means, continue this thread, but I'm just trying to put a realistic spin on the conversation, rather than what sounds like a young teenagers unreasonable desires.
Why does age have anything to do with it?

The idea is: here's a proposition. We know it can be done since it's been done before. What we don't know is what is required, using current technology, to do it.

Since I've already said the point of this topic is not to discuss funding or transportation, those are topics for another time.

You can't know you can't do something until you've found out exactly what's required. I know I have the knowhow to put something into orbit (simple mechanics, really). I know I have the knowhow to build a robot. In fact, the only thing I don't know about is whether the materials I have available will work. That's what I aim to discover. If it actually comes to anything, great. If not, great, I have more knowledge than I started with. If 10 years down the line I discover that the unsurmountable problems I discovered now have become surmountable I can do it, but I can't know that unless I've looked into it now. If in 13 years my nephew decides he wants to do a science fair project I can say "look, this is feasible, I've already done all the research."

So, yes, negative responses are off topic. "realistic" responses are just negative responses in disguise since you aren't giving any explanation what, exactly is stopping me from being able to do it. In fact, any response that doesn't have to do with radiation hardening, heat-sinking (in space), or some new issue I haven't forseen yet.

Currently I'm only concerned with the electronics of the robot itself. (and, to some extent, the mechanics of it). I don't care, for the moment, about the spacecraft.

I'm not asking "Can I do it" I'm asking "What do I need to do it?"
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 05:46:32 pm by StarkRG » Logged

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Ok, I interpereted the motivation as "Ignore the practicalities of getting there, I want to design a lunar vehicle. What are some of the detailed design considerations, such as radiation, that I'll need to consider?"

I think that's a valid and interesting topic. NASA isn't one guy who designed the rockets, trained the astronauts, built the lunar rovers, it was teams doing individual elements.
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Ok, I interpereted the motivation as "Ignore the practicalities of getting there, I want to design a lunar vehicle. What are some of the detailed design considerations, such as radiation, that I'll need to consider?"

I think that's a valid and interesting topic. NASA isn't one guy who designed the rockets, trained the astronauts, built the lunar rovers, it was teams doing individual elements.
Yup, that's basically the idea. NASA did it as several smaller, interconnected projects happening simultaneously. I don't see why I couldn't do it as several smaller, interconnected projects happening sequentially.

NASA's already done most of the difficult work, I'm not starting from scratch here.
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StarkRG:

So - is this all just some kind of "thought experiment", with some notes that come out at the end to be filed away for later for when it seems that launch prices are coming waaaaay down? Beyond that, I don't see much practical need.

If you were designing something for harsh earth-bound environments, then I could at least see the possibilities. For space-bound (and lunar-bound) devices, even if you managed to gather all of the information, then design and built a device, it would still be a moot point because it is unlikely that, within your lifetime or your children's lifetime, that the political will and technology will be there to enable ordinary people to put stuff into orbit or send it to the moon.

The energy costs alone are that huge. You should know this. Unless there is some breakthrough in energy research (sustainable fusion?), space is simply out of reach for all but large multinational corporations, and governments - and so far, only government entities have managed to put men in orbit, on the moon, and send devices to other planets, orbit the sun, and out of the solar system.

Even if there is an energy breakthrough, you still have the political issues to solve; we could loft large buildings into orbit TODAY, were it not for the lack of political will (and a pesky thing called the above-ground nuclear test ban treaty). The population gets real butt-achey about anything with the word "nuclear" in it, because they are ignorant and selfish, mainly. Too bad that the only thing that will effectively get us off this planet, and out among the stars, will most likely have to be nuclear powered.

The thing is, all of the problems you are asking about are pretty much solved. They were solved a long time ago (and the vast majority of the information regarding them is free for the asking for US citizens, because it was paid for with your parents tax dollars). You can go ahead and attempt to re-engineer them, but as soon as it does become cheap enough to go into orbit and then to the moon, those companies which have solved the problems will simply pull some plans off the shelf, build the vehicle, and launch it. They'll probably be able to do it cheaper than an individual could. Just don't expect this to happen in the next 50 years - or even a hundred.

If you are simply doing a thought experiment, why ask here? Have you researched at your library? At university libraries? Have you travelled to Cal-Tech (JPL) and did some research there? Have you looked online? The answers to your questions are all there; tons of books and papers have been written covering all of them.

Honestly, there isn't much special - for most of it, you do what you can with light-weight materials for shielding, put the rest behind certain kinds of mass/matter (lead is one, there are others), then use redundancy with voting (for the processors), as well as watchdog interrupts and such, and you still have to pray. Getting rid of radiation is mainly done with external heatsinks and a "slow roll" to even out the temperatures involved. You also need to think about dust and such (once on the moon); sealed systems, positive pressurization, etc - can help with that (but eventually, it will fail).

As others have noted, you can learn a lot just by trying to design something to deal with harsh earth-bound issues (for instance, I am constantly amazed at the design and evolution of the iRobot Roomba - the floor is a very harsh environment for a vacumming robot!). If you can get something to survive a month in your backyard without fixes or updates, your next step would be to stick it in the Black Rock desert for a year; if it can survive there, it can probably survive on the moon!
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NASA's already done most of the difficult work, I'm not starting from scratch here.
Correct. Then why are you asking the forum members the expected radiation levels in space? A grade school search like below produces good information. The information you can't seem to find has been availabe for ~50 years. Many things are possible, but why you expect forum members to predict the Arduino performance outside the bounds for which it is designed is puzzling. As for you being on the edge of break thru on using cheap parts for space exploration, I don't see it. From your high flying post on the subject, I don't think you currently have what it takes to get there. Most advances come from hard work and study, not circular day dreaming and repetative nonproductive behavior. If you really want it to happen, I suggest you start with a good engineering school.  

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=van+allen+belt&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=100&lr=&as_filetype=&ft=i&as_sitesearch=&as_qdr=all&as_rights=&as_occt=any&cr=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&safe=images
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Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, looking through your stuff.   smiley-cool

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If you don't know what's required to do it how do you know you can't?

I know precisely what's required, having researched them myself.  I know the prices are too high and the time required to great.  I was simply stating that I'm not going to ask how to interface something like that with an Arduino (for example), because I see no point in the future where I can build one.

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"realistic" responses are just negative responses in disguise since you aren't giving any explanation what, exactly is stopping me from being able to do it.

I know you're going to metaphorically kill me for saying this but:  MONEY!

Maybe I'm just a pessimist, and I don't see the point in perusing what seems to me a fruitless endeavor.  Either way, I don't want to discourage you, please continue learning and experimenting.  Things you discover may very well help future Arduino-related projects.
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So - is this all just some kind of "thought experiment", with some notes that come out at the end to be filed away for later for when it seems that launch prices are coming waaaaay down? Beyond that, I don't see much practical need.
If that's the only way you can think about it, then yes.

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If you were designing something for harsh earth-bound environments, then I could at least see the possibilities. For space-bound (and lunar-bound) devices, even if you managed to gather all of the information, then design and built a device, it would still be a moot point because it is unlikely that, within your lifetime or your children's lifetime, that the political will and technology will be there to enable ordinary people to put stuff into orbit or send it to the moon.
First of all, I'm not planning on building anything until I have all the problems addressed, this includes transportation. But before I tackle transportation I need to know I can have something that needs transport.

I don't see what political will has to do with it. The only parts I'd have to deal with the government about would be purchasing a large amount of explosives (the fuel) and the launch. Since I'd obviously be launching from a more equatorial region I may not have to deal with the US government at all. Even if I was, though, they give permission to hobbyists for high altitude flight all the time.

The technology already exists, no need to wait for that. Whether it's cheap is another question, one that is not covered by this topic.

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The energy costs alone are that huge.
Energy costs? Since we're only talking about the robot here and not the launch vehicle what are you referring to?

Energy storage is something to deal with, for sure. As is what kind and size of solar panels would be required.

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You should know this. Unless there is some breakthrough in energy research (sustainable fusion?), space is simply out of reach for all but large multinational corporations, and governments - and so far, only government entities have managed to put men in orbit, on the moon, and send devices to other planets, orbit the sun, and out of the solar system.
Yes, so far this has been the case. It only takes one person to prove that it can be done. Besides, I wouldn't consider url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Composites_SpaceShipOne]Scaled Composites[/url] to be a government agency, they've put people into orbit. I'm not trying to put anything living into space just electronics.

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The population gets real butt-achey about anything with the word "nuclear" in it, because they are ignorant and selfish, mainly.
Agreed, though I don't think that's necessary to power a little robot.

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Just don't expect this to happen in the next 50 years - or even a hundred.
Really? Why? I've heard estimates that if the funding was provided we could build, and launch, manned interstellar craft within 50 years. We went to the moon at great expense over 40 years ago, much has improved, technologically, since then.

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why ask here?
Why not? Why should anyone ask anything here? What is the purpose of this forum if not to ask these things?

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You also need to think about dust and such (once on the moon); sealed systems, positive pressurization, etc - can help with that (but eventually, it will fail).
This is a good point, and a good example of the kind of information I'm looking for.

Vacuum cementing is another problem I'd have to deal with.

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As others have noted, you can learn a lot just by trying to design something to deal with harsh earth-bound issues (for instance, I am constantly amazed at the design and evolution of the iRobot Roomba - the floor is a very harsh environment for a vacumming robot!). If you can get something to survive a month in your backyard without fixes or updates, your next step would be to stick it in the Black Rock desert for a year; if it can survive there, it can probably survive on the moon!
Obviously this would be part of the development stage. However I'm not even close to that yet.

I can build the most rugged device but it's all moot if the thing gets fried by solar wind.

How long can my Arduino blink lights or turn motors on Earth? Theoretically, until there's no more power. Given solar panels the answer becomes "Until the sun goes out."
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why you expect forum members to predict the Arduino performance outside the bounds for which it is designed is puzzling.
I don't expect anything. If someone knows the answer or knows an easy way to get the answer then I'll take that. If not, then fine.

I figured the point of this forum was sort of as an alternative to doing everything on your own. If that's not the case then the only alternative I can see is that it's about bragging...

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I know you're going to metaphorically kill me for saying this but:  MONEY!
I won't kill you for saying that, I'll just ignore you since I've already said I consider money to be a minor issue at this stage.
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while i think your chances are slim i wish the best of luck to you

i dont think your even going to get this off the floor for less than £150k

lets be realistic - you build the robot - you work out how to transmit your webcam feed 200,000 miles...  :smiley

how the fluffy duck are you going to build a rocket that A, is big enough to carry the fuel to get there. B, have the accuracy to hit the moon from 200,000 miles away and C, land on the moon without killing the robot

as i said best of luck

personally i would start with a blinking LED
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i dont think your even going to get this off the floor for less than £150k
Perhaps, but I won't know until I figure out what's required. Did you just pull that figure out of your arse or do you have a list of requirements that you were able to figure out the cost from? If you don't have a list then that's what I'm trying to make.

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how the fluffy duck are you going to build a rocket that A, is big enough to carry the fuel to get there. B, have the accuracy to hit the moon from 200,000 miles away and C, land on the moon without killing the robot
These are problems for another thread. This one is about how to make sure the electronics don't fry. But to show you that I have actually thought about these, B would be done using some kind of radar or lidar. Landing would be difficult as there is no atmosphere to slow descent (which is why Mars is the fallback option, further away but easier to land on). Getting something into orbit is easy, and can be done like those cube sats. Getting it further than LEO is more difficult and requires more thought.

I'm not dismissing these problems, I'm just not dealing with them yet.

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personally i would start with a blinking LED
Been there, done that, what's next?

I figured, because of its content, this would be a forum where everyone would have an exploratory attitude. I guess I figured wrong. I guess this is why there's so much animosity towards Arduinos. Most users aren't interested in doing more than blinking lights.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 08:09:25 pm by StarkRG » Logged

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nasa with a unlimited budget struggle to get things into mars and work

seriously - just look at what your trying to do

nasa have a team of 40 people to guide the rockets where they are meant to go - do you?

i wish you prove me wrong

if you manage this i will sell my house to fund your next project
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nasa with a unlimited budget struggle to get things into mars and work
Since when has NASA had an unlimited budget? Last I heard they were struggling with massive budget cuts...

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nasa have a team of 40 people to guide the rockets where they are meant to go - do you?
Again, this is off topic (having absolutely nothing to do with electronics surviving in space), but why do I need 40 people to do this? It's all going to be done by software anyway. Just look at projects like the one going to Pluto, at the moment it's shut off for most of the year, only coming on for a short period so two or three people can do checkups on it.

The calculations themselves are rather simple*. It's easier than aiming a rifle since you don't have to worry about wind or friction. The complexity arises because you have to be extremely precise. It is not difficult to make a computer be precise, it just takes time.

* linear motion bent circularly by acceleration due to Earth's gravity (~9.8m/s/s) in an all-but-frictionless vacuum. Factor in Lunar gravity and maybe the Sun's and you have your equation. I'm not even sure pressure from solar wind would be an issue at this short a distance and this small a device.

I just want to get past the initial reactions of "It can't be done" "it can't be done" and "it's impossible, it can't be done" and get down to answering "What, specifically, are the difficulties?" And, for this thread, specifically the difficulties with having electronics in space.

If I had said "I want to send a robot to the moon, how can I do this?" then I might understand all the negativity. But I didn't, I said "I want to send a robot to the moon, how can I make sure its electronics will survive?" So far most of the responses haven't even come close to addressing this question.
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how do nasa do it

how are we going to know

look at the pro's

and i know nasa don't have an unlimited budget

it was just a point i was making - they spend 100's of millions before they even get it off the floor
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I figured, because of its content, this would be a forum where everyone would have an exploratory attitude. I guess I figured wrong. I guess this is why there's so much animosity towards Arduinos. Most users aren't interested in doing more than blinking lights.
I'll ignoring the slam on the Arduino community, and give a courteous response...

I think the overall tone of the responses are due to the fact that this is probably not the best forum this type of question.  (Particularly posting this in the FAQ subforum, as there's nothing "Frequent" about this Question at all).

Most of the posts in these forums are related to very specific and actionable projects.  They are mostly specific to Arduino projects, and are from people who are seeking to overcome a short term challenges, errors, problems, etc...   (Or who are seeking broad advice on an actionable idea.)

Whereas your question, while interesting and thought provoking, is neither.  It is not really Arduino specific and does not lend itself to the expertise of the people on this board.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 08:38:14 pm by 33Warlord » Logged

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Well, I'm sorry. Wrong category. Wrong forum. My fault.

My "slam" on the community was based on being frustrated at reading responses to what I considered cool projects involving Arduinos posted on sites like hackaday. People routinely talk about how horrible they are and how they're only good for blinking lights.

I see them as prototyping tools. Quickly and easily programmed with a minimal learning curve. If blinking lights is all you can come up with then that's a failure of imagination, not the Arduino.

I was really excited to get mine, and to have this forum of like-minded people who want to discover what they can do with it. My excitement has been drained away by people with apparently little imagination. Chances are I won't be posting too much of my experiences here since imagination and desire for discovery is apparently not welcome.
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