Hi! A lot has happened though little has been blogged (at least by me) since my last blog. Anyway, here is the Moonbas Lappträsk blog and short for April. In Lappträsk , spring is coming and the snow is melting fast - the first photo is from two weeks ago when the fence just got visible again and the second is from today. The photo was taken at 8 in the evening - days are also getting longer real quick now.
By now we have a good set of speakers for Lunar Development Conference 2023 (see moonsociety.org/conferences/2023-ldc). There are still slots left though, so if you have a good topic or know someone you would like to present, please let me know!
Apart from spring coming, the last month has been intense from a lunar perspective. Noteworthy is SpaceX launch of Starship on top of Super Heavy. Although it tumbled and exploded it was still an advance in testing of Starship and achieving dramatically lower cost of transport to the lunar surface. Ironically, the main reason for the mishap appears to be a launchpad failure rather than a failure with the rocket itself, as the conrete pad was shattered by the launch and chunks of concrete excavated and ejected by the rocket exhausts may have hit the engines and done enough damage for three engines to fail from the start and three more during flight.
Further and with more immediate impact (so to speak) on the moon, was ispace's Hakuto-R, attempting a soft landing on the Moon on April 26. Apparently a software error caused the lander to hover at the designated "landing spot", though at a significant height only to crash after falling to the real surface efter running out of fuel. What is known (ispace-inc.com/news-en/?p=4655) is that the lander did run out of fuel during the landing procedure and then accelerated downwards to a sudden transmission loss.
Though both events seem to have ended short of "complete success", also both of them ended with at least one development team aiming for the moon having much more data on the process, and still determined to go. Thus, the missions were chalked off as successes by SpaceX and iSpace. I do agree with that and consider those missions to be two success stories with more exciting stuff to come.
Now, on Moonbase Lappträsk, the success story is more modest - we have closed a window. How closing a window can be considered a success at all may demand an explanation. Now, the reason for closing out windows is the aim to mimic aspects of an underground moon colony. Thus, with no possibility for real windows in a base on the moon, Moonbase Lappträsk windows will be shut to simulate a bedrock wall in an underground moonbase while reducing the heatloss to Norrbotten winters and thus lower running costs for the analogue. Although the progress as such is trivial, it is still a small step towards a simulated moonbase.