>> Monday, July 27, 2009
Aron Sora said: We have a lunar orbital picture of the landing site, what more do they want. Are they just saying this to tick NASA off enough to give them a free ride to the moon. I heard they [lunar rovers] still will work, they just need new batteries. Is that true?
As for the moon hoax crowd, I doubt it. I think they're just not quite all there, but it's only an opinion.
As for the lunar rovers, though, Aron, I honestly have no idea. And I feel safe in saying no one can say definitively one way or the other. After all, no one's been by to give them a safety inspection sticker in several decades.
What they probably meant was, in theory, there's no reason they wouldn't work if they had new batteries. Why?
First, let's talk briefly about the space environment and why that can be hard on equipment. There are several environments in low earth orbit that can degrade equipment, particularly nonmetallics: atomic oxygen, radiation, thermal extremes, UV light. Atomic oxygen isn't an issue on the surface of the moon, but everything else applies.
One of the advantages on the moon is that there's no weathering of any kind. Except for light/thermal extremes, there are no changes up there, no weathering, no rain, no wind. Just a few meteors.
This is one place where the old outdated electronics that run the lunar rover can be an advantage over the highly function and compact electronics of today. The more you do in a smaller package, the more susceptible to radiation you are. Older electronics have worked for ages, including a number of long range probes that have been sending data back for decades.
The rovers saw a lot of wear and tear before we abandoned them. But they've seen none since. Also, as they are primarily metal, they are unlikely to be too affected by radiation, thermal extremes and even UV. If the electronics are OK and new batteries are installed, they'll likely run fine, though I'd want to test the seat straps before I sat on it.