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Jay484's avatar

NASA Exercise: Survival on the Moon?

Asked by Jay484 (1555points) February 19th, 2011

You are part of a NASA moon landing team who is suposed to rendezvous with the mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. However you crashland 200 miles away from the rendezvous point. Out of the list below are the items that survied the crash and you must choose what items to bring.
Place the number 1 by the most important item,
the number 2 by the second most important, and so on through number 15 for
the least important.

Box of matches
Food concentrate
50 feet of nylon rope
Parachute silk
Portable heating unit
Two .45 caliber pistols
One case of dehydrated milk
Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen
Stellar map
Self-inflating life raft
Magnetic compass
20 liters of water
Signal flares
First aid kit, including injection needle
Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

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33 Answers

12Oaks's avatar

Box of matches
4—Food concentrate
50 feet of nylon rope
8—Parachute silk
5—Portable heating unit
9—Two .45 caliber pistols
3—One case of dehydrated milk
1—Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen
Stellar map
Self-inflating life raft
Magnetic compass
2—20 liters of water
6—Signal flares
7—First aid kit, including injection needle
10—Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

The rest is optional. May save the trouble and leave them behind.

coffeenut's avatar

To be clear….I’m on the moon…in my space suite next to my crashed spaceship…200 miles from the rendezvous point…..

Do I have a time deadline to reach the rendezvous point? (Besides my limited oxygen supply) Before they leave without me?

What condition is my spaceship in? Did I send a SOS before I crashed?

How much O2 do I currently have? (without the extra tanks)

ragingloli's avatar

1. Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen
2. Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter
3. Portable heating unit
4. 50 feet of nylon rope
5. Food concentrate
6. 20 liters of water ( as with the food, I have no idea how to drink/eat it while inside a space suit)
7. Stellar map
8. Parachute silk
9. First aid kit, including injection needle (except the needle. Puncturing your space suit on the moon is beyond foolish.
10.One case of dehydrated milk ( the water is too valuable to waste on the milk powder.

No need for pistols.
Matches, flares, compass, raft will not work on the moon anyway.

Jay484's avatar

@coffeenut yes you are in your space suite next to the crashed spaceship 200 miles from the rendezvous point.
Yes you do have a dead line 1 week untill they leave
your spaceship in no condition to use and you did not send out an SOS.
you have 2 full tanks of O2.
This question was something we had to do in our Civis class for desicion making and i though id ask fulther to see what types of answers you guys come up with ( i allready finshed the sheet and i know the answers)

WasCy's avatar

I would form a government. After that we would debate for two weeks on what to carry, and who should carry what. We would also form a committee to investigate what moron sent us to the Moon with things that are only necessary (and which only work) on Earth. We would publish our findings prior to concluding debate on the prior issue. In the meantime (in case anyone had been left out of the governing board) we would publish a light and informative newsletter with recipes for chocolate candy, which, of course, no one could consume through their space suits and helmets. We would also insert subtle and not so subtle hints that We’re working for you! and reminding voters of whatever upcoming election might be pending, even if it were two years off.

After the mother ship left, or crashed, or reached its own stalemate over what to do next, we would form a committee to deal with the rapid depletion of our oxygen and water supplies, and form another committee to study the possibility of mining for both on the Moon. We would publish our findings.

Not quite soon enough we would take bids for who wanted to carry the heavy items to some place that someone thought the mother ship might have once been, or planned to be, or be at some future date (more debate), form a public employees union and reward them with generous health plans and pensions that we couldn’t afford to pay in the first place, split up the group, with some taking the supplies (not enough) and some guarding the not-enough remainder.

Eventually we would all die bankrupt and alone. But we would have justified everything perfectly, and it would all be completely legal.

coffeenut's avatar

@Jay484 Is the ship at least pressurized or is it a WO?

Jay484's avatar

@coffeenut its WO pressure

coffeenut's avatar

@Jay484… one more thing…
My spacesuit is a normal suit?
The Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter is a complete unit…ie not detachable?

Jay484's avatar

@coffeenut what do you mean by normal?
no its deatachable

coffeenut's avatar

@Jay484 spacesuit Can my suit connect with the solar panel?

coffeenut's avatar

@Jay484 How long until I’m on the dark side?

Jay484's avatar

@coffeenut lets just say you crashed right in the middle of the light and dark side.

coffeenut's avatar

I don’t think I will make it but here’s my list…..

Box of matches

7— Food concentrate

3— 50 feet of nylon rope

6— Parachute silk

Portable heating unit

Two .45 caliber pistols

One case of dehydrated milk

2— Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen

Stellar map

4— Self-inflating life raft

Magnetic compass

5— 20 liters of water

Signal flares

First aid kit, including injection needle

1— Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

Jay484's avatar

here is the actuall answers to the choices
Box of matches:15
Food concentrate:4
50 feet of nylon rope:6
Parachute silk:8
Portable heating unit:13
Two .45 calibre pistols:11
One case of dehydrated milk:12
Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen:1
Stellar map:3
Self-inflating life raft:9
Magnetic compass:14
20 litres of water:2
Signal flares:10
First aid kit:7
Solar-powered FM receiver-transimitter:5

SavoirFaire's avatar

Box of matches – 14
Food concentrate – 4
50 feet of nylon rope – 7
Parachute silk – 8
Portable heating unit – 13
Two .45 caliber pistols – 12
One case of dehydrated milk – 11
Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen – 1
Stellar map – 3
Self-inflating life raft – 10
Magnetic compass – 15
20 liters of water – 2
Signal flares – 9
First aid kit, including injection needle – 6
Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter – 5

SavoirFaire's avatar

Oops… Didn’t see the “correct answers” above. Not bad, though.

@Jay484 Do you know if there is a principled reason behind the rankings of the lower items? They all seem fairly useless, particularly the matches and the compass (no oxygen to burn and not the right kind of magnetic field on the moon).

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jay484 Awesome, thanks!

Jay484's avatar

@SavoirFaire np. i was confused with some of the choices too

coffeenut's avatar

@Jay484 Those are 2 different questions…. And the Answers are really flawed…

coffeenut's avatar


50 feet of nylon rope – 6 – Useful in scaling cliffs and tying injured together

I would love to see them scale anything wearing this carrying a 5ft oxygen tank or 20L of water…

ragingloli's avatar

While having to overcome only 1/6th of Terra’s gravity.
Remember that they were bouncing around like Flummies on the moon.
I do not think it would be much of a problem.

coffeenut's avatar

@ragingloli lol….Ya this would be really easy in a spacesuit….

ragingloli's avatar

Sure, if you intentionally choose the most difficult route to go up then it may become a problem. ( I doubt you would find too many of those 90 degree surfaces on the moon anyway)
Besides, it would be easier to go down a cliff/slope with a rope than without one.

coffeenut's avatar

@ragingloli Useful in “scaling cliffs ” that was the best pic Google spit out….(the others were worse…)

coffeenut's avatar

….also they wouldn’t make 200 miles…they would be dead within 30hrs

SavoirFaire's avatar

@coffeenut I could make 200 miles in 30 hours here on Earth, especially if my life depended on it. As such, I suspect that highly trained astronauts could manage it in space.

coffeenut's avatar

@SavoirFaire I don’t think your taking into account all the factors they face…. And the very limited factors you would face…

Justwondering2020's avatar

Two hundred miles on the moon go take a long time to navigate, here is my answer:
1. Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen
2. 20 liters of water
3. food concentrate
4. Stellar map
5. Solar-power FM receiver
6. first aid kit, including injection needle
7. 50 feet of nylon rope
8. Signal Flares
9. Parachute silk (for shade)
10. One case of dehydrated milk. (assuming it comes with its own liquid source)
11. Portable heater (if the sun changes)
12. Self-inflating life raft (for shade)
13. Two .45 caliber pistols (?, maybe to signal)
14. Box of Matches
15. Magnetic compass

elbanditoroso's avatar


1) solar powered FM radio – who is broadcasting on FM? Shortwave maybe.

2) would signal flares burn in a no-atmosphere setting? Doubtful

3) Same with matches.

4) Not sure that a compass will help much either. No magnetic north on the moon.

Also, 20 liters of water is about 5 gallons, and each gallon is about 8 lbs. You need water, but that would be heavy.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@elbanditoroso Did you read the OP before responding to @Justwondering2020?

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