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Could a particle beam reach the surface of the moon?

  1. Jul 4, 2015 #1
    Could a particle(proton, gold ion, electron) beam reach the surface of the moon, given current technology? Would the beam diffuse too much too scenter the regolith? Or would the beam have to be focused or continually refocused in order to achieve that? If so why can they do it with laser (photon beams) into a reflector but not be able to focus a particle beam from earth onto the lunar surface? Thank you for any insight.
     
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  3. Jul 4, 2015 #2

    mfb

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    The atmosphere would stop every reasonable beam sent from the surface, a particle beam sent from space could easily reach the moon. But where is the point? You cannot do lunar ranging with particle beams, there is no suitable mirror, amongst other issues.

    What do you mean with "scenter the regolith"?
     
  4. Jul 4, 2015 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Why would anyone want to do that? Ans what is "scenter"?
     
  5. Jul 4, 2015 #4

    phinds

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    I assume he means "scatter the regolith", although I too am puzzled as to why anyone would want to bother.
     
  6. Jul 4, 2015 #5
    Thank you so much for your response, I found it very helpful. :-)

    Sinter as in sintering, my bad. "The atmosphere would stop every reasonable beam sent from the surface, a particle beam sent from space could easily reach the moon." Do diffusion/difraction is not an issue. You must just increase the beam size and power to make up for the loss of particle collisions with atmospheric particles(gases). So scaling up at some point so many of them will get through that some will hit the surface of the moon. If you turned the LHC onto the direction of the moon you could take out a "jade rabbit."
     
  7. Jul 4, 2015 #6

    mfb

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    Particle beams are not like lasers. At low energy they just get stopped completely. At sufficient energy they start showers. If the particles are high-energetic enough some shower products (but not the original particles) leave the atmosphere, but then every attempt of collimating them is completely pointless.

    Even ignoring the atmosphere, there is no realistic way to focus a beam well enough to induce any relevant heating at the moon.
    No you could not. You could not even induce any notable signal.
     
  8. Jul 4, 2015 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    No, you couldn't. The beam would have an opening angle of at least .05 degrees - maybe more - and as such would illuminate a spot about 25 miles in radius. That will put 5% of the energy received in a second's worth of sunlight onto the illuminated surface.
     
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