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Artemis Accords Proposed Coverage for Lunar Impact Cargo Deliveries




This sub-page to (at ) is duplicated at also (at ).  This is purely speculation and internet research here.  No hardware was constructed or tested.  Previous pages (by the same author) are linked to discuss details about custom-built “impact runways” on the moon, for receiving fuel-saving high-velocity “crash landings” of high-G-forces-tolerant cargo.  In the most primitive forms (early on in the moon settlement process), such impacts could be VERY simple…  Simply a set-aside “Expanse” of raw, undeveloped moon surface for cargo impacts.  At a very low impact angle for incoming cargo, the impact area forms an “Ellipse”.  Therefore, for this paper, such an area is called a RIFFLE Range, for Regolith Impacting Fuel-Frugal Lunar Expanse (or Ellipse, take your pick).  This calls to mind a rifle range on Earth, and similar rules will apply on the moon, as on Earth.  Shooting times must NOT overlap with times set aside for setting up targets and-or gathering cargo/bullets!

Eventually, RIFFLE Ranges will surely proliferate, as the economies and efficiencies (landing-fuel is much reduced compared to soft landings) become clear, for suitable cargo.  The Artemis Accords should be updated or amended to cover this topic.  Details are discussed here.  Additional associated topics are addressed as well.  Where should RIFFLE Ranges be located?  In the further future, what are some other designs (other than those already discussed in previous papers) for advanced, customized “impact landing zones”?



Preamble, and Bits of Boilerplate. 2

More-Specific Introduction. 3

Summary of the Need for Moon Impact Landings. 4

“Geology” (Moonology?) and Technical and Technological Considerations for Locating RIFFLE Ranges  5

Artemis Accords Recommendations Concerning RIFFLE Ranges. 7

Further Embellishments on an Improved Impact (RIFFLE) Range. 8

Chemistry of Processed, Modified Moon Dust 11

Concluding Remarks. 13


Preamble, and Bits of Boilerplate


As before, as with other sub-pages of, part of the intent here is to “defensively publish” miscellaneous ideas, to make them available to everyone “for free” (sometimes called “throwing it into the public domain”), and to prevent “patent trolling” of (mostly) simple, basic ideas.  Accordingly, currently-highly-implausible or speculative design ideas (frequently marked as such) are sometimes included, just in case they ever become plausible, sometimes through radical new technology developments (and often in materials sciences).

            Dear Reader, excuse me as I will often slip out of stilted formal modes of writing here.  I have no boss, bosses, or styleguides to please with these “hobby” writings of mine, so I’ll do it my way!  I’ll often use a more informal style from here on in, using “I”, “we”, “you”, etc.  “We” is you and me.  “You” are an engineer, manager, or other party interested in what’s described here.  Let’s thwart the patent trolls, and get ON with it!

            PS, if some of my speculations are wrong (based on mistaken assumptions), please email me at, and note that I’m open to co-authoring articles, even if they are short, as in, corrections or updates to this article, for example.  If you send comments, please specify whether or not you’re open to having your name mentioned (up to and including being named as a co-author) in any follow-up article(s).


More-Specific Introduction


I wrote two previous papers concerning fuel-saving impact-landing cargo deliveries to the moon.  The first is listed here:'s_Moon_or_Other_Heavenly_Bodies_Lacking_an_Atmosphere .  This paper is long, and first considers practical designs for impact-landing cargo “runways”, and then moves on to describe currently-impractical designs which could accommodate living passengers.  The mathematics of impact velocity, “G” forces, and “runway” lengths are detailed here.  And the second paper is listed here:  This second paper is shorter, and involves what is probably a not-very-practical idea, which is to impart “spin” onto the cargo, to shorten the impact-landing ellipse or custom-built “landing strip”.  The “shooter” (orbiting mothership) would accumulate “spin” (when “shooting” spinning cargo), which (“spin”) would periodically have to be disposed of.  This is a major, serious problem!

Actually preceding these 2 papers, I also wrote which is relevant here, as we’ll see further below, when (after briefly making some specific “Artemis Accords” amendments-suggestions to cover moon-impact cargo deliveries) I will get around to covering yet more variations of the designs of more-advanced moon-impact cargo decelerator devices.  This (above) paper is where I first started writing about a fairly obvious idea, which is to use moon dust in the path of the incoming cargo vehicle, to slow it down.  See Figure #1 there, and associated text, under the heading of “Dust Clouds or ME-Bouncers for Use on the Moon”.  In that paper, I described using moon-dust clouds for decelerating an incoming spacecraft, with the dust clouds launched from long distances away, and without recycling the dust.  Here, I will describe using dust shot out at short distances, possibly with additives in the dust, and with the dust being recycled.


Summary of the Need for Moon Impact Landings


I will try to avoid repeating myself too terribly much from previous papers, but it is all about saving some VERY significant amounts of fuel (reaction mass) burned up during soft landings.  High-G-forces-resistant cargo (especially if properly packaged) could include the following, and perhaps more, in no particular order:

‘1)  Bulk non-delicate food supplies for humans, and animal feed for livestock and “lab rats” etc. as well.  And pets too, some day!  Humans need their creature comforts and “companion animals”!

‘2)  Tools of some kinds, which are high-“G”-forces resistant.  Even circuit boards can be designed to withstand high G forces.

‘3)  Refined metals.  Sifting fragments of metal out of the moon dust should require a LOT less energy and work than processing metal ores on the moon!

‘4)  Carbon, nitrogen (as a gas in well-protected COPVs, or as solid fertilizers) and other elements as needed for moon agriculture.

‘5)  Carbon for fuel. Carbon is rare on the moon, and would be needed (along with hydrogen that can be sourced from moon-polar cold traps) for producing methane fuel on the moon.  SpaceX, for example, likes to use methane fuel.  The “Sabatier Process” for generating methane could thus be used on the moon, economically, given crash-landed bulk carbon supplies.

Here (modified from a previous paper) is a list of forms of bulk carbon, that might be suitable for being properly packaged and sent as impact cargo:  In what form do we bring in carbon?  Carbon dioxide gas hardly makes sense, certainly not in the long term, because the oxygen part of this gas is already readily available on the moon, tied up in water (at the poles) and metal and silicon oxides (everywhere). So... Coal?  Oil?  Tar?  Propane?  Graphite?  Charcoal? Structural plastics, PVC, epoxy, graphite, graphene, nanomaterials, or other carbon-containing structural materials composing parts of the cargo vessel?  Diamond (or even lonsdaleite) would be nice, but is obviously too expensive!  All of these are possibilities.  See and for interesting (and relevant) facts about carbon.  For now, consider this: Pure carbon turns into a gas at a temperature of 5,530 °C or 9,980 °F.  Our impact-landing on the moon will create a lot of frictional heating.  So, if the form of our carbon (we exclude diamond here for obvious reasons) is relatively pure carbon, very little of it will heat enough to gasify (and be lost to us, escaping in the non-existent “atmosphere” of the moon).  Other forms of carbon (chemical compounds containing much oxygen or hydrogen, for example) will form complex gasses (including what we could simply call “smoke”) at much-much lower temperatures, and be lost to us, if frictionally heated on the moon’s surface.  So we want to stick to more-pure carbon for bulk cargo, especially on the outer (abradable) layers of the cargo vessels.  Candidates then are graphite (pure or near-pure carbon), charcoal (50% to 95% carbon, see , typically around 70% to 80% carbon at the center of the distribution-shape bell curve), coal-charcoal or coal-“coke”(see , about 85% carbon for good-grade or steel-grade coke), petroleum coke (see , about 98.0% to 99.5% carbon for the pure grades), or anthracite coal (see , about over 87% carbon) . Incorporating such forms of carbon into pockets in the outer layers (“shells”) of a cargo vessel will be an option.  Enclosing carbon into metal spheres is also another option.  See's_Moon_or_Other_Heavenly_Bodies_Lacking_an_Atmosphere for more details.


“Geology” (Moonology?) and Technical and Technological Considerations for Locating RIFFLE Ranges


Before considering amending the Artemis Accords to accommodate RIFFLE ranges, let’s first cover some associated background considerations.

OBVIOUS CONCERNS:  Locating RIFFLE ranges should leave ample room between the range(s) and human and-or robotic outposts (or eventually, cities and towns).  Targeting mishaps is one concern.  Stirred-up moon dust is another.  To make up for the separation distances, moon railroads can be used.  See and other sources to get started on studying that.

Another obvious concern is environmental impact (impact indeed, ha!).  The moon is a wasteland, sure.  But if too much of it is covered with RIFFLE ranges, the virgin, unadulterated original “Geology” (Moonology, Lunarology) of the moon will be lost to science.  Not good!  Fewer and smaller RIFFLE ranges will be better!  Moderation in all things!

LOCATION-LOCATION-LOCATION is everything, here as in Earth real estate!  Putting the cargo-entrance at the mouth of a “box canyon” would help catch impact debris (and fragments of cargo) on the walls and far-end-wall of the box canyon.  Most if not all Earth box canyons are formed by erosion, I believe.  So maybe we can form a box canyon out of moon-crater walls.  An entrance to the crater can be formed by knocking an entrance gap in the crater walls, which can be done with impacting cargo, blasting and-or moon-dirt-moving equipment, or even drilling a large reinforced entrance HOLE in the crater wall!  For this latter idea to work, precise and reliable impact-cargo targeting would be needed, to avoid damaging the tunnel entrance hole-walls.  Protecting said “lip” of the tunnel entrance via the use of “explosive armor” is an option.  See Figure #5 (and associated text) of's_Moon_or_Other_Heavenly_Bodies_Lacking_an_Atmosphere for more details about that.  “Explosive armor” used here may damage or destroy the occasional poorly-guided cargo vessel, but will protect our presumably quite expensive infrastructure!

I think that the above ideas deserve no drawings.  If I am wrong, I can provide drawings.  Email me at and I can provide drawings and-or other clarification.

LUNAR SEISMOLOGY:  Seismological listening posts on the moon are rare, and will likely remain so for some time to come.  For triangulation methods to work best (with very few listening posts compared to on Earth), and for using cargo impacts for generating sound waves and listening to them, the precise timing and locations of cargo impacts would probably be VERY nice data to have!  So this ties into new methods of precise time-keeping on the moon, and moon time zones.  See as a randomly grabbed source for that.  Also, precise GPS-style impact-location reporting on the moon would be nice.  See and other sources for details about that.  GPS based (or partially based) on moon-orbiting satellites might also fit in here.

Finally for this topic, having the cargo impact vessels carrying some electronics capable of reporting precise time and location of impact, up to the last nano-second before impact (and perhaps likely-often the destruction of said electronics), the history of underground nuclear testing is perhaps relevant.  Being-destroyed diode arrays were used, I have been told.  These expendable diode arrays or other embedded systems were used to record data up until their destruction in an underground nuclear detonation, I believe.  I can find no details about that.  However, such details may possibly be relevant and useful here.  Or maybe electronics can simply be hardened to withstand impact.  I would bet that the latter case is true and best.

Having the precise location (if not the time) of impact will also be useful for locating and gathering cargo fragments and debris.  TV cameras mounted on tall poles surrounding the RIFFLE range might be a good, helpful idea as well.  Orbiting cameras might be too distant to help much…  Or maybe they COULD help here as well!  TDB…

Gravitational wave observatories on the moon might best be located far away from RIFFLE ranges, to avoid interference.  See and other easily-found sources for background reading for this.

For precisely targeting the impacting cargo vessels, laser-reflecting passive moon target-tags would likely be very useful.  See and other easily-found sources.


Artemis Accords Recommendations Concerning RIFFLE Ranges


Now that associated locational and technically associated matters have been described, let’s move on to the Artemis Accords, and how they (accords) might best be amended to cover matters associated with “RIFFLE ranges”.  See Artemis Accords provisions at , and note that some provisions that are highly relevant to RIFFLE ranges include “transparency”, “interoperability”, and ”open sharing of scientific data”.  Accordingly…

ALL IMPACT CARGO DATA SHOULD BE SHARED, as much as is possible, between Artemis Accord entities and others as well (Russia and China come to mind).  This includes precise times and locations of cargo impacts, of course.

“SABBATH TIMES” for no cargo impact landings should set aside and coordinated as is needed.  A gravitational-waves event is anticipated?  Then set aside a “silent time” for this event, so that said waves-events can be “listened to”, noise-free, as best as is possible.  Periodic “Sabbaths” or “silent reflection times” might also best be set aside to listen for “moonquakes” and asteroid-on-moon impacts, to avoid cargo-impact noise-pollution (for lunar seismology of course, as well as for future moon-based gravitational-wave astronomy).  Such Sabbath times may be longer or shorter, but should SURELY be coordinated!

COMMON-SENSE PROVISIONS include limiting areas for RIFFLE ranges (to minimize “environment impacts” on the moon), sharing them between common owners, and costs-and-resources sharing (reimbursements between shared owners and users should clearly be included).  Shooting-times versus cargo-recovery times should be SHARPLY delineated!  This latter provision is beyond obvious!

I can’t think of anything else, can you?  Email me at if you have anything to add, please…  Or “ping” NASA and-or “Artemis Accords” people about such matters, as I plan to do soon…


Further Embellishments on an Improved Impact (RIFFLE) Range


Search above (in this document) for search-string “form a box canyon out of moon-crater walls”.  Take that idea and add to it.  The length of the within-the-crater slowing-the-impacting-cargo-down-path-length could be covered (with a “roof”), forming an artificial (but very straight) “impact cave”.  The roof could be a half-pipe, with the open side pointed down.  It would be made of “mooncrete”, sintered regolith, or other material, and probably be metal-reinforced.  It would need to be inspected, maintained, and repaired now and then.  It might best be suspended on pillars.  The pillars might be cylindrical…  Or “V” shaped to resist (deflect) impacts, with the sharp (bottom of the “V”) edge facing the incoming cargo and debris.  Or the half-pipes (“cave” roof) could be suspended, at least partially, on a suspension bridge’s cables.  As usual, if you need drawings for clarity, email me at .

Now referring to related ideas as I have described in previous papers, is at least slightly relevant.  Back-tracking slightly, what I mean to say is that within our moon-surface “decelerating device”, be that a “box canyon” or a fake “box canyon” created out of a crater, with our roof covering the “line of fire” (of incoming cargo), we could surround the “line of fire” with mass-launchers launching moon dust to shoot upwards, to bounce off of the “roof” here, with the launches (of dust) being fairly precisely timed, such that the dust is concentrated right beneath the roof, so as to slow down the incoming cargo.  In the above document, we take a look at how, perhaps, moon dust could be modified to be less abrasive (and softer?) for use as a decelerator.  Search (in the above-reference document) for the below search-string…

Perhaps we can affordably manufacture (on the Moon) materials that will deform on impact with the being-slowed-down spacecraft’s “heat shield”?”

Some of the ideas listed there will not be repeated here…

Now's_Moon_or_Other_Heavenly_Bodies_Lacking_an_Atmosphere (of all 3 of my previous related papers) is clearly the most relevant here.  Speculations there include those concerning building moon-dust-filled trenches as “linear decelerators”, and such things could be built on a crater floor, as I’m now describing here.  The trenches could be made of “mooncrete” as shown there in Figure #6.  I don’t think that they’d be worth their trouble and expense (on a crater floor) in the context that I’m describing now, where I propose a roof instead.  One could just pile up a long heap of moon-dirt and dust underneath the linear “line of fire” and be done with it, if that long heap is even needed at all.  The above paper describes both a “linear decelerator” and a “curved or circular decelerator”, both of which involve elements that could be used here.  See Figure #6 for a linear decelerator trough, and Figure #9 for a curved trough, in the above-referenced document.  And of course, read the surrounding text there, please!

Just right now, my primary idea being discussed is to use a “roof” (perhaps a half-pipe with the open side down), and shoot dirt (dust) upwards at it at the right time.  Alternately (or in conjunction with this), dust and dirt could be dispensed at the right time, from dust hoppers or bins, through holes in the roof.  The above document discusses this kind of idea starting with search-string “How about a mostly-self-contained moon-dust-recycling fountain?”  Again, the incoming cargo is slowed down by a “fountain” and-or “shower” of moon dust in the “line of fire”.  As usual, if you need drawing or clarifications, email me at please…

I personally think that an upwards-shooting fountain of dust is the best solution for this case right here.  It can be precisely timed.  The downwards-fed shower (perhaps fed by Archimedes Screws at the bottom of a trough or bin, through holes in the roof) can NOT be shot out in a tightly-timed burst, with any kind of simple and reliable design, as far as I can puzzle it through.  So shoot it up; don’t trickle it down!

This same above document discusses the forms that an upwards-shooting dust-shooter might take.  Search for search-string “cruder methods of throwing up the moon dust” and then read on down from there.  Having stewed on it, I think that the “centrifugal pump” (AKA “silo silage filler”) method is vastly inferior for this application, for moon abrasive dust causing wear-and-tear, and for lack of quick and concentrated fire-up (initialization, or quick, tightly-timed shooting).  The gas-powered “shooter” piston sounds like a MUCH better choice here!  AKA gas (pneumatic) shooter-pistons (“air guns”), in the referred-to document.  Please note the following:  If being-shot moon dust is too abrasive, then the abrasive dust could be packaged (within the loaded shooter pistons) in many small paper, plastic, canvas, or other bags, or one large bag, with less-abrasive peripheral “filler” (at the edges of the shooter piston walls) lubricative power such as talcum, for example.  This would reduce wear-and-tear on the piston-walls (barrel walls) of the “shooters”, of course.  That is, we should prevent the nasty moon-dust from contacting the “shooter” walls.  Alternative lubricating powders include Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), Graphite, Boron nitride, Tungsten disulfide, Mica, and Zinc oxide.

Fancy lubricating powders are likely (near guaranteed) to be too expensive.  Instead, your lubricating powder might be moon dust specially processed to be less abrasive.  Design a dirt-smasher that emulates erosion on Earth.  This might be like a concrete mixer, hammer-mill, crusher-rollers, or a blender.  Feedstock is moon dust to possibly include sand and gravel-type particles, possibly plus water or other liquids.  Volatiles on the moon being utterly precious, they (volatiles) should all, or perhaps just mostly, be removed for recycling from the being-shot mix (to include the lubricants spaced between the center-load and the shooter walls), before being shot out.  The processed dust-dirt-etc., plus additives most likely, can also be recycled AFTER being used (shot out).  We’ll get to that in a bit, further below.


Chemistry of Processed, Modified Moon Dust


I envision at least three (3) different kinds of specially prepared moon dust here, all possibly being prepared with many or few processing steps, and with many or few additives.

‘1)  The core or middle of the “load” to be shot up at the roof.  Such load-core could be enclosed in a bag or bags, as previously noted, to keep abrasives away from shooter-walls.  If the load-core is somehow compressed together into as solid-enough plug-shape, such that it retains its shape sufficiently to NOT require a bag or bags, then of course, we can dispense with bags.  The load-core will almost definitely need additives, possibly including volatile ingredients, to create this solid (or solid-ish) un-bagged plug-shape.

The load-core may possibly be specially formulated to cling to the “linear decelerator” roof, to linger there longer to do its job better.  Particles may (via additives) be “encouraged” to stick together in clumps or strings, for the same reasons.  So, using my BEST, most scientific chemistry vocabulary, said specially formulated and processed moon dust may be clumpy, sticky, stringy, gooey, greasy, and-or slimy!  (Gopher guts are not a likely ingredient, but, not being a chemist, I really don’t know what the optimal additives should be).

‘2)  We will need a lubricant between the load-core and the shooter walls, not only to protect the walls from abrasion, but also possibly (depending on the “sticky, stringy, gooey, greasy, and-or slimy, etc.” nature of the load-core) to alleviate the need for cleaning the shooter after the shot is dispensed.

‘3)  We will need to pile up dirt (maybe, or maybe not, needing much processing and additives) against the far-side crater wall to slow down the impact of any cargo (or cargo debris and the debris of the loads cores plus lubricants) that emerges from our “linear decelerator” there.  This dirt-pile might possibly (with additives) take the consistency of mud, clay, or tar.  Using specially manufactured “pillows”, mattresses, or air bags is possible, but absurd in my mind at least!

So now we will have (in between shooting times of course) machines, remote-controlled machines, robots, and humans (in supervisory mode mostly) working on our crater-floor much-upgraded version of a RIFFLE range, gathering cargo and cargo debris, and gathering expended greasy-grimy (but not gopher-guts-containing) “moon slime” dust-based “decelerant”, primarily from the shot-out load-cores.  They are highly likely to contain volatiles, which will escape over time.  So we’ll want to gather the biggest chunks and thickest layers of this expended “stuff”, for sure, for recycling of course.  For preserving freshness of the volatiles in this “stuff”, we’ll want to gather the freshest, first, as well!  For this reason, I propose that different cycles of this “stuff” be colored with different colors of dye.  Now human and machine vision can go after the freshest “stuff” first.  This is what I do to keep track of how old my hummingbird-feeding liquids are, when I feed the birds, so this method has been scientifically validated!

Please note that with the here-envisioned scheme, we can recycle the moon dust repeatedly.  Each time it is banged into and sloshed around, sharp edges on micro-grains will be ground down (eroded).  Less abrasiveness is good for our incoming cargo vessels!  What kind of additives might we want to add?  Lubricant powders as listed above?  To reduce abrasion?  Plastics, silicone, or other synthetic compounds?  As a “flocculant” causes particles suspended in water to clump together, we should probably wish to cause our moon-dust particles to cling together, to increase the dust-inertia (or resistance) that the incoming cargo vessels will encounter.  Also as previously remarked, having the “stuff” cling to the roof may be a good idea as well.  We might want to call our mix “moon slime”!  And we will probably want to differently formulate our “moon slime” for that which is cast upwards into the “line of fire” of the incoming vessel, versus what formulation of (mud, clay, or tar-like) “goop” might be piled up against the far-distant crater wall, where some cargo (or fragments thereof) escape our decelerator, and impact said far crater wall.  Moon slime dripping from our roof is good!  This consistency and texture may differ from stiff tar-like blow-absorbing “goop” piled against the far crater wall.  This “goop” may even contain salts, for moderating temperatures of said “goop”, to temperature-stabilize stiffness of the goop.

            I’m out of my “comfort zone” concerning the chemistry (and mechanics) here.  Dear Reader, if you can write a paper concerning this, please let me know!  I can co-author with you if you want, but I’m not at all sure about what I can add…  I’m no chemist!

Moon-slime (on my SHOULDER, can make me cry!) and moon-goop, recycled, will build up particles and micro-particles of cargo-fragments (carbon and metals, for examples).  Crater-floor processing machines, while recycling said slime and goop, could periodically pull out said carbon and metals for use on the moon.  If moon agriculture demands more smooth, polished particles of moon soil (as opposed to raw, sharp-edged, virgin moon dust), then such polished particles can perhaps be pulled out as well.

Speaking of recycling…  As remarked upon in a previous paper, the “air” (or other gas) in the “air guns” should be recycled as well.  The barrels of these guns will be equipped with sliding “push plates” to push out the central load-cores plus peripheral lubricants.  The sliding “push plates” will be held captive at the barrel-tip, so that most of the gas can be pumped back out (of the barrel) for later re-use.  Gun powder is an alternative to gas, but I consider it too harsh and aggressive.  Gunsmoke would presumably be too hard to recycle as well.  I could be wrong!


Concluding Remarks


Well, I don’t have anything (that’s not obvious) left to say.  So it’s time to quit!  I, for one, am sure hoping that nations and corporations can cooperate in space and on the moon, to include coordinated and-or shared uses of RIFFLE ranges, and refined RIFFLE ranges.  And now I quit!


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Stauffer, Titus. (2020).  High-“G”-Force Impact-Landings Methods of Cargo Delivery to Earth’s Moon (or Other Heavenly Bodies Lacking an Atmosphere)


Stauffer, Titus. (2020).  High-"G"-Force Impact-Landings Methods of Cargo Delivery to the Moon, Spinning-Barrel-Style


            Stauffer, Titus. (2019).  Ping Pong" Mass (Momentum and Kinetic Energy) Exchange as a Method of Spacecraft Propulsion