General ramblings, MBA, Space

Lost on the Moon

We did an interesting group activity today in the OB class. The main point of the lecture was to show how working in a group is more beneficial than working alone. In a group, we do take more time to solve problems. But the results are more precise most of the times. Ofcourse, exceptions are always there. Anyway, I wont bore you with the mechanics of the organizational behavior stuff. What I do want to discuss here is the game that we took in class. By the way, this exercise has been provided by NASA.

The Scenario

Your spaceship has just crashed on the moon. You were scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship 200 miles away on the lighted surface of the moon, but the rough landing has ruined your ship and destroyed all the equipment on board except for the 15 items listed below.

Your crew’s survival depends on reaching the mother ship, so you must choose the most critical items available for the 200-mile trip.
Your task is to rank the 15 items in terms of their importance for survival. Place a number 1 by the most important item, number 2 by the second most important, and so on, through number 15, the least important.

______ Box of matches

______ Food concentrate

______ 50 feet of nylon rope

______ Parachute silk

______ Solar-powered portable heating unit

______ Two .45­caliber pistols

______ One case of dehydrated milk

______ Two 100-pound tanks of oxygen

______ Stellar map (of the moon’s constellations)

______ Self-inflating life raft

______ Magnetic compass

______ 5 gallons of water

______ Signal flares

______ First-aid kit containing injection needles

______ Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

I’m not an astronaut and certainly dont know much about these things! I did choose a number of silly answers 🙂 Let’s see how you guys do. If you are interested, then leave the responses in the comments section. Label your responses as 4,6,1..etc.

By the way, the answers are here!! You can cross-check.

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29 thoughts on “Lost on the Moon

  1. interesting..I am sorry I will skip this one..its too time consuming..but some of the choices are natural, oxygen, water, rope, etc..and of course .45 caliber pistol, more likely than not u will use that rather than anything else trying to walk 200 miles on moon.

    oh btw, ur post appears first in tag surfer for space!

  2. funnily, i got the .45 caliber pistol right.. it follows the newton’s law of motion “Every action has an equal and opp. reaction”..lol. One of my group members chose the map as no. 1 and oxygen as no. 2…haha. now that was plain stupid. What will you do with the map if you dont live to see it?! 😛

  3. __13____ Box of matches

    ___2___ Food concentrate

    ___8___ 50 feet of nylon rope

    ___9___ Parachute silk

    ___7___ Solar-powered portable heating unit

    ___6___ Two .45­caliber pistols

    ___12___ One case of dehydrated milk

    ___1___ Two 100-pound tanks of oxygen

    ___10___ Stellar map (of the moon’s constellations)

    ___14___ Self-inflating life raft

    ___3___ Magnetic compass

    ___4___ 5 gallons of water

    ___5___ Signal flares

    ___11___ First-aid kit containing injection needles

    ___15___ Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

    That’s what I chose.Funny I got only the oxygen correct.Magnetic Compass was probably the dumbest I got.I chose 3 and it’s 14.Guess I’d rather leave astronomy alone.

  4. Oh well I thought the moon must have a magnetic field and the someone who’d go there would be intelligent enough to be able to read it…who knew the field wasn’t polarized.

  5. ___9___ Box of matches

    ____2__ Food concentrate

    ___10___ 50 feet of nylon rope

    ___11___ Parachute silk

    ____15__ Solar-powered portable heating unit

    __3____ Two .45­caliber pistols

    ___13___ One case of dehydrated milk

    ___1___ Two 100-pound tanks of oxygen

    ____14__ Stellar map (of the moon’s constellations)

    ___12___ Self-inflating life raft

    ____4__ Magnetic compass

    ___6___ 5 gallons of water

    _____8_ Signal flares

    ____7__ First-aid kit containing injection needles

    ___5___ Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

  6. I’ve done these kinds of problems before, they are very interesting. Here’s my list:
    ___8___ Box of matches

    ____3__ Food concentrate

    ___1___ 50 feet of nylon rope

    ___10___ Parachute silk

    ____15__ Solar-powered portable heating unit

    __3____ Two .45­caliber pistols

    ___13___ One case of dehydrated milk

    ___2___ Two 100-pound tanks of oxygen

    ____14__ Stellar map (of the moon’s constellations)

    ___12___ Self-inflating life raft

    ____4__ Magnetic compass

    ___6___ 5 gallons of water

    _____9_ Signal flares

    ____7__ First-aid kit containing injection needles

    ___5___ Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

  7. @ekawaaz,

    You did a pretty good job mate 🙂

    @Justin,

    The rope is more valuable than oxygen? hehe..interesting. What will you do with it if u dont live? 🙂 😛

  8. shashi says:

    I wonder about ‘Two .45­caliber pistols’. Why do you need two pistoles? NASA says Possible means of self-propulsion….from whom? your crew’s members?
    And why do you need two pistols?

  9. @ Shashi

    Self propulsion means helping yourself move.If you fire a shot towards the ground on the moon,then you will be shot upward into the sky because the gravity on the moon is 1/6th as compared to the earth.It’s based on Newton’s third law-Every Action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    Two pistols..umm maybe by a chance one of them fails to work so you can always have backup.

  10. shashi says:

    Hey Ish …thanks for explanation…Actually I read it wrong …I read it ‘for self -protection’…May be I should check my eye sight…I will definitely do that when I will go back to India…Here Opticians are very expensive 🙂

  11. @ish..
    gun is meant to propel u forward, not upward.
    u fire a gun in the direction opposite to u, and the kick back will throw u in other direction…
    Newton’s third law is ok, but it wont work if u try to propel urself as a rocket!!

    actually, i wud just use a gun to kill my partner and take his\her oxygen and food supply…! I like to use things what they are meant for.

  12. @Tismar
    Lol that is pretty innovative too.I looked at it this way:

    Suppose you have a spaceship holding down a rope and you can’t reach it.So you can use the gun to jump.You can always go forward by jumping.We have seen a number of them astronauts do that.

    I wouldn’t wanna go on a space mission with you 😀

  13. “..Suppose you have a spaceship holding down a rope and you can’t reach it.So you can use the gun to jump…”
    hell NO.., if u really want to discuss the flaws in that argument..I will…but its just physically not possible, i will give u a hint, why doesnt it happen on earth? why on earth we dont go up at least 1/6th of what according to u we cud go up on moon

    “..We have seen a number of them astronauts do that..”
    when did u see? I do not recall a single mission where a gun was used for any kind of propulsion (forward or upward)..

    please educate me on what I am missing??

    even nasa says “possible” means of self propulsion, lot of other things has to go right even to make that work.

  14. @ Tismar

    No,I meant we’ve seen a number of astronauts walking on the moon by jumping.But I guess you’re right too.We don’t go up on the earth maybe because our mass is more and the reaction that the bullet would provide would not be able to give us enough force to defy gravity and go up.I don’t see what would be the use in forward propulsion either cause the moon has no atmosphere..then how would we get the reaction and go forward? On the earth,the air resistence would provide the reaction..but there’s nothing on the moon 😕

  15. ish,
    its a simple action and reaction. The bullet which leaves the gun, produces a kickback\recoil.
    (a very common scenario even on earth)
    atmosphere is not involved at all.
    atmosphere will in fact slow down the bullet and the effect of kickback, so its good for this application that there is no atm up there.

    also, its a common misconception that why the US flag waived on moon if there was no atm. (argument used by people who think moon mission was a fake).
    again, here the fact is the flag was fluttering not bcos of atm, but because of simple action and reaction..

    hope that clears a bit…!

    oh another note: more likely than not only time u saw jumping astranouts are 2 from apollo 11 missions. Pictures from any mission after that are relatively rare!

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  17. I had to do this test in college. It sounds thought-provoking and useful, but there are several things wrong with this test, most having to do with the fact that we are supposed to make decisions with very VERY incomplete data, and its impossible. Like for example:

    The food and water:
    The food and water are obviously very useful for a 200-mile journey… but how are you going to get it to you in a space suit? Is the water in a metal bucket? Are you gonna flip up your visor and take a sip? You would, like, um… die. Same with food.

    Perhaps there is a way to get the food and water inside the suit with specially designed connection points, but the article didn’t say anything about that. So we don’t know. And it makes a BIG difference. If you can’t get the food and water inside the suit, then its totally worthless. If you can, its very important. So we weren’t given enough data to decide. Also on the dark side, the water would be frozen, and on the light side it would be scalding. It hasn’t addressed this issue either. Astronauts are experts at this kind of thing, but they would need this same data to make a decision.

    The injection needles:
    Same thing. If it makes a hole in your skin, it will make a hole in the suit, and air will leak out. Maybe there are connection points to get a needle through, and maybe not. But this is data we HAVE to have in order to bother trying to answer these questions.

    Oxygen:
    We don’t know if the oxygen can be connected to the suit, but I assume that it could be, since that is a necessary part of a space suit. Food and water is not, you can go out, do your space work, and come back in and eat and drink later.

    Stellar Map of the moon:
    Well, this would only be good if we know where we are and where the base is and which direction is which. Maybe the base isn’t even on the map, and we have no idea which way is north. It doesn’t say that the map CAN navigate us there. It just says we have a map. Do we know where we are? Do we know where to go? If not, this map is no more useful to us than a street map of Pittsburgh. We just don’t have enough data to put a value on this map.

    Solar Powered Portable Heating Unit:
    Is this something that can be connected to the suit? Because the suit is designed to maintain a certain temperature despite outside heat and cold, so it wouldn’t help unless there was a connection point to get heat in the suit. And we WEREN’T told. Also, during the day, the only time you can get solar power, you don’t need heat, you need to keep cool. At night, you need heat, but you have no light for solar power, but MAYBE the solar power is stored in a battery during the day to be used at night. We DON’T KNOW. So we can’t make a decision about it’s value. We just can’t.

    So see, this isn’t an exercise of intelligence or knowledge because if we GUESS about this stuff, we could “get it wrong” based on the author’s idea of how these things would work, even if our reasoning is correct. We would need this data to make correct informed decisions. Anyone would, including astronauts. The author might say the heater is useless because you can only use it when you don’t need it, but why would they make one of those without a battery? This data need to be given to us before we can be “scored” properly.

    Other comments:

    Pistols could be weird, because with lower gravity and the absence of an atmosphere, it might be possible to fire a bullet into lunar orbit! As for a means of propulsion, gravity is 1/6th Earth’s, and a small gun doesn’t provide that much kick. It will provide the same amount of kick in space, its just that if you pointed it down against gravity it would give you a little extra boost. But not enough to really matter that much. Its not like a small bullet is going to shoot a person up 20 feet in the air. Because a bullet on earth doesn’t push you up 1/6th of 20 feet, so it wouldn’t be much on the moon either.

    I know everyone thinks the matches are useless with no atmosphere, but we do have bottles of oxygen that you COULD use to create a short term fire, but why? Are we gonna burn moon rocks? So yeah, not too useful.

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