Project for uninterrupted power generation on the Moon presented
Jeffrey Gordon, professor at Ben-Gurion University (Israel), presented NASA a project to create an uninterrupted power supply system on the moon without the use of batteries. This is reported in a press release on Phys.org; the scientist described his idea in more detail in an article published in Renewable Energy.
The creation of long-term inhabited lunar bases requires plants that will continuously extract thousands of tons of oxygen from the lunar soil for rocket fuel or life support systems. This requires a source that will supply energy during the lunar night, which lasts about 15 Earth days. The only renewable source of energy on the Moon is solar radiation, so previously it was assumed that expensive batteries would be used.
According to Gordon, it is much cheaper and more practical to use arrays of photovoltaic batteries, which will be installed along the lunar latitude near the poles. In this way, these arrays would form a ring, much of which would always be on the day side. Additionally, power lines need to be laid to the factories and settlements that will be placed near the polar regions. This concept uses a unique combination of several factors: the lack of atmosphere, the almost zero tilt of the lunar rotation axis in relation to the ecliptic plane and the small diameter of the moon.
The specific power of such a solution far exceeds the alternatives currently being considered by NASA. The ratio of the total mass of the system to the energy it produces is a hundred times lower than that of battery-powered solar panels, and six times lower than that of the nuclear reactors that power conventional turbines and generators.
Gordon presented his findings to NASA experts at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in August. He said the space agency has expressed a willingness to reconsider a plan that now calls for providing the lunar colonies with nuclear power instead of solar power.