Author Topic: Using the Mountains of Eternal Light  (Read 1370 times)

Offline Hop_David

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Using the Mountains of Eternal Light
« on: 06/21/2010 04:56 PM »
First, I don't know if they even exist. Has LRO or Chandrayan shed any light on this?

If they do exist, how would we exploit them? Would astronauts or bots have to ascend to the pinnacle of a lunar peak to construct this power source? If so, it seems a difficult engineering project.

Would the panels rotate 360 degrees every 28 days? Or would static panels form a ring. If the latter, it seems to me insolation would be 1/pi that of the rotating panels. Temperature swings would also be more extreme for the static rings (it seems to me).

Since economic solar power sats seem implausible, transferring power via microwave has been a somewhat academic exercise to date. However, it seems to me worthwhile to develop this technology if we were to have a lunar research base. On the moon, construction of power lines would be extremely expensive. A very long power line would have a greater cross sectional area vulnerable to micrometeorites.

If we did have infra structure atop peaks of eternal light, they might be relay stations for work on crater floors. They might beam power as well as communication bandwidth.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Using the Mountains of Eternal Light
« Reply #1 on: 06/22/2010 12:16 PM »
This is what wikipedia has to say:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_of_Eternal_Light#On_the_Moon

It suggests no actually eternal ones. However I believe there are several fairly close ones.

I think we will have various factors affecting a bases location, so even if a truely eternal one is found it may not be used.

So the next question is what sort of down time are we looking at, and what do we need to deal with it. Probably just some batteries or a small power collector on an alternate peak. There are probably worthwhile things to do when the power is down. I don't foresee astronauts rioting and stealing televison sets :)

Beamed power seems a good idea. I wonder if it would be practical to just reflect the light using mirrors to panels situated nearer the base, presumably somewhere in shadow near ice and shelter from solar storms.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Using the Mountains of Eternal Light
« Reply #2 on: 06/22/2010 12:36 PM »
The thing to do would be to find such a peak on the rim of one of the anomalous craters identified by Spudis et al. (2010). Since we'll be using LH2/LO2 propellant anyway, as well as making it from lunar ice, the best energy storage is LH2/LO2. When the solar cells are running, make LH2/LO2. When it's shady, then we'll use the stored up LH2/LO2 to power fuel cells. When such two-for-ones present themselves in space flight, it's generally a good idea to take advantage of them.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Using the Mountains of Eternal Light
« Reply #3 on: 06/22/2010 01:47 PM »
I was going to patent this idea back in '95 or so, but decided to give it to the world instead.  All you have to do is....

Install a PV array on the mountaintop with a mechanism designed to rotate once every 28 days.  I'm thinking a smaller number of larger arrays would minimize the shadow casting.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2010 01:47 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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