In this MAG Tech News article we have discussed latest technology in Moon mission for energy production, a solution for energy need during moon missions. Scientists have been researching for a long time to generate electricity for the spacecrafts which is about to end soon. International collaborators and scientists form polytechnic university of Catalonia (Spain) have proposed a system of mirrors, processed moon soil and a heat engine to provide energy during lunar night. This will eliminate the need for batteries and nuclear power source such as those used by the Chinese rover that recently landed on moon.
It is quite astonishing that the night at moon lasts for around 14 days, during which the temperature falls to -150 degree celcious. This hurdles vehicle movements and attached equipments functioning on the moon’s surface. Transport of the heavy batteries form earth and using nuclear energy is not easy. Chinese rover YUTU or Jade rabbit (On Dec.14,2013 Mission was the first soft –landing on the moon since 1976) is a typical example. Researchers (from polytechnic college of Catalonia) and collaborators from USA have removed this problem. They studied and came up with two options for storing the energy during the day for using at night. The details have been published in the journal Acta Astronautica.
Richard Gonzalez, a physics researcher at polytechnic university of Catalonia and co-author of the study explains:
“the first system consists of modifying fragments of regolith (lunar soil), incorporating elements such as aluminium; for example, such that it becomes a thermal mass means mass storing heat for sometime as a reservoir” .when the sun rays hit the surface, a system of mirrors will reflect the light to heat the thermal mass which later transmit the heat to the rover and other lunar equipments at night.
The second system is similar to the previous one but incorporates a more complex and sophisticated series of mirrors and a heat engine. The mirrors are the Fresnel reflectors, those used in solar energy technologies on earth, which will heat the tubes filled with liquid. After heating the liquid will convert to gas which further heat up the thermal mass, afterwards the heat is transferred to the Stirling engine so as to produce electricity at night.
This system is better equipped with greater energy needs such as manned mission spending many nights on the moon.