Tapping into the Moon's Power for a Brighter Future: A new lunar solar power satellite
Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 14 July 2023, at 12:12 pm PDT
The European Space Agency (ESA) recently conducted a study in collaboration with Switzerland's Astrostrom company, and they came up with an intriguing idea called the Greater Earth Lunar Power Station, or GE⊕-LPS for short. This lunar power station would be built using lunar resources and could provide megawatts of microwave power to the lunar surface, supporting various activities including future moon bases.
Now, here's the interesting thing. The design of GE⊕-LPS draws inspiration from a butterfly. Yes, you heard that right—a butterfly. The solar panels of the power station would have a V-shaped design with integrated antennas, forming a helix configuration that spans over a square kilometer. These panels, made from moon-manufactured solar cells, would generate a continuous power output of 23 megawatts for lunar surface operations. Talk about tapping into the moon's energy!
To make this vision a reality, the station would be located at a Lagrange point around 61,350 kilometers from the lunar surface. But here's the twist—the station wouldn't just be a power hub. It would also serve as a living space for astronauts and potentially become a tourist attraction. Who wouldn't want to experience artificial gravity and admire the beauty of space firsthand?
But why go through all this trouble of building a lunar power station? Well, launching giant solar power satellites from Earth into orbit is no easy feat. It's like trying to fit an elephant into a Mini Cooper—it just won't work. Plus, the whole process would contribute to atmospheric pollution. That's where GE⊕-LPS comes in. If we can prove that we can manufacture and assemble a lunar power station, we can scale up production and create even more solar power satellites using lunar resources. Not to mention the reduced velocity required to put them into orbit compared to Earth-launched satellites.
The benefits of this lunar power revolution go beyond just clean energy. We're talking about developing a whole new economy—one that spans across Earth and the moon. Think of cislunar transportation systems, mining operations, and manufacturing facilities. It's like building a civilization that stretches across two planets!
You probably think: Is all of this actually feasible? Well, the study conducted by ESA and Astrostrom suggests that it is. They believe that most of the core technologies needed for lunar mining and fabrication operations already exist or are being developed on Earth. With some engineering advancements and clever adaptation, we could make lunar-made solar power satellites a reality. And the best part? They would be cheaper than Earth-made satellites and provide cost-competitive electricity for our planet.