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Monday, March 27, 2006

Limiting factors: Lunar Exploration

The US has announced ambitions plans to create a lunar outpost that will be a waystation in the exploration of Mars. Some details are here.
The crucial questions are how will they power it and where is the water. Human activity is constrained by the available water. The power source will have to be solar energy, but the moon has a peculiar problem in that except for the poles there are 14 days of sunlight followed by 14 days of darkness. The lunar "day" is 672 hours with 336 hours of sunlight followed by a 336 hour "night". Designing these solar power systems will be a magnificent challenge. The good bit is that the spin-off's of the technologies thus developed can be applied on planet earth to enhance our solar harvest..

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