Monday, January 24, 2005

All those solar cells for lunar power but no sun for 14 days?

The linked article from the New Scientist describes a successful experiment of making solar cells from lunar material. The experiment was done because human bases on the moon will need a power source, and as NASA scientist David Williams is quoted as saying, "Bringing up stuff from Earth is expensive." But having your astronauts go without power during Luna's two-week night is bound to get expensive too.

Making solar cells from lunar regolith would certainly cut down on the cost of providing power for lunar bases, and as the article helpfully points out there is a lot of real estate on the moon to put the solar cells. Moreover, without an atmosphere to get in the way there is never a cloudy day on the moon. But there are those pesky 14 day nights to deal with. That's kind of a long time to be without solar power.

Maybe solar cells aren't the ideal solution for powering lunar bases, after all. Anyway, why should we rely on the sun for power when we can imitate the sun in a nuclear reactor and deliver power 24/7?


Of course we can use nuclear reactor instead of solar power, but solar power has many advantages. It's harmless, natural and we can get it in big quantities. The only drawback is that it's new sphere and that's why more expensive, but I'm sure soon scientists will find a way of getting cheap solar energy.
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