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mrod9191 t1_j2eeprp wrote

How are the solar panels producing more power if the lunar night is 14 days long? Does that mean during the lunar day the solar panels are producing more than double the power than the nuclear reactor?


ninehundreddolarydos t1_j2eh8ec wrote

The article says they propose building a large ring of solar panels above the 88th parallel, so enough solar panels to always have half in sunlight and half in darkness.

I think fission is much more sensible.


Bierbart12 t1_j2eit4d wrote

I'm wondering how THAT would possibly use less mass


ninehundreddolarydos t1_j2ekexw wrote

I'm guessing over-estimates on the lunar nuclear solution, best case estimates for solar panel mass, and sidestepping the problem of volume for that many solar panels. Oh and don't forget to pack 10km (!) of transmission line.


gerkletoss t1_j2eq9nd wrote

My napkin says it's probably more like 400 km of transmission line.


AnotherQuark t1_j2fbs3n wrote

Reasonable idea once the moon is saturated with enough humans though.


Aaron_Hamm t1_j2fp9tb wrote

I mean, if you're running out of nuclear fuel, sure


mienaikoe t1_j2fewd3 wrote

At that point Solar thermal might be even cheaper. No pesky atmosphere to get in the way


binzoma t1_j2fsy3l wrote

I wonder if the assumption is a lot of the materials for solar panels could be harvested from the moon fairly easily?


Lordnerble t1_j2fuooo wrote

You would not get anything from the moon material wise easily. Without having infrastructure in place to do it. So no.


cpe111 t1_j2euv14 wrote

They would need a lot of cable to make that work.


sadetheruiner t1_j2ehilb wrote

If it rings the moon it’s always daylight on half the panels. So I think the takeaway is that half the panels at any given time produce more than fission options.


gerkletoss t1_j2el583 wrote

Yeah but no way in hell is it six times less mass when you factor in all the equipment required to actually install the panels in a >300 km circumference ring and wire them up to a polar base. Then there's the usefulness of the reactor's waste heat for melting ice.

And good lucking servicing this distributed network of solar panels.


AnotherQuark t1_j2fbzaq wrote

Meteorite hell i would imagine. Partially underground reactor seems safer


Rare-Joke t1_j2emmj0 wrote

Good luck servicing a reactor on the moon as well? What happens if a reactor melts down on the moon?


gerkletoss t1_j2epuhd wrote

The astronauts are near the reactor. They can potentially service it in shirt sleeves.

A meltdown is nearly impossible with current designs, but it would definitely halt ISRU operations until a new reactor could be sent.


BavarianBanshee t1_j2etk7k wrote

You just do it the same way you would service solar panels on the moon.

You bring the stuff with you that you need, and have highly trained personnel do it.

And while there's never a 0% chance of a meltdown, with modern reactor designs, they can make it pretty close to 0%. People are quick to think of events like Chernobyl when talking about nuclear power, but that was a very old type of reactor being used in the worst way possible. You can bet people running a much better designed reactor on the moon are gonna take it a lot more seriously.


dern_the_hermit t1_j2ezk8z wrote

Yeah, even Chernobyl needed them to deliberately shut off safety equipment and run the reactor in an atypical experimental manner before experiencing a catastrophe.


TravestyTravis t1_j2f2182 wrote

Also the moon doesn’t have wind or quakes.


Lyonore t1_j2f2rff wrote

Nor an atmosphere, though, so a lot more meteorites to be concerned with


Triabolical_ t1_j2f8xk7 wrote

Look at the NASA kilopower designs, and the KRUSTY testbed.


Aaron_Hamm t1_j2fplby wrote

I genuinely don't understand how you thought this was a valuable thing to say


cocktimus1prime t1_j2fd3es wrote

It will render moon uninhabitable.


Mad_Dizzle t1_j2fte9p wrote

The moon is already highly irradiated lmao, you're not gonna cause a nuclear winter or anything.


seedanrun t1_j2f2f99 wrote

Also with no atmosphere your angle of incident is not important.

You could put a rotating panel on the moons north or south pole and have continuous light year round.


sadetheruiner t1_j2f5kgf wrote

That would probably be more efficient. Honestly if operations expand there’s no reason a hybrid system couldn’t be utilized, as someone else mentioned the fission gives free heat.


Triabolical_ t1_j2f8v86 wrote

Fission gives free heat if you are either a) willing to build a heat-transfer system to get the heat where you want it or b) live right next to a nuclear reactor.


sadetheruiner t1_j2fi1av wrote

I believe most people would be more comfortable with a heat transfer system, but of course that’s more weight, more cost and more things to break.


killcat t1_j2ehw6w wrote

As long as you exclude the wires needed to get it to where you need it sure.


amitym t1_j2f8i6h wrote

After 13 days you issue a press release declaring the effort a success, then start a new company... >_>