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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... >_>


BavarianBanshee t1_j2esjed wrote

Personally, I'm not buying it, but I'm not an expert. It just seems to me that there is no way in hell they would have six times less mass when making a ring of solar panels around something as large as the moon. It may not be as big as the earth, but that fucker is big; that's gonna take a lot of solar panels.


hyper24x7 t1_j2f02bq wrote

Both - panels could get hit by meteorites of all sizes. The nuclear reactor could help charge batteries. having more than once source of power (no matter how long it takes to get up there) is better than just having one.


lazyProgrammerDude t1_j2ephmp wrote

I'm wondering how would they maintain such a large ring of panels and also protect them from space debris that we already have.


itsmejpt t1_j2fa24q wrote

I spent way too long trying to figure out what "Israeli pens" were.


armymike t1_j2f6l4d wrote

That sounds like a lot of panels. The zoning board will never go for it.

/s for those who don't have to hear about their local zoning boards doing everything they can to stop solar panel fields being installed


Grimsage777 t1_j2eylgu wrote

Solar panels will gather dust and be unusable for a long period of time without maintenance and/or replacements.


dern_the_hermit t1_j2f0bys wrote

Unless the dust is disturbed by human or machine activity it'll just stay where it currently is. And if it is disturbed its trajectory tends to follow a simple up-and-down arc. It doesn't float in the air like it does here on Earth, for the very obvious reason.


Israeli_pride t1_j2fausw wrote

I’m such a nuclear proponent, especially in space. i immediately roll my eyes whenever i hear about solar, i always think but nuclear does it better


mykepagan t1_j2fe6sm wrote

Which is less mass: “six times less“ or “one sixth”?

If I start with 100Kg and take away 6x that mass, do I end up with -500Kg? How does negative mass work?


cynical_gramps t1_j2f98nh wrote

This could work in principle but it would hardly be an improvement over fission (and the math is very generous/somewhat questionable).


Stillwater215 t1_j2fegjv wrote

The only scary thing about a fission reactor on the moon is getting fuel there. Rockets are definitely moving in the direction of being safer, but a rocket loaded with enriched uranium, if it were to explode during lift-off, would potentially contaminate a massive piece of land with radioactive material. Even if a rocket only fails 1/100th of the time, that’s still a huge gamble to make.


Maenethal t1_j2fnb8p wrote

Solar panels are easily damaged, especially since there is no atmosphere to decelerate space debris. A reactor would be a much safer option.


slick514 t1_j2fopum wrote

Building a nuclear reactor without a substantial water reservoir will be… “interesting”


realif3 t1_j2fti14 wrote

Don't need water. Space is pretty cold. Also nuclear reactors have been going to space since the 60s.


cpe111 t1_j2eus0j wrote

Need a lot of batteries to survive the 2 week night


Spurrierball t1_j2ff5i4 wrote

With how essential consistent power would be to every persons survival on a moon base why would they not simply do both?


mannishboy61 t1_j2ffrex wrote

Who writes this stuff. "Six times less mass" . A sixth?


stormhawk427 t1_j2fhem2 wrote

Why not both? Unless the panels are charging capacitors for when the sun isn’t out.


Koffeekage t1_j2fwg25 wrote

America wants to set up on the poles. It would be more efficient to bring a reactor than run transmission lines from the equator.


Zee2A OP t1_j2edbys wrote

Solar power can offer a superior alternative to nuclear fission for generating oxygen on the moon .This would require "six times less mass to produce the same amount of energy" as the best nuclear option, says the professor:

Study Published in March 2022: 'Uninterrupted photovoltaic power for lunar colonization without the need for storage' :


forestapee t1_j2elurf wrote

I'm wondering how the panels would hold up to debris impacts on the moon long term. Lots more protection on Earth


_off_piste_ t1_j2erqax wrote

What about the abrasive nature of moon dust? I know there’s no wind like on Earth and Mars but it seems like travel to install and other operations will have an effect on how much is in the atmosphere.


dern_the_hermit t1_j2ezy61 wrote

Moon dust won't linger off the ground like it would in an atmosphere. You kick dust up and it falls right back down.

Which isn't to suggest it's not a concern, just that there's not going to be big billowing clouds that linger for any appreciable amount of time.


Loon013 t1_j2f81tx wrote

There is evidence that lunar dust may be elevated by electromagnetic forces. Differences in potential can arise between day lit and dark areas.


dern_the_hermit t1_j2f8la4 wrote

True, but that phenomenon can be used to our advantage (.pdf warning) to repel dust as well.


Loon013 t1_j2f9d2t wrote

I agree, but that will require some more mass and energy to implement. Those requirements will be considerable on the scale of a polar solar ring.


dern_the_hermit t1_j2fa17w wrote

I think it would be trivial in comparison to the whole project. I mean, it's no secret that just about every aspect of a megastructure is definitionally huge.


LowBarometer t1_j2eiv8x wrote

Israel is too busy f*cking the Palestinians to do anything notable.


KillCreatures t1_j2egky4 wrote

A brutal repressive regime such as Israel’s should not be allowed space on or access to the Moon.


Soapspear t1_j2ejxy9 wrote

Agreed. Goes for Arab countries that persecute LGBTQ folks as well.


KillCreatures t1_j2ek2ny wrote

Absolutely. These people want to bring idiotic outdated ideas to space, ridiculous