Lunar Base Power Requirements, Options & Growth

by Robert D. Waldron, Rockwell Int, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space II


A preliminary study of lunar base scenarios and associated power requirements has recently been completed. Minimum power levels of 50-100 kW are required for 'science-only' activities, but power levels in excess of 1 megawatt are needed for propellant oxygen production from lunar materials at a useful rate. Early availability of lunar oxygen can favorably impact base transportation costs by reducing propellant cargo from earth to low earth orbit. Main base and mobile power options for lunar surface operations include nuclear, solar (photovoltaic) -- with or without large scale storage, gravitational, and electrochemical systems. A parametric analysis for minimum import mass for energy intensive lunar industries is presented. For solar options, minimum energy storage requirements will require additional research on cyclic illumination effects on greenhouse operations. Three energy storage methods requiring little or no earth import mass have been identified.

Subject Headings: Space colonies | Solar power | Nuclear power | Lunar materials | Energy storage | Electric power | Freight transportation | Orbits

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