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First success of a technology for the moon

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:57 pm
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First success of a technology for the moon 
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Post First success of a technology for the moon   Posted on: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:57 pm
The german popular science website www.wissenschaft.de today is reporting that scientists successfully have developed a robot and a method to produce solar cells on the moon including their installation.

A robot will roll over the lunar surface gather siliciumdioxyd dust, melt it, forming solar cells of it and intsall it while rolling.

They hace tested it and experimented under lunar conditions artificially created in their lab.

There is one diadvantage - compared to normal earthian solar cells which have an efficiency of 20 % the lunar cells will have an efficiency of 1 % only. But they consider this to be outweighed by the possibility to cover huge lunar areas by these solar cells.

The technology is under development to provide electricity for a permanently manned lunar station.

According to wissenschaft.de an english article about this will be to be read in the "New Scientist" tomorrow.

Could that be a technology for Mars too?
And could that be a soource for the beginning of lunar and space industry?

What improvements and extensions are possible?



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 21, 2005 2:13 pm
My understanding was that the robot only made the substrate that the solar cell was deposited on top of, although this accounted for most of the weight hence it would be benificial for the moon.

It was thought that it might be possible to develop the whole cell in the future but at the moment this was not possible.

I've just found the article again, this may be a different team to the one you read about though because its talking about a group in Maryland.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 011905.php

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 23, 2005 4:31 pm
wissenschaft.de says the team quoted by the artical is a NASA-team around the Planetologist David Williams.

NASA - they are urging to the moon by the Bush plan and so they may be farther than the Maryland team.



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Post    Posted on: Fri May 20, 2005 8:01 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
wissenschaft.de says the team quoted by the artical is a NASA-team around the Planetologist David Williams.

Here is a link:
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6892
All they have done so far is melt soil to make glass. No other chemical processing has been done and no rover designed.


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Post    Posted on: Sun May 22, 2005 3:06 pm
The article under www.wissenschaft.de seems to quote the article incompletely - nothing about a simulation has been said there and no access to the according New Scientist article were possible that day.



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Post    Posted on: Mon May 23, 2005 2:48 pm
That is so typical of the space flight hype I have been hearing for years. A story in www.wissenschaft.de says that an automated lunar rover will make solar cells but does not give details. The reality is that some scientists have heated simulated lunar dust in a vacuum chamber and made glass which they showed was smooth enough to use as a base upon which solar cells could be deposited. No rover, no automated solar cell making equipment, no way to separate pure silicon or other materials from lunar soil and no work at all done to achieve any of those goals. Just melted soil to make glass. I have to say that after 30+ years of such reports that I am really loosing patience with these inflated claims and broken promises. Now video of SS1 flying to 100 km, THAT is real!


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 23, 2005 2:56 pm
The article really does give detail but left away a few. I am used to have a look into the sources listed because I use such journals and sites as hints mainly - even if I quote the hints.

The details are reasonable but simply incomplete. And that time the actual New Scientist articles were accessable to those only who pay and are registered - so I unfortunately could't check the source.

In general www.wissenschaft.de or "Bild der Wissenschaft" are of reasonable educational value for public eduction of the general german public.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:26 am
The article "Hubble Searches for Oxygen on the Moon" ( www.space.com/scienceastronomy/051019_hubble_moon.html ) says that
Quote:
Laboratory experiments on Earth have shown that applying certain chemical processes to terrestrial ilmenite can easily liberate oxygen and water. Water can then be turned into oxygen and hydrogen, which could also be used for rocket fuel.


.

This sounds to me as if there were real experiments but not computer simulations only.

More important is that Hubble detected rich ressources of oxygen obviously.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:16 am
The article "Robotic Prospector Under Development at Carnegie Mellon" ( www.space.com/businesstechnology/071024 ... ining.html ) yesterday reported that Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute developed a prototype in between - called Scarab.

Quote:
The drill on the robot is able to obtain "meter-long geological core samples and features a novel rocker-arm suspension that enables the robot to plant its belly on the ground." By placing the drill at the center of the robot's body, Scarab is able to apply sufficient downward force for drilling while keeping its weight at 250 kilograms.



Scarab solves the problem of working in dark craters (not to mention the 14 day lunar night) by using an advanced sterling radioisotope generator (ASRG). The ASRG is a device that converts the heat of isotope decay into electrical power. This generator provides energy for ten years of activity.




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Post    Posted on: Thu May 29, 2008 5:02 pm
Regarding the step og collectiong lunar dust NASA already might have found a way - according to the article "Tackling Moondust for Future Lunar Living" ( www.space.com/businesstechnology/080527 ... rview.html ). It says that
Quote:
Electromagnets could pull or drive off lunar dust that has metallic qualities, while air hoses could also help
.

This would be meant as a measure to keep the dust away from astronauts - but to me it looks as if this would be a method to collect dust for making something out of it.

What about it?



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