Brief 

A research team has suggested using regolith-based concrete to build kilometer-high towers adorned with solar panels to provide power to a crewed base on the moon. Researchers say manufacturing concrete in-situ offers a low-cost alternative to transporting massive quantities of iron or carbon fiber to the moon.

 

Insight

Scientists have come up with an ambitious new idea to provide bases on the Moon’s surface with solar power, New Scientist reports: massive, kilometer-high towers constructed from lunar concrete and almost entirely covered in solar panels.

The team, led by Sephora Ruppert from Harvard University, suggest in a yet-to-be-peer-reviewed paper that the towers could be constructed by mixing lunar soil and heating it to bind it together, not too dissimilar from regular concrete.

“We choose concrete as the capital cost of transporting large masses of iron or carbon fiber to the Moon is presently so expensive that profitable operation of a power plant is unlikely,” the researchers write in the paper. “Concrete instead can be manufactured in situ from the lunar regolith.

Peaks of Eternal Light

Both poles of the Moon also have ample amounts of sunlight, with almost continuous coverage. On the surface itself, however, the regions where the Sun continuously shines, areas known as the “Peaks of Eternal Light,” are each only a few square meters in size. At an altitude of around a kilometer, though, that area balloons to several hundred square kilometers, according to New Scientist.

 

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