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Possible energy sources that a lunar base might have as an option

  1. Nov 3, 2011 #1
    So I am doing research for the different energy sources that might be available for a space base in about fifty years from now. Some of these energy sources would likely be solar, fusion, fission, Nuclear, and I heard of radio - nuclide as well.

    What else could be used? In addition, does anyone know much about radio - nuclide power?

    In addition, suppose that this base was managed by robots, what kind of energy sources could we possibly use to power these robots?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2011 #2


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    If we are talking about the Moon then solar would be your best bet. No atmosphere to disturb it. In 50 years time we might see commercial fusion reactors on the Earth but I doubt we will be able to put them on the Moon (barring big breakthroughs they'll be running D/T as a fuel source as well so lunar He3 doesn't change anything), there are also unique difficulties for fusion in space e.g how to handle waste heat. Nuclear is a possibility if you can build a small, simple nuclear reactor and sending up the nuclear engineers to maintain it isn't an issue for you.

    Personally I would say that solar; being an energy harvester all you have to do is build it and off you go. Anything else is going to have to include a supply chain of fuel and would require more people to run it. Plus there's always a risk with things like fusion and fission that they will break and at best you've now got to ship up a new reactor. There's little that would damage solar panels once they were laid down on the Moon.

    (Of course the unspoken caveat here is that this lunar base project already has all the necessary funding and technology to do it)
  4. Nov 3, 2011 #3
    Radionuclide refers to atoms which undergo radioactive decay.
    For example, the fuel for nuclear (fission) power plants are radionuclides.

    My opinion is that a combination of solar and nuclear power is ideal for a Moon base.

    Fusion is interesting because the Moon may be rich in helium-3, a potentially useful fuel.
  5. Nov 3, 2011 #4


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    The OP is talking about 50 years from now. Do you think that by that time we will not only have developed a second generation nuclear fusion reactor but figured out how to put it on the Moon?
  6. Nov 4, 2011 #5
    Not likely. I mention Helium-3 only as an interesting curiosity, as did you.
    A compact nuclear power plant, like the ones used on submarines, would be a good backup power supply.
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