LUNAR webinar, 5th April 2011

Peter Chen, NASA/GSFC

Superconductors and Moon Dust - Key Ingredients for Lunar Science, Infrastructure, and Space Exploration



High temperature superconductors (HTS) are uniquely suited for use in the lunar environment.  Dust (lunar regolith) is in plentiful abundance on the Moon’s surface.  The two elements can be combined to form the basic building blocks of future lunar outposts.  We discuss some very unusual properties of HTS materials and their expected performance at polar and non-polar locations.  We report on work carried out with colleagues at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and at other institutions to study potential applications of HTS and regolith to advance lunar science, infrastructure, and space exploration. Topics include large space telescopes, power generation, surface transportation, extremely large telescopes (ELTs) on the Moon and in deep space, and human missions to Mars and beyond.  A novel idea being studied is the use of HTS for regolith excavation, transportation, and resource extraction.

This work is supported under grant NNA09DB30A from the Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR), a consortium of research institutions led by the University of Colorado, Dr. J. Burns, PI.