Development of a system to generate electricity on the Moon's surface during the lunar night
Tutor / director / evaluatorLizy-Destrez, Stéphanie
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
One of the biggest challenges of the exploration of the Moon is the survival of the crew and the lunar assets during periods of darkness (known as lunar night). The environmental conditions on the lunar surface and its cycle, with long periods of darkness, make any long mission in need of heat and electricity to be successful. This report presents two different systems to produce heat and electricity on the Moon’s surface. The first system is composed by Thermal Wadis, sources of thermal power that can be used to supply heat to protect the exploration systems from the extreme cold during periods of darkness. Results show that Wadis can supply enough heat to keep the lunar electronic devices, such as lunar rovers, above their minimum operating temperature (approximately 243K). The second system developed and presented is the Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system, which is able to run a heat engine during the lunar night to produce electricity. When the sun is shining on the Moon’s surface, the system can run the engine directly using the solar power and, at the same time, heat a thermal mass. This thermal mass will be used as a high temperature source to run the heat engine during periods of darkness. In order to choose every component for the TES system, we focused on both the production of the needed amount of energy and the minimization of the weight brought from the Earth to the Moon.