This Nasa concept is intended to supply shady regions of the moon with solar power

The company Maxar Technologies is developing a system that directs incoming sunlight onto so-called solar modules in the dark, thus supplying a number of applications with much-needed solar energy. This was announced by the US satellite company, which works with the space agency Nasa, known this week.

The system already has a name with “Light Bender” and, according to the developers, would have to be built by robots that work autonomously in the lunar environment. The receiving solar modules could be attached to robots, communication systems or scientific instruments that require electricity.

Sun for hidden areas at the south pole of the moon

Experts speak of an ingenious idea, since regions or places, such as impact craters, that would otherwise never receive sunlight could be supplied with solar energy in this form. gizmodo writes that these same dark regions of the moon’s surface, including areas at the moon’s south pole that are hidden from sunlight, contain “valuable resources such as ice water reservoirs.”

Exploration and work in the shadow regions of the moon is an important part of NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions. The space agency selected “Light Bender” through a tender to develop technologies related to the space agency’s moon-to-mars goals.

NASA concept to be demonstrated in 2025

A concept is already in development and is expected to be demonstrated on Earth in 2025. The system consists of a 20 meter high mast or telescopic mast with two ten meter reflectors – one below and one above. The bottom reflector is designed to capture the sun’s rays and reflect them onto the secondary mirror, which then transmits the light to the receiver.

Chief Architect at Maxar Technologies, Sean Dougherty, explains, “Part of what we do is conceptually simple: we reflect sunlight onto a solar panel that’s in the dark. The point where it gets complex is doing it without human involvement.”

That’s how important the robots are

That’s why the company wants to use robots to autonomously assemble the reflectors and set them up on the moon. “The Light Bender reflectors will be the largest autonomously assembled in space,” predicts Dougherty. “Ten-meter mirrors would span almost the width of a tennis court, and we’re investigating how to build them autonomously. It’s not an easy undertaking, but we have the expertise to do it,” said the expert.

Incidentally, Maxar Technologies has previously built robotic parts for NASA, namely the robotic arms for the Mars rovers of the space agency. Rovers Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and Perseverance, as well as landers Phoenix and InSight have all been fitted with an arm from the company.

Almost finished!

Please click on the link in the confirmation email to complete your registration.

Would you like more information about the newsletter? Find out more now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *