Future lunar bases could receive their power from bricks made of lunar soil able to store solar energy for use as electricity or heat.
Under research by the team from ESA, the bricks are made from artificial regolith (lunar soil) based on samples brought back from previous missions. After being formed under lunar-like conditions, the regolith bricks were tested on their ability to store heat as well as generate energy from the stored heat. According to the team, the technology proved promising, and they are now working to scale up the process as well as improve the bricks’ efficiency.
According to project manager Luca Celotti, "Using lunar regolith to store heat on the Moon would provide us with an abundance of readily-available material meaning space travellers wouldn't need to take much from Earth. Eventually, this will enable more ambitious space missions to go ahead."
Image - The artificial regolith brick inside a vacuum chamber, which simulated the low pressures and extreme temperatures that astronauts and technology would fac
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