Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ company plans to build a prototype solar battery from simulated lunar soil, a major breakthrough in exploiting lunar resources.
With the Artemis program, NASA aims to get people to live permanently on the Moon instead of just landing on the surface and returning. To achieve this goal, humanity will have to use the resources of the Moon.
Solar cell prototype made from materials simulating lunar soil.
Solar cell prototype made from materials simulating lunar soil. (Photo: Blue Origin)
Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, hopes to help achieve this with Blue Alchemist Solar Power Project, Cnet reported on February 13. Blue Origin has been developing solar cells and transmission lines from lunar soil simulators since 2021 and has now created a working solar cell prototype.
Lunar Earth is the material on the surface of this celestial body and is very different from the soil cultivated on Earth. It is a mixture of dust, rock chips, minerals and glass. Lunar soil simulants are surrogate mixtures that mimic the composition and properties of real materials.
To create a solar cell prototype, Blue Origin experts use extremely high temperatures and electricity. “Our reactor produces iron, silicon and aluminum through simulated electrolysis of molten soil, in which an electric current separates these elements from the oxygen to which they are bound.”said this company.
Silicon is a key component of solar cells and the above process creates an ultra-pure type, suitable for solar energy. Blue Origin said the new method does not use toxic chemicals commonly used to refine silicon on Earth.
Next, the solar cell is covered in glass made from a byproduct of lunar soil electrolysis. Blue Origin estimates that this type of battery can last more than a decade.
Transporting equipment to the lunar surface is very complicated and expensive. So, instead of producing solar cells on Earth and sending them to the Moon, it seems more reasonable to exploit local resources. The same thing happens with the goal of building a colony on Mars. The Moon could be a testing ground for technologies that help humans settle on other worlds.
Article source: VnExpress
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Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ company plans to build a prototype solar battery from simulated lunar soil, a major advance in the exploitation of solar resources…