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Moon gets first micro-grid

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

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  • May 18, 2022
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NASA is going back to the moon, but they’re taking a microgrid with them this time. That’s right, a Sandia National Laboratories grid unit will power the Artemis Program, a sustained lunar exploration that is being pitched as a precursor to a human Mars mission. 

The scope of the initial bases is outlined in this article over at Universe Today: 

The Base Camp concept consists of a habitation unit capable of accommodating up to four astronauts as well as a mining and processing facility that will use local resources (lunar regolith and water ice) to fashion rocket fuel, water, oxygen gas, and building materials – a process known as in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). This will extend the duration and range of surface exploration while reducing dependence on resupply missions from Earth. This facility and its microgrid will be located far from the base camp to avoid disrupting other science and technology activities. 

That same article quotes Jack Flicker, a Sandia electrical engineer, on the challenges of building such a system:

“There are some very important differences between something like an ISS-type microgrid to something that has the extent of a moon base. One of those differences is the geographic size, which can be problematic, especially when running at low DC voltages. 

“Another is that when you start to extend these systems, there will be a lot more power electronics as well as a lot more distributed energy resources that will exist throughout the base. Sandia has been looking at microgrids with a lot of distributed energy resources for quite a long time.”

What a time to be alive.


 

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