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The Battery in the Sky - A Jigsaw of Time

Part 1 Project 2014
Oliver Townsend
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
The colonization of man in space is inevitable, not only to fulfil the innate human desire to explore, but also to obtain essential materials and find alternative power sources to re-stock and fuel our dying planet.

Unlike earth, the moon sits vulnerable in space. It doesn’t have an atmosphere to act as a shield and so its surface is defenceless. Solar winds from the sun carry a gas called Helium 3, which accumulates on the moon’s surface and is absorbed by the lunar soil. It is estimated that there could be 1,100,000 metric tonnes of Helium 3 on the moon. Recent studies have shown it could potentially be used as fuel for a fusion nuclear reactor. This would generate gigantic amounts of power, without any radioactive by-products or damaging carbon emissions.

Building a mining structure on the moon is the next step. I’d like to promote the idea of re-using satellites as a sustainable building resource in order to make this more financially achievable.

There are over 13,000 satellites currently in orbit, however 75% of these are unused due to damage or because they have used up all their fuel supply, which on average lasts for 10 years. Once out of fuel they either return to earth or sit in orbit as ‘space junk’.

I propose to develop and explore a strategy in which prefabricated modules are integrated into the design of future satellites. These will be retrieved and transferred to the moon where their recyclable parts will be reconfigured to form solar powered dwellings to house the essential technology needed to sustain human life. The connectable modules will attach to a lightweight transported carbon fibre core. LunaCrete slabs will be 3D printed and attached to a framework creating platforms, which will support cranes and all essential mining equipment. Engineers and miners serving 3 - 6 month working contracts will operate the structure to extract Helium and Ilmenite from the lunar surface. This project will develop as part of a lunar colony that will be a stepping-stone to deep space exploration.

Oliver Townsend


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