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Jun 14, 2019

Lunar-Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO): Affordable Exploration and Industrialization

Posted by in categories: energy, space

The Lunar Polar Gas-Dynamic Mining Outpost (LGMO) (see quad chart graphic) is a breakthrough mission architecture that promises to greatly reduce the cost of human exploration and industrialization of the Moon. LGMO is based on two new innovations that together solve the problem of affordable lunar polar ice mining for propellant production. The first innovation is based on a new insight into lunar topography: our analysis suggests that there are large (hundreds of meters) landing areas in small (0.5−1.5 km) nearpolar craters on which the surface is permafrost in perpetual darkness but with perpetual sunlight available at altitudes of only 10s to 100s of meters. In these prospective landing sites, deployable solar arrays held vertically on masts 100 m or so in length (lightweight and feasible in lunar gravity) can provide nearly continuous power.

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