The source of power for the new lunar Rover is a laser. How does it work?

Humanity periodically sends to the moon special moon Rovers (Rovers), which allow you to learn more about the Earth’s satellite. For example, thanks to one of the soil analysis of the moon, astronomers were able to learn that there once was water (and maybe are now, but very deep). But for this Rover needs food — how it is produced? Electric stations and gas stations on the moon is not yet built, and send the Rovers to travel at least for a few years. In the majority of ships that live on the moon and on Mars, are now used in solar panels: they are inexpensive, safe, and easy, which is important given that the Rover still needs to send to space travel. However, they have one major drawback: solar panels do not allow you to go to the other side of the moon that is not illuminated by the Sun.

How to get electricity on the moon?

For several years scientists have tried to develop anpower source and found it in the form of radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Sounds scary? And no wonder, because such generators using energy, which is formed after decay of radioactive metals (usually use plutonium). It’s not a full-fledged nuclear reactors,they have with them something in common, but their task perform — powering spacecraft for decades. It thus organized the power of the Rover “Curiosity” and both ships Voyager.

But this way of eating has its drawbacks. First, these generators are very heavy and incredibly expensive. As a minimum, because the plutonium in a regular store do not get it, its circulation is strictly controlled by the state because of radioactive elements can be used to create weapons. Therefore, the moon usually used for powering solar panels. And the heat from the radioactive generator can be a water evaporator and to prevent the research. But due to the fact that the moon has a day and night, they only work in “Sunny” time — at night the Rover goes into hibernation mode.

The European space Agency has found an original solution to the problem of power of the moon — the scientists want to fuel them with lasers! The project Powering rovers by High Intensity Laser Induction on Planets (PHILIP) has already allocated millions of euros. The point is that with the Rover to send to the moon the station power, which will land in the area of eternal light (Yes, on Earth there are such) and will remain there for all time a space mission. The station will set pyatisotletny infrared laser, and the power she will get by using the same solar panels. Station can send the power with a laser on the Rover with the help of a photoelectric Converter receives the energy needed to work even in pitch darkness.

According to the researchers, the range of this type of power is limited only by the sight of the feeding station, that is, it will always see the Rover to guide it to the laser. However, as scientists say, if you correctly choose the landing site, the Rover will be able to withdraw 15 kilometers without losing power. In addition, the Rover will collect energy, in the event of loss of contact with the station again to return to the zone of its visibility.

Possible new scheme of power supply will be used already on the Rover VIPER. Plan to send him to the lunar pole in 2022, and the lasers will enable him to work in the shadows.

Space mission to the moon

Last year, the Chinese lander “Chang’e-4” and the Rover landed on the far side of the moon. All this time they studied the crater in the Background of his Pocket and shared the results of his discoveries through the only source of communication in the form of a repeater of a satellite sending signals to Earth. A huge amount of data obtained as a result of the mission, could shed light not only on the history of the satellite and the causes of the mysterious shock the pool, but answer is still unexplored issues regarding the evolution of the Solar system as a whole.