Dan Batcheldor from NASA: The Lunar South Pole Environment

September 10, 2021

 

In this recording of a live online talk Dr Dan Batcheldor, Senior Scientist and Subject Matter Expert in Physics as a contractor at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, examines the opportunities and hazards at one promising part of the lunar environment.

Lunar regolith (dust) presents a risk when landing and operating anywhere on the lunar surface, but at the south pole this same material may also become a resource. However, the lunar south pole presents other interesting risks and opportunities particularly when it comes to the impact of the Sun. The perpetually low Sun angle, as it tracks around the horizon, will provide almost constant illumination for surface operations and photovoltaic power systems, but it may also generate a complex electromagnetic environment. In addition, large areas of the lunar surface will be in permanent, or near permanent shadow. Such shadows may be the location of significant resources but they may also hamper surface operations.

In this talk, the effects of dust and the sun angle on lunar surface operations are discussed, and Dr Batcheldor presents technologies currently under development to help alleviate some of these issues.

Image (c) JPL/NASA Moon Trek

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