What will be the system that will help people survive the cold on the moon? Is of interest to NASA.

03/02/2022
Credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University
Credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

As you know, through the Artemis mission, NASA wants to send people back to the moon, but the temperatures on the moon, especially at night, are very low and special suits and tools are needed to keep the astronauts from freezing cold. 

There are already a lot of companies working to bring new types of systems and technologies to help astronauts on the moon survive in low temperatures. If on Earth, low temperatures mean -10 ° C (14 ° F), on the Moon things are worse. There we refer to temperatures of -232 ° C (-387 ° F) at night, where everything would freeze if not properly equipped. And these low temperatures are long-lasting. On the Moon, there are 14 earth days of sunlight and then another 14 days of darkness (night). 

Besides the problem of how to keep the astronauts alive, not to freeze, there are also problems with the spaceship that takes them to the moon. All payloads on board the spacecraft and all computers need a minimum temperature of -40 ° C / ° F, below this threshold, the computers no longer work. 

The American company Masten has found a solution to this very big problem. Masten has created an integrated night-time heat and power system (NITE), which is based on exothermic chemical reactions to produce the heat and energy needed for human survival and the operation of computers on lunar nights. The system uses metals and oxidants left in the propulsion system of the landing craft, thus generating the exothermic chemical reaction, to produce heat. 

Prior to the development of this system, NASA used huge batteries to maintain the best possible temperature for astronauts. It was a very good solution back then, but now the NITE system is 7 times lighter than those batteries were. Thus, using the system instead of batteries, the spacecraft will weigh less, so the launch will be better. 

Credit: Masten - artistic concept for Xelene lunar lander on the Moon
Credit: Masten - artistic concept for Xelene lunar lander on the Moon

Not only is it easy, the system is also efficient. It can be attached to landing, rover, robotic missions, as well as with crew. And it can only work on a monthly night or when the temperature drops below a certain threshold, so it consumes exactly as much as it should, without the risk of overheating. It does not require solar energy, can be started manually, produces an average of 1900 Wh / kg with a low mass solution and much more. 

And the price is tempting for NASA. The system saves $ 50 million compared to previous and $ 10 million compared to mass battery charges. The company said it will most likely be available in mid-2022, thanks to successful tests so far.

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 03 February 2022, at 09:44 am Los Angeles time

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