The most easily available power source on the Moon is solar power. This has the obvious drawback that the night is two weeks long, during which you would probably still need power for a base to operate.

While there are countless other ways to work around this, ranging from a plethora of proposed ways to store energy, to alternative energy sources...

..how does a simple transmission line from the "day" side compare?

I'm primarily interested in what mass such an installation would have.

Some considerations:

  • It's long. The exact length would depend on location, with bases close to the pole merely needing to "flip" over the pole point. This question is not about finding clever base locations though, like the peaks of eternal light, so half the circumference of the Moon ~5000km, is the right order of magnitude.
  • It's not affected by air, weather, surface water, vegetation, animals or human activities.
  • There's likely some trade-off transmission voltage. The voltage will affect the required conductor cross section and transmission losses, but also be limited by how much the cable can be insulated from the ground.

I don't expect it to be a practical solution, but as even coming up with an order of magnitude estimation is difficult to me, there's no way to know for sure.

power line on the Moon

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The mass of the line depends on the power to be transmitted. What do you want, 10 kW, 100 kW or 1 MW? Transmission loses should not melt the conductor and should be less than about 10 to 25 %. For a HVDC transmission two conductors were needed. A three phase AC transmission would not work due to reactive current losses over a very long line. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 23:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An interesting document about high voltage DC lines already in existence is here: diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:931112/FULLTEXT01.pdf that line supplies a lot of power over more than 2000km. It is a high power system, though, which is probably not needed for a moon base, but it's an interesting document for information $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:31


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.