The primary technical challenges to surviving the lunar night are the lack of solar insolation for power and heating at night and the extreme temperature ranges (>120℃ to <-150℃) on the surface during the 28-day/-night cycle. Permanently shadowed regions can be even colder. Most electronics and spacecraft subsystems can freeze and become unrecoverable at these extreme cold temperatures.
This workshop will address mission opportunities, science needs, and technical challenges as well as provide a discussion forum to creatively seek solutions to meet the objectives for the near- and long-term lunar surface missions of NASA and other agencies. The workshop objectives include:
- Review the expected needs and opportunities for science, exploration, and commercial operations on the Moon (with emphasis on early robotic activities) as they evolve from surviving the lunar night to operations throughout the day/night cycle.
- Review the current state-of-the-art for power generation, storage, and distribution (solar, nuclear, battery, beaming, etc.) and thermal management technologies for long-duration operations on the lunar surface.
- Present novel concepts for power and thermal management systems, design features, and operational techniques for maximizing survival and functionality of components and systems through the day/night cycle.
- Identify the gaps between mission needs and system capabilities for surviving and operating through multiple day/night cycles.
- Explore opportunities for public/private partnerships to develop sustainable capabilities for power and thermal management and the potential for commercial lunar infrastructure services.
- Summarize significant findings and recommendations in a workshop report for NASA decision-makers that includes a clear definition of the technology development needs and gaps and the most promising potential solutions, particularly for the earliest robotic mission applications.