TechWill they build roads with sunlight? Germany's lunar plan

Will they build roads with sunlight? Germany's lunar plan

"Moonlit roads"
"Moonlit roads"
Images source: © Flickr
ed. KLT
3:37 PM EDT, October 18, 2023

Germany wants to build roads on the Moon using lasers and sunlight. According to local scientists, melting lunar regolith could be a process that allows for the construction of roads, landing pads, and other infrastructure elements.

Scientists from the University of Aalen in Germany suggest that roads on the moon could be created using a powerful laser or concentrated sun rays that would melt the local regolith. This theory has already been confirmed by experiments conducted on Earth.

Lunar colonization is becoming increasingly real, and with it, the demand for infrastructure, such as roads, is growing. Scientists from Aalen propose an innovative approach to this problem.

Regolith, lunar dust, poses a serious challenge for vehicles moving on the surface of the Moon. In low gravity conditions, dust tends to rise and infiltrate various parts of the equipment, which can lead to damage. Transporting materials for road construction from Earth to the Moon would be extremely costly, which is why scientists are looking for alternative solutions.

In an article published in "Scientific Reports", a scientific team presented their concept of creating lunar roads using a laser. The laser would be assigned the task of melting regolith on a designated route. Upon solidification, the molten dust would form a hard substance that could serve as a base for the road.

Scientists tested their idea on Earth, using a material that mimics lunar dust. They experimented with lasers of various powers and beam diameters, up to 100 kW and 3.9 inches. So far, with the help of a 1.8-inch beam laser, they have managed to obtain 9.8-inch, triangular surfaces.

Even though this technology still needs refining, experts believe that by combining such elements, roads and landing pads on the Moon could be created. What's more, scientists suggest that a laser could be replaced with concentrated rays of the Sun.

According to scientists' calculations, a lens with a diameter of approximately 7.77 feet and some small equipment would be needed to concentrate solar rays, which would have to be transported from Earth.

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