Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a solar concentrator system for lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) applications including oxygen extraction from lunar regolith.
In PSI’s system, solar radiation is collected using a concentrator array that transfers the concentrated solar radiation to the optical waveguide (OW) transmission cable made of low loss optical fibers. The OW transmission line directs the solar radiation to the thermal receiver for thermochemical processing of lunar regolith. Key features of this system include: Highly concentrated solar radiation transmitted via the flexible OW cable directly to the thermal receiver for oxygen production from lunar regolith; power scale-up of the system is achieved by incremental increase of the number of concentrator units; the system can be autonomous, stationary or mobile, and easily transported and deployed on the lunar surface; and the system can be applied to multiple lunar ISRU processes.
The primary application of PSI’s solar concentrator system is for the production of oxygen and other useful materials on the lunar surface. The solar concentrator system can be used for sintering lunar regolith for surface stabilization and construction. In addition, the system can be used for thermal or electric power generation and plant lighting and illumination for the lunar base. Therefore, the solar concentrator system is the key enabling technology for building up the infrastructure for the lunar base. There are also a number of terrestrial uses for the solar concentrator system related to heating applications including water heating (for domestic and industrial usage), transportable heat source for the detoxification of contaminated soil, heat engine for small power plants and industrial process heat. Also, concentrator subsystems may find applications for building and indoor plant growth lighting.
For more information, contact:
Mr. William Kessler
Vice President, Applied Optics
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003