Dean Murray via SWNS
"Wall-E! Where's my phone charger?"
It's hard enough finding a power charger on Earth, now a company has unveiled a Wall-E-like portable energy supply for the MOON.
Canadian firm Stells say they will have a Mobile Power Rover, or MPR-1, on the lunar landscape by 2025 - that will trundle along to where power is needed.
The tracked vehicle will serve the Moon’s South Pole region providing charge to other lunar applications - robots, rovers, landers, and potentially supporting future human missions.
The MPR-1 drives from a landing craft to required mission area and then unfurls solar panels.
If the area is in shadow, then the rover moves to the nearest Sun-blessed spot to charge up.
Other assets can drive within range of a box-shaped charging station and absorb power wirelessly.
"All the upcoming missions to the Moon face one large constraint, power," said the Toronto-based company.
"The key mission objective is to provide power to extend mission duration for current and future missions on the Moon.
"It is widely evident that survival on the lunar surface is difficult due to the severeness of the environmental conditions.
"There is no atmosphere or convection, and everything that is reliant on this process ceases working.
"For the first time in history, the rover will provide fast charging service on the Moon to others that send their applications for exploration of the Moon and permanently shadowed regions.
The MPR-1 mission will charge other lunar exploration participants who install Stells' lightweight wireless receiving coil or already have a third-party vendor coil.
"This project aims to bring Moon exploration a significant step towards the ultimate goal of a long-term presence on the Moon," Stells said.
"The rover can go into the shadowed regions of the Moon and provide charge as an alternative to solar or the only source of power.
"Stells intends to utilize (space company) Intuitive Machines’ lunar launch services to deliver the company’s 30kg rover to the southern pole of the Moon by 2025."
Intuitive Machines is a leading participant in NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, having been awarded contracts for three missions to date.
"The benefit of having a reliable power source in space is tremendous. This solution provides the potential to extend the mission lifespan, increase exploration range and revive robots and rovers that have run out of power," Stells said.
"With earthly resources being limited, it brings greater benefit to create a self-sustaining system on the Moon that can power other missions to reduce the number of resources required to be sent from Earth."
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