Wireless Power Transmission to Communicate with the Moon

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A recent study offers a solution to provide constant communication between the Moon and the Earth (even from the far side of the Moon) in the form of a Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) system that uses satellites and a solar-powered receiver.

The researchers from Polytechnique Montréal investigated the option of using satellites in an Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2 (EMLP-2) halo orbit to wirelessly transmit power to a receiver on the far side of the Moon. Dr. Gunes Karabulut Kurt, co-author of the study, explained to Universe Today: “This research is motivated by the objective of overcoming the logistical and technical challenges associated with using traditional cables on the Moon’s surface…Laying cables on the Moon’s rough, dusty surface would lead to ongoing maintenance and wear problems, as lunar dust is highly abrasive.”

According to Interesting Engineering, the researchers found that a three-satellite system in EMLP-2 halo orbit could “achieve continuous power beaming to a receiver optical antenna anywhere on the lunar far side” while maintaining full coverage and line of sight with Earth.

As NASA prepares for its Artemis program that will send more astronauts to the Moon, this study becomes especially relevant, its findings implicating the design of energy transmission systems on the Moon. As the Artemis program aims to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon, wireless power transmission technology could be crucial to achieving such a sustained lunar presence.

Dr. Kurt explained that a better understanding of the disruptors of wireless transmission (like lunar dust) can help scientists develop more efficient and reliable systems for powering lunar missions and infrastructure.

“Our future studies will focus on more complex harvesting and transmission models to get closer to reality,” Dr. Kurt remarked. “We also plan to explore the impact of lunar dust and environmental factors on the wireless transmission.”

Another program that aims to develop a wireless means of distributing energy around the globe through airborne power transfer is the Persistent Optical Wireless Energy Relay (POWER) program, which is led by DARPA (the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).