Integrated lunar transportation system

Jerome Pearson, John C. Oldson, Eugene M. Levin, Harry Wykes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

An integrated transportation system is proposed from the lunar poles to Earth orbit, using solar-powered electric vehicles on lunar tramways, highways, and a lunar space elevator. The system could transport large amounts of lunar resources to Earth orbit for construction, radiation shielding, and propellant depots, and could supply lunar equatorial, polar, and mining bases with manufactured items. We present a system for lunar surface transport using “cars, trucks, and trains,” and the infrastructure of “roads, highways, and tramways,” connecting with the lunar space elevator for transport to Earth orbit. The Apollo Lunar Rovers demonstrated a battery-powered range of nearly 50 kilometers, but they also uncovered the problems of lunar dust. For building dustless highways, it appears particularly attractive to create paved roads by using microwaves to sinter lunar dust into a hard surface. For tramways, tall towers can support high-strength ribbons that carry cable cars over the lunar craters; the ribbon might even be fabricated from lunar materials. We address the power and energy storage requirements for lunar transportation vehicles, the design and effectiveness of lunar tramways, and the materials requirements for the support ribbons of lunar tramways and lunar space elevators.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLunar Settlements
PublisherCRC Press
Pages415-430
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781420083330
ISBN (Print)9781420083323
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

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