Energy to live on the Moon!
The fourth and final Web Seminar on the topic of Lunar
Exploration was held on Tuesday, November 28, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Eastern time. The presenters were Dr. Anuradha Koratkar, Associate Research Scientist
at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology
(GEST) Center, and her student assistants Mr. Albert Hill and Mr. Brendan Shaughnessy.
The presentation focused on the energy required to support a sustainable habitat
on the Moon. NASA plans to send astronauts to live and work on the Moon in the next
Thirty-five (35) participants were present in addition to the presenter and the
NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California,
Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania,
Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In this presentation educators learned about the need for energy to sustain a habitat
on the Moon. When astronauts return to the Moon, they will live and work there for
a period of six months. The crew size will include 4-6 astronauts. How much energy
will they need to survive? How will that energy be generated? Of all the options
available for a self-sustaining habitat on the Moon, solar power seems like the
best option available. Since the Moon's day and night cycle is 14 days long, scientists
have been searching for a location on the Moon where solar panels can be placed
and receive near continuous sunlight as the Moon travels through space. Such a location
exists near the lunar poles, and coincidentally, it is in these polar regions where
astronomers believe water, in the form of ice, may be available on the Moon.
Web Seminar participants also learned about energy sources and sinks and about on-going
habitat research taking place at the Biosphere II site in Arizona. Participants
asked many questions and shared their ideas about energy consumption of a typical
family of four, and their best guess on how much energy a crew of six astronauts
will consume per month on the Moon. At the end of the program, all participants
received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide
titled: A Close-Up Look at the Red Planet, grades 5-8.
Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
"I teach both environmental science and astronomy. It connects these well through
the discussions of a sustainable habitat on the moon. The information presented
included things that I can modify and bring back to my students."
"We have been discussing what an ecosystem is. Having students design a sustainable
system for the moon will help them understand what is needed for an ecosystem."
"I enjoyed some of the simple math calculations I was able to do. The information
was good, as were tonight's presenters."
"Anuradha has done a nice job - by this time (fourth presentation) she is a pro.
I appreciate that she is willing to spend late nights (1 AM in Germany) presenting
Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the
interactions, and a job well done!
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Underwritten in part by NASA