Surviving and Operating Through the Lunar Night

Andrew Petro 2020

link:: doi:: 10.1109/AERO47225.2020.9172730


One of the key capabilities needed for performing long-duration missions on the lunar surface is survival, and ultimately operational viability, through the lunar night. The fourteen Earth days of continuous darkness and extreme cold experienced at most locations on the Moon, plus the lack of a moderating atmosphere, presents one of the most demanding environmental challenge that will be faced in the exploration of the solar system. This paper will summarize the results of a NASA-sponsored workshop on this subject that was held in November 2018. The workshop discussions covered the environmental challenges of the lunar night and the implications for the range of science, exploration, and commercial activities planned for the Moon. Previous missions and their experiences with surviving the night are also described. A variety of technology solutions and operational strategies for night survival and operations will be outlined.