Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Science question(s) #1

I had some thoughts...

Last year or so, NASA ran an experiment where they strung a cable out behind the space shuttle. As this cable was being pulled through the earth's magnetic field (because the shuttle was not in a geosynchronous orbit) it cause the electrons in the cable to flow, generating electricity. There was a cost to this electricity (as no energy is free) in that the shuttle did loose some orbital velocity due to the "drag" on the shuttle by the cable (that is not specifically correct but is close enough for this).

My thought is, how much electricity could be generated if we strung a cable out behind the moon? Could / would it be enough to power a moon station? At what cost? I would think it would have a negligible effect on the moon's orbit as the mass of the moon is so large. There is a LOT of pent up energy in that mass that could be converted into a lot of electricity.

There are not very efficient ways to get that electricity down to earth but if left on the moon, it would be very useful to power all sorts of moon based equipment and facilities.

How many kilowatts could be generated this way? How long would the cable need to be and what would be the real effects on the moon?

Like I said, just some thoughts that I had on my way back to the office from lunch.

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