Looking further afield, Wingo imagines governments commissioning data centers on the moon linked with laser communications that keep data safe in the event of a nuclear war. He even foresees small space fabs for semiconductors.
Silicon-28 could be cost effectively purified on the moon and used to make chips with 400-percent higher thermal conductivity than the silicon mixtures used on Earth, he said. A six-inch wafer fab could make larger chips than are viable on Earth, he said.
In communications, the International Telecommunications Union is now creating a new region for deep space. Unencumbered by Earth-bound regulations it could “really open up what engineers can do with high powered radios,” enabling robot swarms managed by ultrawideband links that offer higher position accuracy than GPS, he said.
Wingo believes solar energy is the most economical power source for lunar operations. He selected what he believes is the best spot to start development — a 500-meter long slice of land near the lunar north pole on a ridge of the Whipple crater that gets more the twice the sunlight as areas near the lunar equator.
He used digital images from U.S. lunar orbiters to find the site. They along with orbiters sent by the EU, India and Japan have “dramatically improved” knowledge of the moon’s terrain.
Skycorp created a concept for a lunar lander with 80 kW fuel cell tanks that could provide more than 700 hours of power for ground operations. The vehicle’s cells could scavenge hydrogen and oxygen on the moon to provide standard 110/220/440 V AC power.
A half dozen of Skycorp's landers could supply power to a lunar outpost using refillable fuel cells.
Wingo estimates five to seven of the power vehicles would be needed to keep an industrial outpost self-sufficient. The lander is designed to ride on a Delta IVH or SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
Studies of the 806 pounds of moon rocks brought back from Apollo missions have helped define the moon’s makeup. For example, Wingo said colonists could create meter-thick basalt roads by applying a microwave emitter to moon rocks.
The finding came from one enterprising engineer who put some moon dust in a standard microwave oven. He found it quickly jumped to extremely high temperatures, effectively sintering the material.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times