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Scientists want to blast lunar soil with lasers to make moon roads

Published Oct 16th, 2023 10:08PM EDT
most detailed image of the Moon ever taken from Earth
Image: NRAO/GBO/Raytheon/NSF/AUI

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Scientists have come up with a unique plan to create moon roads by using concentrated sunlight directed into specific areas using huge lenses. Based on experiments run on Earth, concentrated sunlight can act as a laser, melting the lunar soil into a material that could be used to create roads.

Creating roads would unlock some additional ways to traverse the Moon, especially since NASA and others want to create lunar bases. Having roads would allow for less harsh conditions for rovers and other vehicles to travel across, making it easier to move important materials from one point to another.

The idea is to use the large stores of lunar volcanic rock that cover the Moon. Over the years, this volcanic rock has been hit by cosmic impacts and radiation, turning it into fine moon dust, which poses a huge threat to spacecraft landing on the Moon. But, a laser could turn that dust back into a solid object, allowing us to create tiles we can put together to build moon roads.

The researchers simulated with laser beams of different strengths and sizes to help simulate concentrated sunlight and found that they were able to create and interlock solid surfaces, which could then be connected together even more to create the roads that they would like to put on the Moon.

Having moon roads would be especially useful for transportation around the lunar surface, and researchers published a paper on their findings in the journal Scientific Reports. One of the companies involved in the research, Liquifer, has also created videos showcasing why we need paved roads on the lunar surface and even how they might bring them about.

Considering NASA’s plans to put houses on the Moon by 2040, having paved roads would help situated colonists more easily.

It’s all really intriguing and something that we will need to see in action on the Moon to prove it actually works. However, the experiments here on Earth are providing insight, and with more information and work, we could have a way to pave roads on the Moon when future bases are established, perhaps making the futuristic idea of cities on the Moon more possible than we ever expected.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.