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Fri Jun 11, 2021, 07:24 PM

Physicists dream big with an idea for a particle collider on the moon

A lunar particle accelerator could reach 1,000 times the energy of Earth’s largest collider

By Emily Conover

JUNE 10, 2021 AT 6:00 AM

If you could peer into a particle physicist’s daydream, you might spy a vision of a giant lunar particle accelerator. Now, researchers have calculated what such an enormous, hypothetical machine could achieve.

A particle collider encircling the moon could reach an energy of 14 quadrillion electron volts, physicists report June 6 at arXiv.org. That’s about 1,000 times the energy of the world’s biggest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, at CERN near Geneva.

It’s not an idea anyone expects will become reality anytime soon, says particle physicist James Beacham of Duke University. Instead, he and physicist Frank Zimmermann of CERN considered the possibility “primarily for fun.” But physicists of future generations could potentially build a collider on the moon, Beacham says.

Such a fantastical machine would probably be buried under the moon’s surface to avoid wild temperature swings, the researchers say, and could be powered by a ring of solar panels around the moon.

More:
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/moon-particle-collider-accelerator-physics

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Reply Physicists dream big with an idea for a particle collider on the moon (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 11 OP
brush Jun 11 #1
Metaphorical Jun 11 #2
eppur_se_muova Jun 11 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 07:40 PM

1. Why that could be powerful enough to change the moon's orbit...

like Gohmert wants.

But seriously, would solar power generate enough energy to sustain life there, with the right infrastructure to generate water and oxygen?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 08:27 PM

2. Easily

One of the biggest obstacles to solar power on Earth is the fact that the atmosphere scatters a significant amount of sunlight, especially in the more energetic part of the spectrum. If you build an array of solar panel farms at 120 degree intervals, you would get the entire spectrum of sunlight and you would get it continuously, as there would be an array pointing at the sun at all times (you could also go with four or six farms at 90 or 60 degrees of arc if you wanted sufficient coverage). The biggest problem would actually be receiving too much energy, as the Moon has no magnetic fields to create shielding Van Allen belts.

Indeed, one interesting possibility would be to create such an array then have a set of microwave transmitters for beaming the energy back to earth. Since the Moon is tidally locked, any transmission array would always point to the same location without needing to be adjusted, something that's not necessarily true for space-based arrays. The potential for mayhem from a satellite transmitter has long been one of the reasons why orbital-based microwave transmitters generally haven't been pursued.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 10:50 PM

3. Next step after that: beam-bending magnets in synchronous orbits ...

... with beams traveling in the vacuum of space over a distance of an orbital circumference.

Pretty ambitious, but more within reach than a Ringworld.

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