MarkWhittington writes: A story in Popular Science suggested that NASA is mulling a plan to “terraform” part of the moon. The term is more than a little misleading, as it implies making a portion of the moon livable for humans. The actual plan, being funded by the space agency as part of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is exciting nevertheless. The idea is to deploy reflectors around the rim of the Shackleton Crater, a region at the moon’s South Pole where ice is thought to exist in permanent shadows. The reflectors would focus light onto select areas to provide power for robotic explorers. In this manner, the robots would not have to be equipped with protection against the cold inside the crater and would not have to be powered by plutonium-fueled RTGs. Temperatures inside the shadowed regions of Shackleton plunge to minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
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