In the ongoing quest for lunar exploration and eventual human settlement, companies and startups are actively contributing ideas for essential facilities on the Moon. U.S.-based Honeybee Robotics has put forth an innovative proposal named LUNARSABER, envisioning a 100-meter-tall (~328-feet) lamp-post-like tower to illuminate the Moon’s outpost surroundings during nighttime. This groundbreaking infrastructure could extend operational hours for both human and robotic missions on the lunar surface.

LUNARSABER, an acronym for Lunar Utility Navigation with Advanced Remote Sensing and Autonomous Beaming for Energy Redistribution, is part of DARPA’s ambitious 10-year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) effort. DARPA’s program seeks integrated concepts that efficiently transport fewer materials to the Moon, encouraging companies to merge various systems into a single compact technology rather than designing separate systems for specific needs. Fourteen companies, including Honeybee Robotics, have presented inventive concepts addressing challenges in lunar transit, mobility, energy, communications, and infrastructure.

Honeybee Robotics aims to contribute to the evolving lunar exploration landscape by developing innovative infrastructure solutions to enhance the functionality and sustainability of future lunar habitats. Kris Zacny, VP of Exploration Systems at Honeybee Robotics, stated, “LUNARSABER can turn night into day in the deepest craters on the Moon,” emphasizing its versatility and deployability.

The proposed deployable tower, resembling a lighthouse, can be swiftly and effortlessly deployed to any desired lunar location. Covered in solar panels, it features gimbaled lights on its peak to illuminate the lunar environment during the extended two-week lunar nights. The tower’s design allows it to host additional payloads and services, with the potential to integrate solar power storage, communications, mesh networking, and Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT).

Vishnu Sanigepalli, Principal Investigator of LUNARSABER on LunA-10, expressed enthusiasm about potential partnerships with commercial and non-commercial customers to accelerate lunar infrastructure. The company plans to scale the tower to over 650 feet (200 meters) above the lunar surface to expand its service range.

Beyond lunar infrastructure, Honeybee Robotics is also actively developing RedWater, a Martian mining technology designed to retrieve water from Mars’ surface by melting it in specific locations. The company’s innovative initiatives underscore its commitment to advancing space exploration and establishing sustainable solutions for future extraterrestrial habitats.

By Impact Lab