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Japan’s SELENE Disproves Concept of ‘Peak of Eternal Light’ on the Moon March 5, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Japan, Kaguya, Malapert, Peak of Eternal Light, Polar ice, Shackleton, solar power.

In what seems to be a little-noticed but highly important development for lunar base planning, Japan‘s SELENE (also known as Kaguya) lunar orbiter last month determined that the concept of a ‘Peak of Eternal Light‘ at either of the lunar poles does not exist.

The possibility of a Peak of Eternal Light at one of several locations, including the rim of Shackleton Crater or on Malapert (both at the South Pole), made those locations prime candidates for early lunar bases. Having eternal sunlight is, clearly, an advantage for any outpost relying largely on solar power :) .

Some of these points at the lunar poles do have as much as 89% illumination, though, so they remain very strong locations as far as near-constant solar power.

The pessimists of the universe, though, will rejoice in knowing that permanent shadow was confirmed to exist–leading to potential water ice.

The JAXA team’s findings were published in the U.S. journal of Geophysics last month.



1. Japan To Have Bipedal Robots on the Moon by 2020? « Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration - April 3, 2009

[…] increasing as of late–their Kaguya orbiter has made significant findings (including recently disproving the concept of a lunar “peak of eternal light”), they plan on having an astronaut on the moon by 2030, and the Japan Space Elevator Association […]

2. Orbiting Atlas #1!: Sinus Iridum (The Bay of Rainbows) « Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration - December 15, 2009

[…] Chang’e-3, will be Sinus Iridum. NASA and private enterprise have focused more on the solar-soaked South Pole and helium-3-happy Mare Tranquillitatis, so Sinus Iridum is an interesting choice, and something of […]

3. Orbiting Atlas #2: Cabeus « Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration - December 21, 2009

[…] crater enveloped in deep shadow, about 80 miles north of Shackleton and the lunar South Pole (and ~1,000 miles south of the nearest Mare), Cabeus  had drawn a lot of […]

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