Blue Origin Says It Can Make Solar Panels Out Of Moon Dust

One of the biggest challenges for humanity as we move further out into the solar system will be learning to “Live off the land” rather than lugging materials with us.

Blue Origin now says it’s made major progress in that direction by making solar panels out of moon dust.

Blue Origin, the space technology company founded by Jeff Bezos, says it’s closer to solving this problem after demonstrating that it can make solar cells out of simulated moon dust.

The fine dust found on the surface of the moon, known as regolith, contains all of the key ingredients required for making solar panels, including silicon, iron, magnesium, and aluminum.

Moon dust isn’t easy to come by, so to develop their approach the researchers first had to make their own.

Crucially, Blue Origin’s approach produces silicon with 99.99 percent purity, which is critical if it is to be used in solar panels.

That’s still likely to be much more weight-efficient than shipping hundreds of solar panels from Earth, though.