I got inspired by a recently posted question dealing with an artificial magnetosphere to protect Martian atmosphere during and after terraforming.
Earth's magnetic field does funnel solar particles to the poles, creating the auroras when charged particles hit the atmosphere.
A similar system devised by NASA may be set up on the moon's surface and shield the moon from solar wind. My assumption is that like with earth's aurora, the system will attract charged particles to its poles. Particles with opposite charges moving perpendicular to a magnetic field will be deflected in opposite directions, so positioning the charge-collecting plates correctly is crucial.
My goal is to de-ionize the particles so that they are no longer charged, and some heavy elements like oxygen an nitrogen will bond with each other to create heavier still compounds that are less likely to be stripped away by the solar wind. At the same time, the charged particles hitting the plates (each with an opposite charge) will generate an electric current that keeps that device running. With time, heavy elements protected from solar winds will form an atmosphere and provide raw materials.
Here are my reality-check questions about that setup:
- Is the stream of solar particles a mere jumble of positive and negative charges, or does it have a particular pattern which allows separating charges to generate electricity?
- is the density of solar wind enough for reasonably fast accretion?
- once atmosphere forms, the plates must be raised above the atmosphere to work properly but instead we may switch to solar or nuclear energy. Then we start mining the moon for materials. Does the moon provide enough of them?
- Is gravity sufficient to hold the atmosphere if the solar wind issue has been resolved?