According to researchers, the oxygen bound in the lunar regolith could keep eight billion people alive for the foreseeable future.
The conditions for maintaining bases on the moon are better than one might think. Regolit, the dust that covers the surface, consists of 45 percent oxygen – and according to Southern Cross University the material from the moon’s top ten meters is enough to keep eight billion people alive for 100,000 years.
Oxygen bound in particles
One cubic meter of regolith contains 630 kg of oxygen, which according to NASA’s calculation would supply a human being for just over two years. The oxygen is bound in particles of, among other things, silicon, aluminum and magnesium oxide. Electrolysis can be used to break the bond.
However, the first step will be to convert metal oxides to liquid form, and the Australian university states that this would require heavy industrial equipment. However, there are those who are already working on the problem.
During the summer it called for European Space Agency companies that can produce just this equipment, in a compact format. Among other things, ESA has selected Belgian Space Applications Services which is now planning for a series of experimental reactors, on its way to an end product that can extract oxygen from regolith. The startup company aims to have its equipment on the moon by 2025.
The electrolysis is in itself very energy-intensive and would require a very large photovoltaic system or some other solution to convert the solar energy into electricity.
Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.
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