Breathing New Life Into Colonizing the Moon? ESA to Produce Oxygen From Lunar Dust

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Breathing New Life Into Colonizing the Moon? ESA to Produce Oxygen From Lunar Dust

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January 20, 2020                       (rt.com)

• NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together towards “a sustained human presence on the Moon and maybe one day Mars.” Toward that end, the ESA has built a prototype oxygen plant in Noordwijk, Netherlands that extracts breathable oxygen from moon rocks, or “lunar regolith”. The space agency’s goal is to create a functional, portable version of the system, ready for testing by the mid-2020s, that could one day be flown to the Moon .

• “Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for future lunar settlers, both for breathing and in the local production of rocket fuel,” says Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow, a researcher working on the prototype at the European Space Research and Technology Centre.

• It turns out that lunar regolith (moon rock) is made up of 40 to 45 percent oxygen by weight, making it the Moon’s single most abundant element. Lunar rocks are placed in a metal basket with calcium chloride salt and then heated to 950 degrees Celsius (or 1742 degrees Fahrenheit). Then, by passing an electric current through the heated rock it releases the oxygen contained within.

• With this process, the regolith becomes a usable metal alloy which may also have uses beneficial to a future colony on the Moon, such as raw material for lunar-based 3D printers to construct parts for lunar bases or even spacecraft.

 

        Beth Lomax

The European Space Agency (ESA) has fired up its prototype oxygen plant to begin producing the element out of

                a moon rock

simulated moondust, with a view to creating a sustainable breathable air production facility on the Moon.

“Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for future lunar settlers, both for breathing and in the local production of rocket fuel,” says Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow, a researcher working on the prototype at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC).

The current prototype is set up in a lab in Noordwijk in the Netherlands, but the next step is to begin fine-tuning, reducing the operating temperature and streamlining the design to create a portable version of the system that could one day be flown to the Moon.

Based on samples brought back from the Moon over the years, it turns out that lunar regolith (moon rock) is made up of 40 to 45 percent oxygen by weight, making it the satellite’s single most abundant element, which is incredibly fortunate for future human colonization plans.

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Beth Lomax, European Space Agency, European Space Research and Technology Centre, NASA, Noordwijk Netherlands


ExoNews Editor

Duke Brickhouse is a former trial lawyer and entertainment attorney who has refocused his life’s work to exposing the truth of our subjugated planet and to help raise humanity’s collective consciousness at this crucial moment in our planet’s history, in order to break out of the dark and negative false reality that is preventing the natural development of our species, to put our planet on a path of love, light and harmony in preparation for our species’ ascension to a fourth density, and to ultimately take our rightful place in the galactic community.


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