Here Is How To Make Oxygen From Moon Dust
Aadhya Khatri - Jan 20, 2020
As Moon dust exists abundantly, scientists have been trying to make use of it, and the most recent idea is to extract oxygen from it
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The surface of our only natural satellite is covered in the regolith, a kind of fine dust that can stick to almost anything, causing lots of technical problems. However, as regolith exists abundantly on the Moon, scientists have been trying to make use of it, from turning it into bricks to melt it with laser and feed to the solution to 3D printers.
Recently, the ESA (short for the European Space Agency) has proposed a plan to turn the dust into oxygen to provide for the astronauts when they are on the Moon, or for producing fuel.
Moon regolith is made up of 40% to 50% of oxygen but since it exists in the form of oxide, the amount is not immediately usable for humans.
The researchers at ESTEC (stand for European Space Research and Technology Centre) has been looking into the possibility of using molten salt electrolysis to extract the oxygen.
Here is how to make oxygen gas from regolith. What they do is to place the regolith in a metal basket that contains molten calcium chloride salt and heat the whole mix up. The next step is to execute the basket to extract the oxygen. A highlight of this technique is that scientists can also harvest metal alloys during the process.
The said technique is developed by Metalysis, a company that is after the metal alloys and considers oxygen the byproduct of the process. Scientists realized that the method could be of great help for the exploration of the Moon.
The researchers must now look for possible applications of the metal alloys for Moon exploration. As there are regional differences on the Moon, scientists could extract different combinations of metals after the process.