For scientists, it is in the regolith that covers the surface of our satellite.
John Grant, Professor of Soil Science at Southern Cross University (Australia), Publishing A Article in the magazine Conversation In it, he explains how the lunar soil has huge reserves of minerals rich in oxygen, despite the fact that the gas is not present in the atmosphere in adequate quantities to support plant and animal life. Earth, in fact, rich in minerals Such as oxides of silicon, aluminum, iron and magnesium. These are substances that all contain oxygen, but of course not in a gaseous form. For Grant, the process of extracting oxygen from these minerals is simple.”But there is a problem: it consumes a lot of energy“. “To be sustainable, it must be powered by solar energy or other energy sources available on the moon‘ adds the scientist.
Lunar regolith (a group of minerals that make up the upper rocky layer) can be separated from oxygen by electrolysis, a process commonly used on Earth in aluminum manufacturing. In this case, Grant points out, oxygen is produced as a byproduct, while “On the moon it would be the main product and the aluminum (or any other metal) extracted would be a useful by-product anyway.“This large-scale process requires heavy industrial equipment to convert solid metal oxide into its liquid form by using heat or Combine them with solvents or electrolytes. “We have the technology to do this on Earth, but getting the Hulk to the Moon and generating enough power to make it work will be a huge challenge‘, the world acknowledges that asserts that Al-Qaeda From our natural satellite it can carry enough oxygen that millions of people live for 100,000 years. Grant’s article comes on the heels of an agreement that NASA and the Australian Space Agency signed last October to send a spacecraft to the moon with the goal of collecting rocks and trying to extract “breathable” oxygen from them. On the other hand, earlier this year, the company Space Applications Services (based in Belgium) announced the restriction of three experimental reactors to improve the process of oxygen production through electrolysis. This new technology could be sent to the Moon in 2025, as part of the European Space Agency’s In-Situ Resource Use (ISRU) mission.