ESA Scientists Found a Way to Produce Oxygen From Moon DustVijayan Sankar (Author) Published Date : Jan 20, 2020 13:07 IST
Colonizing the moon soon be possible by producing oxygen from its dust: European Space Agency scientists have found a way for future human living in the moon by creating oxygen from its dust. It may also help to fuel the rockets from the moon. The moon dust known as regolith contains 40 to 50 % oxygen, but it is in the form of oxides. All previous attempts until now to produce oxygen from it failed. But with the new technique called molten salt electrolysis, it is possible to provide oxygen from the moon's dust now.
Chemist Beth Lomax and his colleagues published a research paper on producing oxygen from the moon dust in the journal Planetary and Space Science. Lomax explained that they had skipped the chemical reduction of iron oxides using hydrogen to produce water. It was initially tried by a company called Metalysis, which wanted to create metal alloys and considered oxygen as only the byproduct.
But Lomax with the new molten salt electrolysis technique of extracting oxygen from the moon dust. It is a prototype system that mixes simulated moon regolith with molten calcium chloride salt. Then the scientists heat the mixture to 950 degrees Celsius and run a current through it to produce oxygen. Also, the other useful byproduct is metal alloys.
Though the molten salt electrolysis is only tried on the simulated mixture of the moon dust, it has to be tried with the real dirt soon. With its results, soon, there may be human colonies in the moon, and even Mars, confirms ESA and NASA scientists.
ESA Scientists Found a Way to Produce Oxygen From Moon Dust