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  1. #1
    Seb's Avatar
    Seb Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks



    One great obstacle to moon colonisation is that there is no water/oxygen
    easily available on-site (water especially troublesome). Given abundant
    solar energy available on the moon, is it practical to recover oxygen
    from moon rocks (which I assume are all oxides of various sorts)? That
    also means that instead of bringing water only much lighter, more
    compressible (if volatile) hydrogen is needed, with a bit of energy as a
    biproduct when made into water. And you get iron metal, from splitting
    the oxides.

    Seb (knows only GCSE chemistry)

  2. #2
    Ed's Avatar
    Ed Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks


    "Seb" <sebastien.chuti@neuf.com> wrote:


    Depends how you define practical. Lunar soil contains 45% Oxygen by
    weight. Using Hydrogen and heating the soil (molten silicate electrolysis)
    to release the Oxygen is the simplest method and would release about
    10% of the Oxygen. You could probably extract more with the use of
    chlorine or flourine processes.





  3. #3
    Grimble Gromble's Avatar
    Grimble Gromble Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    "Ed" <@> wrote in message
    news:41a62009$0$10974$afc38c87@news.ukonline.co.uk ...

    Why bother with chemistry? Bring on the mass spectrometer.
    Grim



  4. #4
    Jonathan Silverlight's Avatar
    Jonathan Silverlight Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    In message <CPspd.2300$Jq5.1435@newsfe1-win.ntli.net>, Grimble Gromble
    <grimble.gromble@virgin.net> writes
    Have you been reading Joe Haldeman's stories? A mass spectrometer is a
    laboratory instrument for separating atoms and molecules almost one by
    one. You aren't going to build Moonbase with it.
    But I wonder if it would be more efficient to ship water and electrolyse
    it, rather than liquid hydrogen which is very light and cryogenic.
    --
    What have they got to hide? Release the ESA Beagle 2 report.
    Remove spam and invalid from address to reply.

  5. #5
    Martin Brown's Avatar
    Martin Brown Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    Jonathan Silverlight wrote:


    There are some indications of traces of water ice near the poles.

    Given abundant

    Oxygen doesn't let go of metals very easily.


    Energetics - and mechanical engineering problems. Designed for high beam
    current they are usually called Calutrons - see for example:

    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/...1/81fepi2.html

    The power requirements are so astronomical that they were a give away of
    Iraqs nuclear ambitions. You might be able to cast a few garden gnomes
    out of all the material ever produced by mass spectrometry isotopic
    enrichment btu that is all. It is incredibly expensive to operate.

    Prospecting for water on the moon near the poles is a better bet.

    If they do ever set up home what's the betting on "Moonbase Alpha" ?

    Regards,
    Martin Brown

  6. #6
    Seb's Avatar
    Seb Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    Seb wrote:

    My newsreader's missing most replies to the thread...
    By "practical" I mean that recovering oxygen from rocks will be cheaper
    than shipping it in at $ thousands/kg. Similarly water is expensive to
    ship because of its bulk (cannot be compressed like gases). So if
    there's oxygen on the moon you only need to bring the hydrogen (unless
    transporting hydrogen is also very problematic).
    All of which would be irrelevant if we do find significant amounts of
    ice in the poles. But it's been suggested that solar energy is least
    plentiful at the poles?

    Seb

  7. #7
    Jonathan Silverlight's Avatar
    Jonathan Silverlight Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    In message <co6uom$i1p$1@news7.svr.pol.co.uk>, Martin Brown
    <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> writes

    I deliberately omitted the A-word :-)

    Thanks for snipping my somewhat rude reply - and reminding me about
    calutrons. But I've had an idea which is even further out - literally.
    In a hundred years or so, how practical will it be to mine the gas
    giants, such as Uranus? All the hydrogen you could use, and helium-3 as
    well. At one time mining Titan was the dream, but we now know its
    atmosphere is mostly nitrogen.

  8. #8
    vonroach's Avatar
    vonroach Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 16:15:50 +0100, Seb <sebastien.chuti@neuf.com>
    wrote:


    life is major source of O2 and CO2 on earth. Biggest component of the
    atmospheres is N. So all of these have to come from somewhere.

  9. #9
    Martin Brown's Avatar
    Martin Brown Guest

    Default oxygen recovery from moon rocks

    Jonathan Silverlight wrote:


    [snip]

    I don't know about going there for it, but extracting He3 from the lunar
    regolith is certainly attractive. One of the best low mass fusion
    reactions for energy release is
    He3 + He3 -> He4 + 2H1 + 12.8MeV
    pity that it is a bit unwilling to react taking ~1000000 years at
    3x10^7K followed by
    D + H -> He3 + 5.5MeV
    which is much easier taking ~6s same conditions

    We would probably need a working fusion reactor to live on the moon.
    Abundant energy would allow real useful work to be done up there.
    Otherwise it would be like subsistence farming in a remote tin can.

    Li6 is also sought after as a fusion nuclear fuel/reaction initiator.
    You can no longer trust laboratory grade lithium reagents to have
    natural abundance. This gets moaned about from time to time.

    Regards,
    Martin Brown

 

 

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