In the atmosphere of our moon, there is not enough oxygen to breathe. But researchers believe that the top layer of the satellite’s surface, made up of the famous regolith, could contain enough of this element necessary for human life to allow colonization. As long as you can extract it!
A big step forward. Then a small step back. This is the cadence given several months ago to the reverberation of the waltz on our return to the moon. Even if the main goal remains: to build a long-term manned base on our natural satellite. While NASA just postponed the deadline for its file China and Russia plan to start from 2026. Before that, it will be necessary to ensure the availability of some vital resources. Water of course. but also .
I remember that weak. Mainly composed of , from And’ . Whereas, what man needs is above all else.. oxygen. And indeed, some are thinking of solutions for its on-site production. European Space Agency (ESA) ), for example, but also the Australian Space Agency and NASA are developing technologies capable of extracting The moon, that layer of rocks, pebbles, stones or fine dust that covers the surface of the moon.we’ve got
Because on our satellite, we find a lot ofcontaining oxygen: or iron oxides or , for example. Found in intact original form. It has not been changed, as it is on our earth, by living things which, in a few million years, would have transformed it into suitable soil.
Extracting oxygen by electrolysis
So there will be, on the Moon, a huge reserve of oxygen. How wonderful? Ok, The regolith will consist of about 45% oxygen. But if we look only at the surface – because it’s still hard to tell what’s in the deep rocks – each cubic meter of regolith contains on average 1.4 tons of minerals. or the equivalent of 630 oxygen. It is enough to allow a person to breathe for about two years.
Assuming a regolith depth of ten metres, the Moon could provide eight billion human settlers with enough oxygen to live about 100,000 years. A number that can be tempered by the efficiency with which our engineers can extract oxygen from the regolith. Because to recover this precious item, it will be necessary to muster a lot ofTo break the close relationships he tends to form. via , for example.
On Earth, enough oxygen that we breathe, as a byproduct of electrolysis. On the moon, it will become its main product. The researchers plan to make the process sustainable by relying on, especially. However, it does not seem so simple. Because before conducting electrolysis, it found metal oxides on the moon in the form It can be converted to liquid form. Starting from , among other things. This is done on the ground. But getting all the useful equipment to the moon and getting it to work there is still a challenge today.
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