NASA will extract oxygen on the Moon

The US National Aerospace Administration is looking for ways to produce oxygen directly on the Moon. They rely on their experience extracting this gas with a device on board the Perseverance rover. Engineers want to conduct new tests.

NASA will extract oxygen on the Moon. Source: NASA

How to extract oxygen on the Moon

The Moon is almost completely devoid of an atmosphere, and the one that exists contains almost no oxygen. In addition, there is not much water ice on this celestial body from which it can be extracted. Meanwhile, when a station is built on the surface of our moon, oxygen will be needed in large quantities.

And although there is still a lot of time before the creation of the first extraterrestrial settlement under the Artemis program, NASA is already looking for ideas on how to provide it with oxygen. To this end, the Agency’s Office of Technological Support for Space Missions has made a request to various private and public organizations to find an acceptable solution.

All this happens within the framework of the concept of in-situ resource utilization, or ISRU. Until now, everything necessary for human life and the work of mechanisms has been produced on Earth. However, this is justified only for small volumes and a limited time of use. Therefore, if we want to settle in space, we must learn how to make everything from local materials.

Experiments on Mars

In fact, NASA scientists have known for several years that it is possible to extract oxygen on other planets. This was demonstrated by the MOXIE experiment, the equipment for which is mounted on board the Perseverance rover. It produces only 6 grams of oxygen per day — like a small tree. This is quite enough to demonstrate that the technology works.

However, the astronauts of the Artemis mission will have to get it in much larger quantities. And before they try to do that, NASA plans to demonstrate the technology for this as part of a program called Lunar Infrastructure Foundational Technologies (LIFT-1).

Oxygen is not the only thing astronauts will try to extract on the Moon. They must also provide themselves with water, metals and building materials to expand the base. 

According to

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time