Chinese scientists have developed a new system to produce usable oxygen and fuel from lunar soil in situ

Last year, an instrument on NASA’s Perseverance rover produced oxygen from the Red Planet’s carbon dioxide atmosphere.

Executed by Moxie — an experiment on the use of in situ oxygen resources on Mars — the strategy certainly sparked hopes of alien survival. Future human missions may take Moxie to Mars instead of carrying oxygen from Earth to survive. However, the Moxie is powered by the ship’s nuclear batteries.

In the near future, we will see the rapid development of the manned space industry, and long-term survival on the moon will be a turning point in manned deep space exploration.

Nanjing UniversityMaterials scientists are exploring whether lunar resources can be used to facilitate human survival exploration on the moon or elsewhere. Researchers in《Joule》A study published in the journal reports that soil on the moon contains active compounds that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and fuel.

There is no air on the Moon.However, it was detected in the lunar atmosphereSeveral elements include argon-40, helium-4, oxygen, methane, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

Although Earth-based spectrometers have detected sodium and potassium, howeverLunar Explorer OrbiterRadioactive isotopes of radon and polonium were discovered. In 2012,Lunar Reconnaissance OrbiterHelium detected.

At the same time, the lunar regolith is made up of Meteorites are constantly impactingformativeWeathering layerThese include meteorites, solar particles, and cosmic ray bombardment. And the exposed surface layer contains solar materials such as noble gases.

Hydrogen in lunar soils and brecciaelementQuite specious. This is due to the injection of the solar wind, which is actually a steady stream of particles that the sun constantly spews outward.

In lunar rocks, oxygen is the most abundant chemical element.

Lunar soil could serve as a catalyst for extraterrestrial photosynthesis to make the oxygen and fuel needed for long-term survival on the moon.

The moon’s in-situ resources are used to support manned missions

Scientists at Nanjing University in China hope to design a system that harnesses lunar soil and solar radiation, the two most abundant resources on the moon.

shouldThe research team analyzed The Chinese Chang’e-5 spacecraftBrought back to the lunar soil, it was found that the sample contained compounds such as iron-rich and titanium-rich substances that could be used as catalysts to use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make oxygen and other products.

Extraterrestrial photosynthesis

The system will use lunar soil electrolysis to extract water from the moon and convert astronauts’ respiratory exhaust gases into oxygen and hydrogen gases powered by sunlight. During the catalyzed hydrogenation of lunar soils, the carbon dioxide exhaled by lunar colonization will also be collected and combined with hydrogen produced by electrolyzing water.

The process produces hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel, such as methane.

According to the researchers, the strategy does not use external energy sources, using only sunlight to produce water, oxygen and fuel — products that could support life on the moon’s base in situ.

The team is currently looking for an opportunity to test the system in space, possibly in conjunction with China’s future manned lunar missions.

While the catalytic efficiency of lunar soils is lower than that available on Earth, the team is testing different methods to improve the design, such as melting lunar soil into nanostructured high-entropy materials, which is a better catalyst. Get more cutting-edge research progress visit:

The components extracted from or from the lunar soil can fundamentally reduce the load and cost of spacecraft, thereby improving the feasibility and durability of human survival, and have high economic benefits, placing high hopes on future manned missions.

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