Aerospace mastermind Thorsten Denk has designed and built a machine that can make not make sense and oxygen from the lunar regolith.
Powered by a thermal solar reactor, the legend pleasure is designed to make enough oxygen and water to support six to eight astronauts.
Denk has worked on the scheme for ten years at Spain’s Plataforma Solar de Almeria (CIEMAT) and completed a six-month attempt of the machine this year.
Denk said: “From the beginning, being were thinking this probably has to be done with a solar furnace because on the Moon, there is not utter much to heat a system that you can use; photovoltaics with electricity or a atomic reactor or concentrated solar radiation.
“After the Apollo missions, scientists had a lot of recommendations of how to make oxygen on the Moon, because every material that you put over a produce from Earth costs money.
“For every kilogram of payload, you difficulty hundreds of kilograms of fuel.”
“After the Apollo missions, scientists had a lot of hypotheses of how to make oxygen on the Moon, because every material that you deliver from Earth costs money.»
The solar reactor featured in the new appliance is designed to chemically split water from lunar soil, and electrolysis could then split the H2O (the best quality) into oxygen and hydrogen.
Denk further added: “Mine is the true size you would build on the Moon to make oxygen for a crew of six or eight, so there’s no upscaling needed later.
“I acquire also extended my use of fluidised beds.
“It’s not only the reactor itself, but it is also the fund lines and the removal pipe for the particles.”
Using ilmenite (TiO3), an iron oxide create in the ‘dark’ areas of the Moon, Denk demonstrated that its new device could introduce 700g of water in one hour.
With additional funding, Denk foresees to show production of 2.5kg of oxygen in four hours using electrolysis. The development is also expected to require around 10kW of electricity.
Image: Solar reactor. Photo: politesse of Thorsten Denk Presentation via SolarPACES.