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ESA Opens Oxygen Plant – Making Air Out of Moondust

19 Jan 2020, 15:08 UTC
ESA Opens Oxygen Plant – Making Air Out of Moondust
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ESA research fellow Alexandre Meurisse and Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow preparing to make oxygen and metal out of simulated moondust inside ESA’s Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory. (Credit: ESA–A. Conigili)

ESA’s technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A prototype oxygen plant has been set up in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory of the European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, based in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.

“Having our own facility allows us to focus on oxygen production, measuring it with a mass spectrometer as it is extracted from the regolith simulant,” Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow, whose PhD work is being supported through ESA’s Networking and Partnering Initiative, harnessing advanced academic research for space applications.

On the left side of this before and after image is a pile of simulated lunar soil, or regolith; on the right is the same pile after essentially all the oxygen has been extracted from it, leaving a mixture of metal alloys. (Credit: Beth Lomax – University of Glasgow)

“Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for ...

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