An artist's view of the Roxy project, which aims to transform lunar dust into oxygen.
Many projects to return to the Moon are launched internationally.
To install a lunar base, scientists are thinking about the best way to use the raw material present on site: regolith.
Airbus Defense & Space and international scientists have developed ROXY, a process that extracts oxygen and metals.
How to produce oxygen for future astronauts who will go to the Moon?
While NASA has just announced that on our natural satellite the water was more abundant and accessible than we thought, Airbus Defense and Space claims to have made a big step for manned space exploration.
At the head of an international team of scientists from Dresden, Boston and Seville, its space engineers have succeeded in demonstrating the production of oxygen and metals from lunar dust simulated in the laboratory.
For two years, all these researchers have been working on the best way to get the best out of regolith, available in quantity on the Moon, and which contains 40 to 45% oxygen.
While some are considering using it as a raw material to construct buildings, thanks to the invention of Airbus called ROXY (Regolith to OXYgen and Metals Conversion), oxygen could be extracted from it.
ROXY turns 🌖 #moon dust into oxygen.
@AirbusSpace and partners have successfully demonstrated the production of oxygen and metals from simulated lunar dust (regolith) with the # Airbus-invented process named ROXY.
@FraunhoferIFAM @BU_Tweets More info 👉🏻 https://t.co/pVlJdDSp7W pic.twitter.com/lTCGIYJA5E
- Ralph Heinrich (@ralph_heinrich) October 27, 2020
What arouse great hopes and make the idea of long stays on the lunar soil even more possible.
"This feat is a big step forward, which brings us closer to the Grail: the lasting presence on the Moon", said Jean-Marc Nasr, director of Airbus Space Systems in a press release.
Application on Earth too
This small installation was designed to be compact and therefore easily transportable to the Moon.
According to Airbus, it "does not require any additional materials or consumables from Earth - except for the ROXY reactor itself."
Beyond oxygen, this system should make it possible to make other “made in moon” products such as metals, certain alloys and, combined with the ice present on the moon, “rocket fuel from powder. metallic ROXY ”.
But far from being satisfied with having its eyes riveted on space, the aerospace company also has its feet riveted on Earth.
Thanks to its technology, ROXY could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from metal production.
Today, steel production represents around 5% of total CO2 emissions in the world, due to processes emitting perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
“As ROXY is essentially an emission-free process, these environmental impacts could be reduced, which would contribute significantly to the United Nations sustainability goals - another example of how space technologies can improve life on Earth,” concludes Airbus.
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