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Prototype plant can churn moondust to produce oxygen

ANI
Published : Jan 21, 2020, 7:04 am IST
Updated : Jan 21, 2020, 7:06 am IST

ESA researchers aim to build a version of the oxygen-producing system that could be taken to the Moon.

Oxygen and metal from lunar regolith. (Photo: University of Glasgow)
 Oxygen and metal from lunar regolith. (Photo: University of Glasgow)

The European Space Agency (ESA) has built a new oxygen plant that could help lunar astronauts produce breathable air in the low gravity region.

It process called molten salt electrolysis with simulated moondust, involves heating regolith placed in a metal basket with molten calcium chloride to 950°C and then passing a current through it to extract oxygen. The process also converts the regolith into usable metal alloys, the agency notes on the official website.

ESA researchers aim to build a version of the oxygen-producing system that could be taken to the Moon and operated there to support not only breathing but also local production of rocket fuel.

Tags: esa, european space agency, moondust, oxygen