NASA engineer proposes to build an “oxygen pipeline” on the Moon

(ORDO NEWS) — Establishing a permanent colony on the moon requires many resources, and one of the most important is oxygen.

To provide the future colony with this life-giving gas, a NASA engineer proposed to build a pipeline from the South Pole of the Earth‘s satellite, where large reserves of water ice were discovered.

Unlike our planet, the Moon has an extremely rarefied atmosphere , mostly consisting of unbreathable gases.

However, if humanity plans to build a permanent colony on the Earth’s satellite, it will need to find a way to provide it with oxygen so that the people living there can breathe freely.

Today, the main way to provide astronauts with oxygen is electrolysis : an electric current is passed through water, decomposing it into hydrogen and oxygen.

The same process is possible on the Moon (provided that the colony is provided with energy from a nuclear reactor or solar panels), if there are enough reserves of water ice.

Fortunately, there are such reserves on the Moon: the craters of its South Pole, which are beyond the reach of sunlight, are literally clogged with ice that can provide resources for the entire lunar colony for many years.

But from the point of view of energy efficiency, the future base should be placed in the equatorial zone of the satellite, where there is most of the sunlight. So the oxygen produced at the Pole will have to be delivered to people somehow.

One way to do this is to pump oxygen into large Dewar flasks and transport it to the base using moon rovers.

However, NASA researcher Peter Curreri has proposed an alternative way to transport oxygen via a pipeline.

This will reduce the cost of providing lunar settlements with oxygen, because the pipeline can be built from local materials (for example, there is a lot of aluminum on the Moon), and its operation will not require numerous personnel and a whole detachment of transport lunar rovers.

NASA engineer proposes to build an oxygen pipeline on the Moon 2
The South Pole of the Moon ( left ) is much richer in water ice ( blue ) than the North Pole ( right )

According to information site , the pipeline will last at least 10 years and will be suitable for repair and expansion of the network without serious economic costs.

Over the next nine months, NASA researchers will be engaged in proof of concept and assessment of all risks (for example, the pipeline may be damaged by an accidental meteorite impact), after which, if the viability of the idea is confirmed, scientists will begin the technological development of the project.


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