Scientists are exploring the possibility of using lunar soil to produce oxygen and fuel on the moon

(ORDO NEWS) — Creating a lunar settlement has been a major goal for scientists since the first manned flight to the moon. However, fuel and oxygen supply constraints limit our ability to explore the moon.

The production of hydrocarbon fuels and oxygen using carbon dioxide and water as feedstock is feasible on Earth and is recognized as a potential strategy for ET simulations.

The researchers found that the surface of the moon has significant reserves of carbon dioxide and water, further confirming the feasibility of this idea.

A joint research team of the University of Science and Technology of China, Nanjing University and the China Academy of Space Technology has found that lunar soil brought back by the Chang’e-5 mission can be used as a catalyst for the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to produce fuel and oxygen.

“Using the resources of the lunar soil to obtain fuel and oxygen is vital for humans when carrying out missions to exploit the moon.

Considering that human resources at extraterrestrial sites are limited, we proposed using a robotic system to perform the entire installation of the CO2 electrocatalytic conversion system,” says Yuji Xiong, one of the lead authors of the study.

The lunar soil used in this study was provided by the National Space Administration of China (CNSA) (sample number: CE5C0400). This is the first lunar soil delivered to Earth since the Soviet Union’s Luna-24 mission in 1976.

The lunar soil was saturated with Cu compounds and used for electrocatalytic CO2 conversion, demonstrating significant methane production.

During the experiment, scientists found that the rate of formation of CH4 can reach 0.8 ml / min, and the rate of oxygen formation – 2.3 ml / min at 600 mA / cm2.

Given the limited workforce at extraterrestrial sites, it would be more convenient to control electrocatalytic CO2 conversion using a robotic system.

In this regard, the research team has tried to simplify the setup of the electrocatalytic CO2 conversion system to meet the operational requirements of the robotic system.

The robotic system developed by them should control the entire process from catalyst preparation to adjustment of the electrocatalytic system.


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