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China is working on a way to extract oxygen from the moon’s surface

Nan Yang

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China is working on a way to extract oxygen from the moon’s surface
  • Experiments were carried out using a small reactor during one of China’s lunar missions
  • Researcher also unveils design of a solar-powered device to release oxygen from lunar soil
Liu Zhen
Liu Zhen
in Beijing
Published: 12:30pm, 20 Oct, 2021
China and Russia plan to build a research station on the moon. Photo: AFP

China and Russia plan to build a research station on the moon. Photo: AFP

Chinese researchers are working on a way to extract oxygen from lunar soil that they hope will be used to sustain humans on the moon in the future.

A team from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation carried out experiments to do this using a small reactor during a previous lunar mission, which researcher Guo Linli said had “made some progress”. She did not say if it was the Chang’e 5 mission in December.

Guo told a space conference in Shenzhen on Monday that there was a need to find oxygen on the moon “as soon as possible” to support China’s plan to build a research station there.
China and Russia announced in March that they would jointly establish a lunar base, with at least five structures slated for completion by 2035.

Guo on Monday said oxygen could be extracted from lunar soil – which is rich in titanium-iron oxide and ferrous oxide – by heating it to high temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Celsius (4,500 Fahrenheit). That causes the ions to break down and gaseous oxygen to be released.

She said it was a highly efficient method that could produce up to 30kg of oxygen from 100kg of soil, though the high temperatures were a safety concern. As well as oxygen, the process could also produce other useful materials including high-purity silicon – used for semiconductors – and metals such as iron and titanium.

The researchers plan to eventually put this process to the test using a fully automated device, powered by solar panels. According to a design Guo presented at the conference, the solar panels would unfold after it was deployed and robotic arms would be used to collect and filter the lunar soil and load it into the reactor, where the oxygen and other by-products would be extracted.

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returns to Earth with moon samples

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returns to Earth with moon samples

China’s lunar exploration programme – named after the mythical moon goddess Chang’e – is part of Beijing’s ambition to take the lead in a new international space race. Last week it sent a second crew of astronauts to continue work on its new space station.

Recent lunar missions include landing a rover on the far side of the moon in 2019, and in December bringing rock samples back to Earth for the first time in 44 years, making China the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union.

Next, China wants to land astronauts on the moon by 2030, and to set up the joint scientific base with Russia. The China National Space Administration and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos have invited other countries to join the programme, and preliminary exploration missions are expected to begin this year, with construction to start as early as 2025.

Neither China nor Russia has signed the US-led Artemis Accords, established in October last year to set rules of behaviour on the moon – allowing countries or companies to create “safety zones” while extracting resources – in recognition that all parties will be intent on going to the lunar south pole, where water in the form of ice is known to exist.
 

SuvarnaTeja

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China is working on a way to extract oxygen from the moon’s surface
  • Experiments were carried out using a small reactor during one of China’s lunar missions
  • Researcher also unveils design of a solar-powered device to release oxygen from lunar soil
Liu Zhen
Liu Zhen
in Beijing
Published: 12:30pm, 20 Oct, 2021
China and Russia plan to build a research station on the moon. Photo: AFP

China and Russia plan to build a research station on the moon. Photo: AFP

Chinese researchers are working on a way to extract oxygen from lunar soil that they hope will be used to sustain humans on the moon in the future.

A team from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation carried out experiments to do this using a small reactor during a previous lunar mission, which researcher Guo Linli said had “made some progress”. She did not say if it was the Chang’e 5 mission in December.

Guo told a space conference in Shenzhen on Monday that there was a need to find oxygen on the moon “as soon as possible” to support China’s plan to build a research station there.
China and Russia announced in March that they would jointly establish a lunar base, with at least five structures slated for completion by 2035.

Guo on Monday said oxygen could be extracted from lunar soil – which is rich in titanium-iron oxide and ferrous oxide – by heating it to high temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Celsius (4,500 Fahrenheit). That causes the ions to break down and gaseous oxygen to be released.

She said it was a highly efficient method that could produce up to 30kg of oxygen from 100kg of soil, though the high temperatures were a safety concern. As well as oxygen, the process could also produce other useful materials including high-purity silicon – used for semiconductors – and metals such as iron and titanium.

The researchers plan to eventually put this process to the test using a fully automated device, powered by solar panels. According to a design Guo presented at the conference, the solar panels would unfold after it was deployed and robotic arms would be used to collect and filter the lunar soil and load it into the reactor, where the oxygen and other by-products would be extracted.

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returns to Earth with moon samples

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returns to Earth with moon samples

China’s lunar exploration programme – named after the mythical moon goddess Chang’e – is part of Beijing’s ambition to take the lead in a new international space race. Last week it sent a second crew of astronauts to continue work on its new space station.

Recent lunar missions include landing a rover on the far side of the moon in 2019, and in December bringing rock samples back to Earth for the first time in 44 years, making China the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union.

Next, China wants to land astronauts on the moon by 2030, and to set up the joint scientific base with Russia. The China National Space Administration and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos have invited other countries to join the programme, and preliminary exploration missions are expected to begin this year, with construction to start as early as 2025.

Neither China nor Russia has signed the US-led Artemis Accords, established in October last year to set rules of behaviour on the moon – allowing countries or companies to create “safety zones” while extracting resources – in recognition that all parties will be intent on going to the lunar south pole, where water in the form of ice is known to exist.
Colonization of the space has started.
 

Enigma SIG

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One humanity gets a moon-base, the counter starts on how long before we destroy it along with the Earth that depends on it.
 

jamahir

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She said it was a highly efficient method that could produce up to 30kg of oxygen from 100kg of soil
Good luck producing the tons of liquid oxygen required for burning the liquid methane fuel that is the fuel being used or planned to be used in rockets for at the next five years. Does the Moon even have methane ? Mars has more methane than the Moon. So of course does Saturn's moon Titan. As long as chemical propulsion for spacecraft exists the Moon is not worth mass-mining for oxygen and such.

BTW this thread should belong in the 'Technology and Science' section.

One humanity gets a moon-base, the counter starts on how long before we destroy it along with the Earth that depends on it.
Far-seeing space companies like SpaceX and Relativity Space are looking at Mars and not the Moon. :) But it is possible that the Moon will have bases like in Antarctica.
 

FairAndUnbiased

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Good luck producing the tons of liquid oxygen required for burning the liquid methane fuel that is the fuel being used or planned to be used in rockets for at the next five years. Does the Moon even have methane ? Mars has more methane than the Moon. So of course does Saturn's moon Titan. As long as chemical propulsion for spacecraft exists the Moon is not worth mass-mining for oxygen and such.

BTW this thread should belong in the 'Technology and Science' section.



Far-seeing space companies like SpaceX and Relativity Space are looking at Mars and not the Moon. :) But it is possible that the Moon will have bases like in Antarctica.
SpaceX plans for Mars are unphysical.

Btw, you can burn solid fueled rockets from the moon: ice and aluminum, or mixed state aluminum powder and liquid oxygen.
 

jamahir

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SpaceX plans for Mars are unphysical.
Unpractical ? The company plans to send to Earth orbit its SuperHeavy + Starship stack by the end of this year and from what I have read do an umanned orbit flyby of Mars in 2024 and a manned landing on Mars by 2030.

Btw, you can burn solid fueled rockets from the moon: ice and aluminum, or mixed state aluminum powder and liquid oxygen.
1. I have read of ALICE many years ago but why is nobody doing it ? Not that I believe in following the herd but why is SpaceX not doing it since it is part of NASA's return-to-the-Moon program ?

2. Does the Moon have aluminium and does it have oxygen in the necessary amounts to burn the aluminium in a proper rocket ?

3. So you want to have different engined spacecraft that launch off the Moon which work on ALICE ?
 
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FairAndUnbiased

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Unpractical ? The company plans to send to Earth orbit its SuperHeavy + Starship stack by the end of this year and from what I have read do an umanned orbit flyby of Mars in 2024 and a manned landing on Mars by 2030.



1. I have read of ALICE many years ago but why is nobody doing it ? Not that I believe in following the herd but why is SpaceX not doing it since it is part of NASA's return-to-the-Moon program ?

2. Does the Moon have aluminium and does it have oxygen in the necessary amounts to burn the aluminium in a proper rocket ?

3. So you want to have different engined spacecraft that launch off the Moon which work on ALICE ?
Starship has failed pretty much every test and isn't even more cost effective than a modern Space Shuttle would be: a space shuttle doesn't need fuel to land, Starship does. Space Shuttle can land on any runway, Starship can't.

Musk has broken multiple promises before and had even more delays ie CyberTruck, Tesla Semi, Fully Self Driving, Hyperloop, Solar City collapse, huge delays on Crewed Dragon, etc. So he has a bad track record.

1. There's no point doing solid rockets for civilian applications where throw weight is important, but if you care about in situ resource utilization then it's important and you can have a lower throw weight. Solid rockets are for any rocket application where storage time and cost is important ie missiles and time sensitive launch vehicles.

2. Yes the moon has extremely abundant aluminum, oxygen, and most of all, has the energy to refine aluminum oxide back into aluminum and oxygen. Mars is extremely energy poor both chemically (everything has already been oxidized) and in terms of solar (40% lower peak intensity at 600 W/m2, equal day night cycle, dust).

In contrast the moon is energy rich. For example at the lunar poles you can have permanent solar energy with equal intensity as Earth (1000 W/m2) but free of dust, atmosphere and of course day/night.


3. If you have a lunar colonization program you switch to using solid rockets instead of liquid for transport. You sacrifice lower throw weight for in situ resource utilization and cost.

But there's a potential economic case: lunar exports of products and services such as vacuum refined metals, helium, extremely low cost ion implanted silicon wafers, UV/IR/microwave astronomy with giant telescopes, space tourism, solar energy exports, etc. It may not be worth it but there's things you can do to recoup costs.

In contrast the Mars has essentially zero economic value. There is nothing on Mars that's better than Earth. Literally nothing. Just name 1 for me.
 
Last edited:

Char

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China is working on a way to extract oxygen from the moon’s surface
  • Experiments were carried out using a small reactor during one of China’s lunar missions
  • Researcher also unveils design of a solar-powered device to release oxygen from lunar soil
Liu Zhen
Liu Zhen
in Beijing
Published: 12:30pm, 20 Oct, 2021
China and Russia plan to build a research station on the moon. Photo: AFP

China and Russia plan to build a research station on the moon. Photo: AFP

Chinese researchers are working on a way to extract oxygen from lunar soil that they hope will be used to sustain humans on the moon in the future.

A team from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation carried out experiments to do this using a small reactor during a previous lunar mission, which researcher Guo Linli said had “made some progress”. She did not say if it was the Chang’e 5 mission in December.

Guo told a space conference in Shenzhen on Monday that there was a need to find oxygen on the moon “as soon as possible” to support China’s plan to build a research station there.
China and Russia announced in March that they would jointly establish a lunar base, with at least five structures slated for completion by 2035.

Guo on Monday said oxygen could be extracted from lunar soil – which is rich in titanium-iron oxide and ferrous oxide – by heating it to high temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Celsius (4,500 Fahrenheit). That causes the ions to break down and gaseous oxygen to be released.

She said it was a highly efficient method that could produce up to 30kg of oxygen from 100kg of soil, though the high temperatures were a safety concern. As well as oxygen, the process could also produce other useful materials including high-purity silicon – used for semiconductors – and metals such as iron and titanium.

The researchers plan to eventually put this process to the test using a fully automated device, powered by solar panels. According to a design Guo presented at the conference, the solar panels would unfold after it was deployed and robotic arms would be used to collect and filter the lunar soil and load it into the reactor, where the oxygen and other by-products would be extracted.

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returns to Earth with moon samples

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returns to Earth with moon samples

China’s lunar exploration programme – named after the mythical moon goddess Chang’e – is part of Beijing’s ambition to take the lead in a new international space race. Last week it sent a second crew of astronauts to continue work on its new space station.

Recent lunar missions include landing a rover on the far side of the moon in 2019, and in December bringing rock samples back to Earth for the first time in 44 years, making China the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union.

Next, China wants to land astronauts on the moon by 2030, and to set up the joint scientific base with Russia. The China National Space Administration and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos have invited other countries to join the programme, and preliminary exploration missions are expected to begin this year, with construction to start as early as 2025.

Neither China nor Russia has signed the US-led Artemis Accords, established in October last year to set rules of behaviour on the moon – allowing countries or companies to create “safety zones” while extracting resources – in recognition that all parties will be intent on going to the lunar south pole, where water in the form of ice is known to exist.
The lunar base needs to guarantee the lives of two thousand people, which is a huge challenge.
 

jamahir

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Starship has failed pretty much every test
Latest news :
Mariella Moon
·Associate Editor
Fri, October 22, 2021, 1:47 PM

SpaceX has taken a major step towards sending the Starship to orbit. On Thursday night, the private space corporation has conducted the SN20 Starship prototype's first static fire test as part of its preparation for the spacecraft's launch. According to Space, the SN20 is currently outfitted with two Raptor engines: A standard "sea-level" Raptor and a vacuum version designed to operate in space. At 8:16PM Eastern time on Thursday, the company fired the latter. SpaceX then revealed on Twitter that it was the first ever firing of a Raptor vacuum engine integrated onto a Starship.

Around an hour after that, the SN20 lit up yet again in a second static fire test that may have involved both Raptor engines. The SN20 will eventually have six Raptors — three standard and three vacuum — and will be the first prototype to attempt an orbital launch. A Starship launch system is comprised of the Starship spacecraft itself and a massive first-stage booster called the Super Heavy. Both are designed to be reusable and to carry large payloads for trips to low and higher Earth orbits. It can also eventually be used for longer trips to the Moon and to Mars.

SpaceX doesn't have a date for the SN20 test flight yet, but the plan is to launch the vehicle with the Super Heavy known as Booster 4 from the company's Boca Chica site. The booster will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, while the SN20 will continue its journey towards orbit.

a space shuttle doesn't need fuel to land, Starship does. Space Shuttle can land on any runway, Starship can't.
1. Can a space shuttle carry potentially 100 people to Mars like the Starship can ?

2. The Starship can land possibly on a convenient, unprepared flat ground on Mars on its first flight to there. What about the space shuttle ?

3. For quick turnaround operation on Earth, SpaceX is planning to use a catching mechanism to catch a Starship as it descends towards the landing spot.

Musk has broken multiple promises before and had even more delays ie CyberTruck, Tesla Semi, Fully Self Driving, Hyperloop, Solar City collapse, huge delays on Crewed Dragon, etc. So he has a bad track record.
Hyperloop is a silly idea. It requires new infrastructure and does nothing that an aircraft cannot. The best way to travel between cities is aircraft. Passenger trains are an obsolete idea.

Crew Dragon : It already has had two flights, the latest being an all-civilian one for three days in Earth orbit.

CyberTruck : I have been saying constantly on the forum that privately-owned personal transport ( cars and two-wheelers ) must be banned and instead 40-passenger buses and three-passenger taxis should be increased in number and frequency. Now what could be the form of these buses and taxis ? Watch this first flight of an aircraft of the CycloRotor type from the Austrian company CycloTech. Such a method could not only be used for buses and taxis but also for police vehicles and ambulances. This vid speaks of a similar Russian project called CycloCar. Ground vehicles for these things are passe so the CyberTruck is an obsolete thing.

1. There's no point doing solid rockets for civilian applications where throw weight is important, but if you care about in situ resource utilization then it's important and you can have a lower throw weight. Solid rockets are for any rocket application where storage time and cost is important ie missiles and time sensitive launch vehicles.

2. Yes the moon has extremely abundant aluminum, oxygen, and most of all, has the energy to refine aluminum oxide back into aluminum and oxygen.
OK.

In contrast the moon is energy rich. For example at the lunar poles you can have permanent solar energy with equal intensity as Earth (1000 W/m2) but free of dust, atmosphere and of course day/night.

Will go through the wiki.

3. If you have a lunar colonization program you switch to using solid rockets instead of liquid for transport. You sacrifice lower throw weight for in situ resource utilization and cost.
I take it you mean travel between lunar colonies.

But there's a potential economic case: lunar exports of products and services such as vacuum refined metals, helium, extremely low cost ion implanted silicon wafers, UV/IR/microwave astronomy with giant telescopes, space tourism, solar energy exports, etc. It may not be worth it but there's things you can do to recoup costs.
You are right. For some years I have been reading Ben Bova's sci-fi books and some of them are set on the Moon and two of them - Moonbase and Moonwar - have an element of a telescope on the Far side.

In contrast the Mars has essentially zero economic value. There is nothing on Mars that's better than Earth. Literally nothing. Just name 1 for me.
Mars itself has not yet been explored but if you are talking about resource mining then Mars can serve as a convenient place for mining in the asteroid belt - automated mining craft going out and bringing the resources to Mars orbit where factories will process them. And there is the point of exploration of Mars which is an idea in itself.

Besides, like Elon says, Mars is a backup for humanity in case of catastrophe on Earth. For example, remember that asteroid that passed over Russia in 2013 and caused building damage and secondary injuries to humans ? It couldn't be detected until the moment of its atmospheric entry because it came from the direction of the Sun. Think about the even bigger Apophis that is supposed to pass very close to Earth in what 2029 ?
 
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FairAndUnbiased

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Latest news :





1. Can a space shuttle carry potentially 100 people to Mars like the Starship can ?

2. The Starship can land possibly on a convenient, unprepared flat ground on Mars on its first flight to there. What about the space shuttle ?

3. For quick turnaround operation on Earth, SpaceX is planning to use a catching mechanism to catch a Starship as it descends towards the landing spot.



Hyperloop is a silly idea. It requires new infrastructure and does nothing that an aircraft cannot. The best way to travel between cities is aircraft. Passenger trains are an obsolete idea.

Crew Dragon : It already has had two flights, the latest being an all-civilian one for three days in Earth orbit.

CyberTruck : I have been saying constantly on the forum that privately-owned personal transport ( cars and two-wheelers ) must be banned and instead 40-passenger buses and three-passenger taxis should be increased in number and frequency. Now what could be the form of these buses and taxis ? Watch this first flight of an aircraft of the CycloRotor type from the Austrian company CycloTech. Such a method could not only be used for buses and taxis but also for police vehicles and ambulances. This vid speaks of a similar Russian project called CycloCar. Ground vehicles for these things are passe so the CyberTruck is an obsolete thing.



OK.



Will go through the wiki.



I take it you mean travel between lunar colonies.



You are right. For some years I have been reading Ben Bova's sci-fi books and some of them are set on the Moon and two of them - Moonbase and Moonwar - have an element of a telescope on the Far side.



Mars itself has not yet been explored but if you are talking about resource mining then Mars can serve as a convenient place for mining in the asteroid belt - automated mining craft going out and bringing the resources to Mars orbit where factories will process them. And there is the point of exploration of Mars which is an idea in itself.

Besides, like Elon says, Mars is a backup for humanity in case of catastrophe on Earth. For example, remember that asteroid that passed over Russia in 2013 and caused building damage and secondary injuries to humans ? It couldn't be detected until the moment of its atmospheric entry because it came from the direction of the Sun. Think about the even bigger Apophis that is supposed to pass very close to Earth in what 2029 ?
Backup for humanity... Wow... Ok... You realize that Mars has some big problems right?

1. Low pressure
2. Low nitrogen
3. Low gravity
4. Low temperature
5. Low energy (both chemical and solar)
6. High radiation
7. Far away from Earth
8. Materials poor

Mars is not almost habitable. it is essentially not habitable whatsoever. Without constant support from Earth any Mars colony is dead. The same is true for Moon or Venus (floating cities). But at least they won't need as much support while Earth is still here.

Ok, here's the problems that are solved by balloons on Venus:

1. Equal pressure at 50 km up
2. More nitrogen than Mars, can be mined from atmosphere
3. Equal gravity as Earth
4. Equal temperature as Earth at 50 km up
5. Extremely high energy (solar, chemical, geothermal)
6. Zero radiation, Venus atmosphere protects
7. Closer to Earth
8. Materials poor in the atmosphere unfortunately.

So Venus, a hellish planet, is more attractive than Mars in 7/8 ways, and that is just sad.
 

KampfAlwin

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Backup for humanity... Wow... Ok... You realize that Mars has some big problems right?

1. Low pressure
2. Low nitrogen
3. Low gravity
4. Low temperature
5. Low energy (both chemical and solar)
6. High radiation
7. Far away from Earth
8. Materials poor

Mars is not almost habitable. it is essentially not habitable whatsoever. Without constant support from Earth any Mars colony is dead. The same is true for Moon or Venus (floating cities). But at least they won't need as much support while Earth is still here.

Ok, here's the problems that are solved by balloons on Venus:

1. Equal pressure at 50 km up
2. More nitrogen than Mars, can be mined from atmosphere
3. Equal gravity as Earth
4. Equal temperature as Earth at 50 km up
5. Extremely high energy (solar, chemical, geothermal)
6. Zero radiation, Venus atmosphere protects
7. Closer to Earth
8. Materials poor in the atmosphere unfortunately.

So Venus, a hellish planet, is more attractive than Mars in 7/8 ways, and that is just sad.
By his logic, the Moon is even more of a better option as a 'backup' world. Closer to Earth so easy to build cities and less time for transport etc.
 

FairAndUnbiased

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By his logic, the Moon is even more of a better option as a 'backup' world. Closer to Earth so easy to build cities and less time for transport etc.
Seriously, Mars is just a horrible choice. Energy matters. If you have lots of energy from say solar or thermal, you can do chemistry against the thermodynamic favorable direction, like melt rocks back into oxygen and silicon (as shown here)

If you have low energy you need energy just to survive and the less energy you have the more energy you need.
 

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