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Comparison of Direct Solar Energy to Resistance Heating for Carbothermal Reduction of RegolithA comparison of two methods of delivering thermal energy to regolith for the carbo thermal reduction process has been performed. The comparison concludes that electrical resistance heating is superior to direct solar energy via solar concentrators for the following reasons: (1) the resistance heating method can process approximately 12 times as much regolith using the same amount of thermal energy as the direct solar energy method because of superior thermal insulation; (2) the resistance heating method is more adaptable to nearer-term robotic exploration precursor missions because it does not require a solar concentrator system; (3) crucible-based methods are more easily adapted to separation of iron metal and glass by-products than direct solar energy because the melt can be poured directly after processing instead of being remelted; and (4) even with projected improvements in the mass of solar concentrators, projected photovoltaic system masses are expected to be even lower.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Muscatello, Anthony C.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Gustafson, Robert J.
(Orbital Technologies Corp. Madison, WI, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 4, 2011
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition
Location: Orlando, FL
Country: United States
Start Date: January 4, 2011
End Date: January 7, 2011
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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