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Oxygen production on the Lunar materials processing frontierDuring the pre-conceptual design phase of an initial lunar oxygen processing facility, it is essential to identify and compare the available processes and evaluate them in order to ensure the success of such an endeavor. The focus of this paper is to provide an overview of materials processing to produce lunar oxygen as one part of a given scenario of a developing lunar occupation. More than twenty-five techniques to produce oxygen from lunar materials have been identified. While it is important to continue research on any feasible method, not all methods can be implemented at the initial lunar facility. Hence, it is necessary during the pre-conceptual design phase to evaluate all methods and determine the leading processes for initial focus. Researchers have developed techniques for evaluating the numerous proposed methods in order to suggest which processes would be best to go to the Moon first. As one section in this paper, the recent evaluation procedures that have been presented in the literature are compared and contrasted. In general, the production methods for lunar oxygen fall into four categories: thermochemical, reactive solvent, pyrolytic, and electrochemical. Examples from two of the four categories are described, operating characteristics are contrasted, and terrestrial analogs are presented when possible. In addition to producing oxygen for use as a propellant and for life support, valuable co-products can be derived from some of the processes. This information is also highlighted in the description of a given process.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Altenberg, Barbara H.
(Bechtel National, Inc. San Francisco, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Proceedings of the Lunar Materials Technology Symposium
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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