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Lunar oxygen - The reduction of glass by hydrogenThe direct reduction of volcanic glass by hydrogen has been proposed as a method of extracting oxygen from the lunar soil. Experiments using lunar simulant glasses reacted with flowing hydrogen gas have demonstrated reduction at temperatures from 1000 to 1200 C. For melted samples ferrous iron was reduced to the metal, which formed large crystals at the expense of the glass. Samples held below the melting point rapidly devitrified, and iron was formed from submicrometer crystals of ilmenite and pyroxene. Weight losses of 3.6 - 4.5 percent, depending on glass composition, were achieved in 3 hours at 1100 C. A lunar oxygen plant operating at this efficiency and utilizing Apollo 17 orange glass as a feedstock could produce 50 kg of oxygen per ton of soil. The processes of reduction and sintering of lunar soil are synergistic, and could be combined to produce both oxygen and construction material at a moon base.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Allen, Carlton C.
(Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co. Houston, TX, United States)
Mckay, David S.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Morris, Richard V.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: In: Engineering, construction, and operations in space - III: Space '92; Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference, Denver, CO, May 31-June 4, 1992. Vol. 1 (A93-41976 17-12)
Subject Category
Ground Support Systems And Facilities (Space)
Accession Number
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