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Terrestrial case studies of ilmenite exploration and lunar implicationsThe Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) includes space resource utilization as one of the four architectures to achieve U.S. goals in space. Space resource utilization will make use of lunar resources to support long term activities on the lunar surface. Lunar ilmenite and regolith are two of the materials that can be mined and processed for lunar oxygen production. During this investigation, several sources were reviewed to assess terrestrial exploration methods used for locating ilmenite resources. These sources included published reports on terrestrial ilmenite exploration methods, analytical methods, case histories, chemical and physical properties, and associations with other minerals. Using a terrestrial analog and considering the differences between terrestrial and lunar environmental conditions, rocks, and minerals, exploration methods and analytical instruments can be recommended for a lunar orbiter and lander for assessing lunar resources. Twelve terrestrial case histories were reviewed to gain insight into ilmenite exploration on the Moon. All exploration case histories follow the same pattern. They begin with a model, use remote geophysical techniques, define regional sampling sites from the model and geophysics, narrow down the area of exploration based on the preceding work, collect more samples and cores, and perform laboratory analyses of samples. An important part of this process is the collection of samples to determine the correctness of the model. Surface and core samples are collected in areas expected to contain both high and low concentration of the commodity to test the model. After samples are analyzed and the area of mineralization is defined, reserves are calculated to determine the cost/benefit ratio, the necessary capacity of the processing plant, and the life of the mine. The exploration methods used for locating terrestrial ilmenite resources are reviewed with respect to the petrology, chemistry, and mineral associations of the terrestrial and lunar environments.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Feldman, S. C.
(Bechtel Corp. San Francisco, CA, United States)
Franklin, H. A.
(Bechtel Corp. San Francisco, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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