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Production of O2 on the Moon: A lab-top demonstration of ilmenite reduction with hydrogenEstimates of the costs of transporting materials from Earth to the Moon are around $25,000 per pound. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn to utilize the resources on the Moon to partially offset these 'astronomical' expenses. The production of oxygen on the Moon utilizing indigenous materials is crucial to the establishment and development of an autonomous lunar colony. Besides obvious biologic needs, this lunar liquid oxygen (LLOX) could result in tremendous cost savings on fuel for effective transportation systems, particularly with its export to low-Earth orbit. Over 20 different process concepts were proposed and evaluated for the production of oxygen from lunar materials. Simplicity, low energy, easily attainable feedstock, and low resupply mass are the keywords for the process(es) which will ultimately be selected for the initial production of oxygen on the Moon. One of these schemes, which has received considerable study to date, is the hydrogen reduction of ilmenite. In fact, Carbotek, Inc. (Houston, TX) patented an ilmenite, hydrogen-reduction technique involving a three-stage, fluidized-bed process for the production of LLOX. A lab-top demonstration unit of the basic concepts of this oxygen generation process that was constructed by our group at the University of Tennessee is explained. It utilizes many of the principles which must be addressed in designing an effective production plant for operation on the Moon.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Taylor, Lawrence A.
(Tennessee Univ. Knoxville, TN, United States)
Jerde, Eric A.
(Tennessee Univ. Knoxville, TN, United States)
Mckay, David S.
(Tennessee Univ. Knoxville, TN, United States)
Gibson, Michael A.
(Carbotek, Inc. Houston, TX., United States)
Knudsen, Christian W.
(Carbotek, Inc. Houston, TX., United States)
Kanamori, Hiroshi
(Shimizu Corp. Japan)
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 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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