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Vacuum Pyrolysis and Related ISRU TechniquesA number of ISRU-related techniques have been developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The focus of the team has been on development of the vacuum pyrolysis technique for the production of oxygen from the lunar regolith. However, a number of related techniques have also been developed, including solar concentration, solar heating of regolith, resistive heating of regolith, sintering, regolith boiling, process modeling, parts manufacturing, and instrumentation development. An initial prototype system was developed to vaporize regolith simulants using a approx. l square meter Fresnel lens. This system was successfully used to vaporize quantities of approx. lg, and both mass spectroscopy of the gasses produced and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of the slag were done to show that oxygen was produced. Subsequent tests have demonstrated the use of a larger system With a 3.8m diameter reflective mirror to vaporize the regolith. These results and modeling of the vacuum pyrolysis reaction have indicated that the vaporization of the oxides in the regolith will occur at lower temperature for stronger vacuums. The chemical modeling was validated by testing of a resistive heating system that vaporized quantities of approx. 10g of MLS-1A. This system was also used to demonstrate the sintering of regolith simulants at reduced temperatures in high vacuum. This reduction in the required temperature prompted the development of a small-scale resistive heating system for application as a scientific instrument as well as a proof-of principle experiment for oxygen production.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cardiff, Eric H.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Pomeroy, Brian R.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Banks, Ian S.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Benz, Alexis
(Michigan Univ. Ann Arbor, MI, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2007
Subject Category
Inorganic, Organic And Physical Chemistry
Meeting Information
Meeting: Space Technology and Applications International Forum
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Country: United States
Start Date: February 15, 2007
End Date: February 17, 2007
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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