Oxygen on Moon? Nasa seeks major breakthrough
NASA scientists have been able to get oxygen from regolith, which is the soil on the moon. This is a big step forward in space research. It would let space scientists use the Moon’s surface as a starting point for their future work.
A team from the Johnson Space Centre in Houston did the process. Using a high-powered laser to start a carbothermal reaction, they used a simulation of lunar soil to remove oxygen, which is needed for life, from the soil. For the first time ever, air was taken away from a space that was under a vacuum.
The Carbothermal Reduction Demonstration (CaRD) project could be used to make oxygen gas for breathing and propellers for moving things.
Anastasia Ford, a NASA engineer, said, “Our team showed that the CaRD reactor would work on the moon’s surface and extract oxygen.”
Ford also said, “This is a big step towards developing the architecture to build sustainable human bases on other planets.”
Nasa has been making plans for a long time to make the moon its base of operations for space research. The goal of the Artemis project is to send people to the moon again in 2025, after 50 years.
The last time a person walked on the moon was in 1972.
The latest success of the oxygen extraction experiment puts it at readiness level six, which means it is ready to be tested in real space.
Aaron Paz, a senior engineer at NASA, said that “the technology has the potential to produce several times its own weight in oxygen per year on the lunar surface.” This will make it possible for people to live and work on the moon for a long time and for an economy to grow there.
Astronauts Jeremy Hansen, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Christina Hammock Koch (from left to right) celebrate being chosen for the Artemis II mission, which will go around the Moon, at a news conference held by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on April 3, 2023, at the Nasa Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. — AFP
(L-R) Astronauts Jeremy Hansen, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Christina Hammock Koch celebrate being chosen for the Artemis II mission that will go around the Moon at a news conference held by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on April 3, 2023, at the Nasa Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. — AFP
Nasa named the four astronauts who will go to the moon on the Artemis II mission earlier in April. This is the first crewed trip to the moon for the programme.
Nasa has already finished the test flight of the Orion spacecraft, which went to the Moon and came back to Earth in November 2022. This was an unmanned journey.