Study finds that lunar soil can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and can support life in space

Study finds that lunar soil can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and can support life in space

Lunar soil can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, which increases the likelihood that it can be used to support human life in spacefound a study.

the report Published in the scientific journal joules He found that lunar soil contains active compounds that, along with sunlight and carbon dioxide, can be used to produce water, oxygen, and fuel. life support Base on the moon and enable more space exploration.

“Our strategy provides a scenario for a sustainable and affordable extraterrestrial living environment,” said Yingfang Yao, a materials scientist from Nanjing University in China and lead author of the report.

“If we want to conduct large-scale exploration of the extraterrestrial world, we will need to think of ways to reduce the payload, and that means relying on as little supplies from Earth as possible and using extraterrestrial resources instead.”

Nanjing University team carrying a lunar soil sample

(Yingfang Yao)

Previously, scientists suggested strategies for extraterrestrial Survival but mostly requires energy sources from the Earth. For example, though NASA’s Perseverance on Mars The rover carried an instrument that could use carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere to produce oxygen, and the rover was powered by a nuclear battery.

But this time, Dr. Yao and his colleagues hope to take advantage of the two most abundant resources on the Moon: solar radiation and soil, and reduce what needs to be carried into space.

The team of scientists analyzed lunar soil brought back by the Chinese Chang’E-5 spacecraft and found that it contains materials rich in iron and titanium. Now, they hope to design an “extraterrestrial photosynthesis” system that will use lunar soil to electrolyze water.

The carbon dioxide exhaled by the astronauts will also be collected and combined with hydrogen from the electrolysis of the water. This process will produce hydrocarbons like methane, which can be used as a fuel, according to scientists, helping to sustain human life on the Moon in a cost-effective manner.

The team hopes to test the system in space on future lunar flights by China.

In its summary, the report’s authors said: “In light of the significant efforts made for manned deep space exploration, it is of high technological importance and scientific interest in the development of a lunar life support system for long-term exploration.” “Using the lunar source at the site provides a great opportunity to provide the material basis for life support for lunar habitation and travel.”

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Ayhan Fletcher

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