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Regolith found on lunar soil is key to future settlements on the Moon

Regolith found on lunar soil is key to future settlements on the Moon

According to a study conducted by the University of Waterloo in Canada, the dust that forms the moon’s soil is known as The rich, can produce thermal energy. there research Born for a purpose Addressing practical issues related to settlement and building a base on the Moon. The main problem is obtaining the necessary supplies, as the Moon is hostile to life and does not have the same resources as Earth.

Transporting materials to the Moon would be slow and expensive, considering the trip takes about three days. The large-scale operations to establish a lunar settlement or base would be unprecedented. It would therefore be ideal to use as many local materials as possibleMany studies have also indicated the use of resources on the site (Believes).

Waterloo researchers point out that although it does not have all the necessary resources, the Moon does have them Lunar soil has a chemical composition suitable for many applications. Regolith contains oxides and chemicals made up of oxygen and another element bound together. These include oxides Iron oxide, aluminum oxide, and silicon oxide, making regolith a substance similar to… The White Termite.

There are different methods for treating regolith, most of which involve… Lunar soil temperature rises Up to 1600°C And electrolysis. The study focused on Electrolysis of molten regolithwhich involves Heating to 1600°C The application of electricity to cause a chemical reaction that separates metals from oxygen. The main improvement proposed by the researchers consists inGradually increase tensionThis allows the extraction of various materials, starting from potassium at the lowest voltage to calcium at the highest voltage.

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This method does not require additional materials imported from the ground. Just a combustion chamber. It is very resource efficient, but requires a lot of energy to maintain heat, especially if you use the gradual tension technique. Although the amount of regolith on the Moon is not infinite, it is unlikely to run out any time soon.

According to researcher Conor McRobbie A Record.

“In terms of the amount of regolith, there is an abundance of fine-grained material on the Moon’s surface, with a thickness of about 5-15 metres, depending on the geographic location on the Moon.”

“Underneath this layer of fine particles are larger rocks and a layer of basalt, which has a similar composition to the outer surface, but has not decomposed due to the protection of the upper layers,” McRobbie explained. “This layer can be etched and polished to produce finer materials that are useful for many of the applications we are considering.”

While the basic process of collecting and extracting regolith won’t be all that different from land mining, McRobbie anticipates some challenges. Among these is the need for

“Managing the effects of microgravity will be the biggest challenge,” he said. “Moving and refining materials in zero gravity will require a lot of advanced engineering skills.” “In addition, dilution of dust and particles in the equipment will be an issue that must be addressed.”

What can Regolith be used for?

Since the regolith consists of approx 45% oxygenAccording to the study, it would be one The main source of air for breathingThis is something completely absent from the Moon, which has no atmosphere. Moreover, it can be It combines with hydrogen to form wateranother crucial resource for human life.

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Oxygen could also be used as fuel, whether for a lunar settlement or base or for rockets, which would likely play a crucial role in a potential lunar community. Metals such as The iron and aluminum found in the regolith can also have usesFor example in building materials or even rocket fuel, which often contains aluminum as an additive. Although heating these metals to shape them would be difficult without a large energy source, the study predicts it will Solar panels will do most of the work needed to generate the power.

Moreover, iThe main component of regolith is siliconIt is an essential material for the production of glass and ceramics. Glass will be useful in the production and repair of solar panels, while ceramics will find applications in semiconductors and even in floor tiles.

Being a refractory material, Regolith can also be ignited to reach high temperatures. The study indicates that this is the same technology used in welding railway tracks, and can be used in other applications that require a lot of heat. A similar study also revealed that regolith could be melted directly onto the moon’s surface to create roads, landing strips, and other smooth surfaces.

Using regolith certainly won’t solve all the problems involved in establishing a presence on the Moon, but it will certainly make the project more feasible. However, if regolith represents the future of humans on the Moon, it must be handled with care, as it is believed to have serious side effects on humans, tools and electronics due to its reactivity and severe form.

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