A British company is working on extracting oxygen from moon dust, which could be incredibly valuable for future moon missions and the possibilities of staying on the moon.
Metalysis, a materials technology firm from England, recently announced that it has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop its method of extracting extraterrestrial oxygen from materials found on the satellite’s surface.
In addition to being able to extract 96% of oxygen from lunar soil — also known as regolith — the process also leaves behind metals that could be used for building settlements on the moon.
The partnership is a crucial step in moving forward in the development of a sustainable source of oxygen on the moon and to providing the fuel for spacecraft landing on and launching from its surface. Being able to create oxygen from moon dust could also significantly reduce the payload mass that would be needed to be launched from Earth.
Ian Mellor, the company’s managing director said, “One of the main drivers of the project is to be able to use the resources that are already on the moon, rather than having to take them from Earth to the moon — there’s quite a cost associated with taking things into space, and the more you can utilize what’s there, the better,”