A 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, and instrumentation development. An initial prototype system was developed to vaporize regolith simulants using a ∼1m2 Fresnel lens. This system was successfully used to vaporize quantities of ∼1g, 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 ∼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.
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30 January 2007
SPACE TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL FORUM-STAIF 2007: 11th Conf Thermophys.Applic.in Micrograv.; 24th Symp Space Nucl.Pwr.Propulsion; 5th Conf Hum/Robotic Techn & Vision Space Explor.; 5th Symp Space Coloniz.; 4th Symp New Frontrs & Future Con
11-15 February 2007
Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA)
Research Article| January 30 2007
Vacuum Pyrolysis and Related ISRU Techniques
Eric H. Cardiff;
Brian R. Pomeroy;
Ian S. Banks;
AIP Conf. Proc. 880, 846–853 (2007)
Eric H. Cardiff, Brian R. Pomeroy, Ian S. Banks, Alexis Benz; Vacuum Pyrolysis and Related ISRU Techniques. AIP Conf. Proc. 30 January 2007; 880 (1): 846–853. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2437525
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