Oxygen Production via Carbothermal Reduction of Lunar Regolith 2009-01-2442
The Moon is composed of a variety of oxygen-bearing minerals, providing a virtually unlimited quantity of raw material that can be processed to produce oxygen. One attractive method to extract oxygen from the lunar regolith is the carbothermal reduction process. This paper discusses recent development work conducted through the PILOT project under the NASA OPTIMA program. The OPTIMA test program utilizes a modular technology suite of ISRU excavation, oxygen extraction, oxygen storage, and oxygen distribution hardware sized to be consistent with the draft Constellation requirements for oxygen extraction from the regolith to support the early lunar outpost (1 MT O2/year).