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Technical Paper

ISRU Production of Life Support Consumables for a Lunar Base

Similar to finding a home on Earth, location is important when selecting where to set up an exploration outpost. Essential considerations for comparing potential lunar outpost locations include: (1) areas nearby that would be useful for In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) oxygen extraction from regolith for crew breathing oxygen as well as other potential uses; (2) proximity to a suitable landing site; (3) availability of sunlight; (4) capability for line-of-sight communications with Earth; (5) proximity to permanently-shadowed areas for potential in-situ water ice; and (6) scientific interest. The Mons Malapert1 (Malapert Mountain) area (85.5°S, 0°E) has been compared to these criteria, and appears to be a suitable location for a lunar outpost.
Technical Paper

Neutron Environment Calculations for Low Earth Orbit

The long term exposure of astronauts on the developing International Space Station (ISS) requires an accurate knowledge of the internal exposure environment for human risk assessment and other onboard processes. The natural environment is moderated by the solar wind, which varies over the solar cycle. The HZETRN high charge and energy transport code developed at NASA Langley Research Center can be used to evaluate the neutron environment on ISS. A time dependent model for the ambient environment in low earth orbit is used. This model includes GCR radiation moderated by the Earth’s magnetic field, trapped protons, and a recently completed model of the albedo neutron environment formed through the interaction of galactic cosmic rays with the Earth’s atmosphere. Using this code, the neutron environments for space shuttle missions were calculated and comparisons were made to measurements by the Johnson Space Center with onboard detectors.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Oxygen Production on the Moon and Mars

Scientists and engineers at NASA are currently developing flight instruments which will demonstrate oxygen production on the Moon and Mars. REGA will extract oxygen from the lunar regolith, measure implanted solar wind and indigenous gases, and monitor the lunar atmosphere. MIP will demonstrate oxygen production on Mars, along with key supporting technologies including filtration, atmospheric acquisition and compression, thermal management, solar cell performance, and dust removal.
Technical Paper

Utilization of On-Site Resources for Regenerative Life Support Systems at Lunar and Martian Outposts

Lunar and martian materials can be processed and used at planetary outposts to reduce the need (and thus the cost) of transporting supplies from Earth. A variety of uses for indigenous, on-site materials have been suggested, including uses as rocket propellants, construction materials, and life support materials. Utilization of on-site resources will supplement Regenerative Life Support Systems (RLSS) that will be needed to regenerate air, water, and wastes, and to produce food (e.g., plants) for human consumption during long-duration space missions.
Technical Paper

Oxygen From Lunar Soils

We have conducted experiments on 16 lunar soils and 3 lunar volcanic glass samples to study the extraction of oxygen, an important resource for future lunar bases. The samples were chosen to span the range of composition and mineralogy represented in the Apollo collection. Each sample was reduced in flowing hydrogen for 3 hours at 1050°C. The dominant effect was reduction of Fe2+ (as FeO) in minerals and glass to iron metal, with concomitant release of oxygen. Oxygen extraction was strongly correlated with initial Fe2+ abundance but varied among mineral and glass phases. The experimental reduction of lunar soil and glass provides a method for assessing the oxygen production potential for sites on the lunar surface from lunar orbit. Our results show that oxygen yield from lunar soils can be predicted from knowledge of only one parameter, total iron content. This parameter can be measured from orbit by gamma ray spectrometry or multispectral imaging.