Back in 1967, the scientists wanted to process moon rocks by inventing some kind of lunar processing plants for oxygen. Presently, the scientists do know that moon rocks indeed consist of oxygen. However, the researchers can’t seem to figure out the best way to derive oxygen out of the moon’s surface.
IN THE PAST
There have been no traces of oxygen in the lunar atmosphere since ages but space scientists have always been intrigued with the hope of discovering and using oxygen on the moon. They have resorted to extracting usable oxygen from the lunar rocks.
On 14th October 1967, the NASA researchers predicted inventing huge lunar processing plants that could be used for producing more than 4000 pounds of oxygen per month in its liquid state. That oxygen could be used as fuel in rockets. The liquid oxygen also finds its use in breathing purposes.
On the same date, the NASA researchers revealed that they have found the rock which would be able to solve the purpose of oxygen. They had already managed to discover the lunar rocks which had oxygen traces in it.
THE PRESENT SITUATION
Fifty years post the discovery of oxygen traces in lunar rocks, the scientists are still figuring out a way to derive oxygen from the lunar rocks. The moon is still not equipped with the lunar factories which could churn out oxygen. The scientists are still figuring out ways through which they can effectively isolate oxygen from the moon rocks.
In 2010, one of the NASA scientists proposed a technique for doing the job. The scientists explained that one way of doing this could be heating up the lunar rocks about 16500 Celsius for isolating the oxygen. The said lunar rock would be exposed to methane while heating. The chemical reactions would take place ensuring the production of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
Another chemical reaction would occur between carbon monoxide and hydrogen which would lead to the production of water. The next step would be passing the electric current through water for separating hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The oxygen could then be used for solving the purpose.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Fifty years ago, scientists discovered oxygen in lunar rocks. Lunar oxygen can be condensed in form of liquids for storing in tanks. If the scientists are able to process oxygen from the lunar rocks, it can be effectively used as an oxidizer in rocket fuel and for breathing purposes.