US scientists plan to use microwave equipment to extract liquid water from the lunar surface

- May 08, 2019 -

Henan Microwave Equipment Network News: US and Indian lunar probes have found the latest evidence of water on the surface of the moon, which not only helps to maintain the survival needs of lunar astronauts, but also promotes manned Mars exploration missions. In this case, how to extract liquid water from the lunar surface has become a very practical problem. A microwave device being developed by NASA is expected to achieve this goal.

Indian Lunar Ship 1 and NASA's Cassini and Deep Impact lunar probes have found signs of absorbing infrared light of a certain wavelength, indicating the presence of either water or hydroxyl groups. Hydroxyl is a molecule consisting of one hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom. Water signals found at the South and North Poles are stronger than those found at lower latitudes.

Solar wind protons (hydrogen ions) combine with oxygen atoms in lunar soil and produce these molecules continuously. Comet impacts may also bring water to the moon. Water produced by comets or solar winds slowly diffuses over time to permanent shadow belts at the moon's north and South poles, which scientists have recently measured are cooler than Pluto. Carle Pieters, an astronomer at Brown University, said, "Once there is water on the moon, it will show up one day." A NASA research team led by Peters has developed many measuring instruments for the Indian Lunar Ship 1. In an interview with New Scientist magazine,

Peters said that so far, the amount of water on the lunar surface is not much. For example, a piece of lunar soil as large as a baseball field may only have "a glass of water". However, if such water is available, astronauts will have the drinking water they need to survive on the Moon, as well as the oxygen and hydrogen that can be separated from it to make the fuel they need to return to Earth.

This will greatly reduce the cost of space launching, because some fuel can be added less when launching spacecraft from the earth. Rocket fuel produced on the moon can even help us carry out manned Mars missions. Given the smaller gravity of the moon, Mars missions from the surface of the moon consume less energy than missions from the Earth. Paul Sposty, a researcher at the Lunar and Planetary Research Institute in Houston, Texas, said: "This will radically change the mode of space flight. It's like building a transcontinental railway in space. How can we get water stored in lunar soil in the form of very little water ice? According to Edwin Ethridge of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and William Kaukler of the University of Alabama, a microwave device can do this, which they proposed in 2006. They used ordinary microwave ovens to treat simulated lunar soil, cooling it to minus 150 degrees Celsius. They then kept the soil in a vacuum to simulate the lunar conditions. The results showed that when the soil was heated to minus 50 degrees Celsius by microwave, water ice sublimation would occur, i.e. from solid to vapor. In this way, the water vapor originally dispersed in the soil high-pressure micropore enters the low-pressure vacuum tube. On the moon, these vapors can be collected by a metal disk placed above the lunar soil. According to Kawler, the sublimated water vapor condenses on the metal plate as frost, and then "you can collect the frost on the metal plate."

Baking and treating dry lunar soil at high temperatures may also release oxygen and hydrogen atoms for rocket fuel or other purposes. Still, Sputice points out that this method takes about 100 times as much time and energy to extract oxygen and hydrogen atoms from the water resources of the Moon. "However, with the development of science and technology, it will become simpler, more cost-effective and faster." (Gao Ke)

上一篇:Application and Progress of Microwave Technology in Food Analysis 下一篇:没有了

Related News

Related Products