Beneficiation of Lunar Rocks and Regolith: Concepts and Difficulties

by Lawrence A. Taylor, Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States,
David S. McKay, Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


Considerations of the resources which can provide feedstocks of ilmenite, glass, agglutinates, anorthite, etc. at a lunar base require an appreciation of the geology of the situation. Some of the inherent differences are discussed between lunar rocks and the finer portion of the regolith, the soil. An abbreviated outline of the formation of lunar soil is presented. Beneficiation of rocks versus regolith for the production of an ilmenite feedstock is specifically addressed; however, the concepts and principles discussed therein are applicable to other situations as well. The overall systems design must take into account the range of available feedstocks. Decisions on design must be made which will influence feedstock requirements. These decisions may be complex and not readily apparent.

Subject Headings: Lunar materials | Resource management | Glass | Rocks | Soil treatment | Space exploration | Moon | Mines and mining

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