Lunar Oxygen Production in a Hydrogen Cold Plasma

by Daniel E. Bullard,
Peter E. Nolan,
David C. Lynch,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

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


This paper examines the concept of oxygen production from unbeneficiated lunar regolith using a non-equilibrium or 'cold' hydrogen plasma. An experimental investigation has indicated that plasma reduction is a viable alternative to the various thermally activated oxygen production processes currently proposed. A process flow diagram is proposed for a plasma reduction plant. The oxygen produced per unit mass of regolith mined for plasma reduction has been estimated based upon experimental evidence. Estimates of the mining and power requirements, as well as the hydrogen flow rates, have been determined for plasma reduction. These values are compared to literature values for other oxygen production schemes.

Subject Headings: Moon | Oxygen | Hydrogen | Thermal analysis | Soil properties | Resource management | Thermal effects | Hydro power

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