Extraction of Water from Polar Lunar Permafrost with Microwaves – Dielectric Property Measurements

  • Link to Full Text: http://hdl.handle.net/2060/20090017895
  • Summary:
    Remote sensing indicates the presence of hydrogen rich regions associated with the lunar poles. The logical hypothesis is that there is cryogenically trapped water ice located in craters at the lunar poles. Some of the craters have been in permanent darkness for a billion years. The presence of water at the poles as well as other scientific advantages of a polar base, have influenced NASA plans for the lunar outpost. The lunar outpost has water and oxygen requirements on the order of 1 ton per year scaling up to as much as 10 tons per year. Microwave heating of the frozen permafrost has unique advantages for water extraction. Proof of principle experiments have successfully demonstrated that microwaves will couple to the cryogenic soil in a vacuum and the sublimed water vapor can be successfully captured on a cold trap. The dielectric properties of lunar soil will determine the hardware requirements for extraction processes. Microwave frequency dielectric property measurements of lunar soil simulant have been measured.
  • Date Published: 2009-01-05
  • Is publication family-friendly: true
  • Publication Type: Conference Paper
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