Microwave water from moondust


08/10/2009

"No magic," - says Ed Ethridge of Space Flight Center of NASA. Marshall - "just a microwave. We show how to use the microwave can extract water from moondust by heating it from the inside."

The latest discovery, proving the existence of water on the surface of the moon, inspired researchers like Ethridge accelerate the pace of development of technologies designed to that same water can be extracted from lunar soil. Some scientists believe that the slightest amount of frozen water, which is a component of the lunar soil surface - just the tip of the iceberg. If so, Ethridge found a way to get it.

"We believe that we can use microwave heating of water ice in the permafrost layer on the Moon to turn it into steam. Steam is then possible to collect and condense into liquid water."

"Best microwave extraction may be carried out on site. Besides, it does not require excavation - neither any heavy equipment for drilling hard and frozen lunar surface."

His first experiment Ethridge called "The Moon in the flask."

"We filled a flask artificial" lunar permafrost "(synthetic lunar dust containing water ice) and heated it in the microwave. Microwaves warmed the soil enough to extract the water, even if the ground was as cold as the moon."

Within 2 minutes of microwave exposure was recovered (evaporated from the soil) at least 95% water added in an artificial lunar dust.

"We can collect up to 99% of the evaporated water in our cold trap" - said an employee of Bill Kokler University of Alabama-Huntsville. - "This experiment proves that this is possible."

But Ethridge and his team, having played with microwave, went further - towards directional microwave radiation into the artificial soil. This is how it will be necessary to use on the moon. As in the case of the first experiment aimed microwave radiation penetrates into the soil and it warmed sufficiently to extract water.

"This is important evidence. We needed to make sure that the microwaves will not be reflected from the surface," - says Ethridge. - "This is great work."

What’s next?

"We have made a request to get a true earth, delivered to Earth mission" Apollo "- says Ethridge. -" We want to test the real moments and calculate how fast the water vapor comes out. This is an important part of the research. "

"There are other issues that we need to know, for example, how much ice at the poles, how deep it is, whether it is only the craters or it - anywhere?" The morning of this Friday, October 9, the unit LCROSS (the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) could answer some questions about water on the moon, when the crash into the Cabeus crater at the south pole of the moon, to remove from the surface features of H2O.

If on the moon there is a sufficient amount of water, as then it will collect lunar inhabitants?

"They will have to direct the microwave radiation into the soil and collect the water vapor in the cold trap," he explains. - "We want to build a prototype vodorazvedochnogo experiment to demonstrate the technology that we would like to use the equipment for the production of lunar water." Today’s news widgets to help you follow the course of the global economy.

Original: Science.nasa.gov


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