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LAMOR - Laser Assisted mining of Oxygen from Regolith

Implementation progress
18 November 2022

Duration: 18 months


This proposal focusses on a systematic/experimental study to use laser pulses for the ablation of Regolith’ material to extract oxygen. Within our consortium we will perform academic studies, estimations, simulation and a series of parametric experimental studies on the efficiency of pulsed laser ablation (Pulsed Laser Ablation PLA) for oxygen extraction, as well as the safety feature of the Regolith dissociation process in terms of toxic by-products. Different simulants will be used (TUBS-M, TUBS-T, JSA-1, EAC-1, others) to perform the parametric study of PLA and to identify optimum processing conditions of oxygen production, process effectiveness and collection. Laser ablation is unaffected by gravity and doesn’t have the energy input requirements as Molten salt electrolysis (MSE) or Molten Regolith Electrolysis (MRE) techniques, being possible to be powered by solar panels easily in some cases. Project features and unicity: parametric studies on the efficiency to use Pulsed Laser Ablation (PLA) for oxygen production/collection using different simulants, as the chemical composition and morphology of the Regolith can vary with harvesting Moon’s site and drilling depth. experiments on the safety parameters determinations of PLA process as the Regolith material can contain volatile elements (hydrogen, fluorine, etc.) which can lead to toxic by-products. We expect the following benefits compared to other ISRO processes: Revealing the advantages of PLA technique in processing the Regolith. The energy efficiency for the laser ablation process is superior to MSE or MRE techniques. The oxygen collection in vacuum is simplified. The aging of used infrastructure material is simplified because no melting and sticking expected. Re-loading with material is simplified. Robust system because the heating is delocalized from the extraction mechanism. Handling of powder material is in favor of the proposed method.

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LAMOR - Laser Assisted mining of Oxygen from Regolith