Key process for space outpost proved on ‘vomit comet’ ride

The MoonFlying high over the Gulf of Mexico, researchers from NASA and Case Western Reserve University found a key to unlocking oxygen from the surface of the moon.

The celestial body has no atmosphere like Earth’s, holding the precious element just a breath away. But, oxygen to breathe, grow food, create water and burn rocket fuel – to make a space outpost a reality – is trapped in its soils.

Scientists from NASA and Case Western Reserve are designing and testing components of an oxygen generator that would extract the element from silicon dioxide and metal oxides in the ground. They have designed sifters needed to produce a consistent supply of oxides. But, how would the sifters work in the moon’s gravity, which is about one-sixth as strong as the Earth’s?

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