Magma electrolysis

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Magma electrolysis is one proposed method of producing oxygen from lunar materials. In its simplest form, the method consists of melting the lunar regolith and passing an electric current through the melt, liberating oxygen at one electrode and reducing the material to a lower oxidation state at the other. A flux material is typically used to reduce the melting temperature of lunar soil, however, the process temperatures for magma reduction are nevertheless typically in the range 1300-1400 C (ref: Gimmett 2005)

Significant experimental work on the process has been done by Dr. Edward McCullough at Boeing. (Ref. McCullough and Mariz, "Lunar Oxygen Production via Magma Electrolysis", Proc. Space-90 Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 22-26 April 1990, pp. 347-356)


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More information about magma electrolysis can be found at:Oxygen From the Lunar Soil by Molten Silicate Electrolysis by Russell O. Colson and Larry A. Haskin

http://www.nss.org/settlement/nasa/spaceresvol3/oflsmse1.htm

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