On the extraction of volatiles from lunar regolith using solar power

Jorge Alberto Frias, University of Texas at El Paso


Recent lunar missions have confirmed the presence of water and miscellaneous volatiles within the craters of the Moon's South Pole. If harvested, these resources have the potential to provide an incredible budget saving to the human space exploration program by dropping the total mass that astronauts need to carry from the Earth. The area that develops these technologies is called In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). ISRU allows reducing the payload, and consequently reduces the energy consumption and cost of space exploration. The present thesis investigates methods for the extraction of volatiles from regolith within the shadowed craters of the Moon using solar power. Topics that are to be discussed within this thesis will include heat transfer calculations, experimental studies using a CO2 laser, and lastly the design of the process schematic to validate the extraction of volatiles.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Frias, Jorge Alberto, "On the extraction of volatiles from lunar regolith using solar power" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1533225.