Scientists have learned how to extract water from the moon: you need an ordinary microwave oven

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
Scientists have learned how to extract water from the moon: you need an ordinary microwave oven

Humans are 70-80% water, so it is not surprising that the first thing we seek to find in space is water. And this is not only because water can be the source of life on a primitive level, but also because we need something to quench our thirst.

And a recent study published in the journal Acta Astronautica appears to have found the easiest way to provide mankind with water on Earth's satellite, the Moon. As it turns out, this will require an object that is now found in almost every kitchen.

The problem with water is that it is too heavy and takes up too much space to simply load it into a rocket in sufficient quantity and take it with you on a space trip. Fuel costs would then, pardon the pun, reach cosmic proportions. Therefore, future colonists must rely on water to be found locally. Whether it is a landing on the Moon, or on Mars.

Fortunately for humanity, water is the most abundant molecule in the universe. Even the moon has enough water to sustain a lunar colony. And researchers have found that it can be extracted simply by using a stationary microwave.

In general, water is present on the entire surface of the Moon, albeit in very small quantities (and even in the form of tiny glass beads). But the largest reserves of water can be found in the polar regions, where pockets of ice are concentrated. Their consistency is similar to snow mixed with mostly dusty sand particles. To extract water from such material simply by heating it up, you will get a swamp instead of water.

So in their study, scientists tried to extract water from the lunar material using microwaves.

Those who often use microwaves and tried to heat something not too suitable there could notice that dry products suddenly became wet after heating. The reason is that water molecules are strongly excited by microwaves, and such exposure can force them to shift in the material, usually toward the surface.

For the experiments, scientists used two types of simulated lunar materials: one simulated lunar highlands (LHS-1) and the other simulated regolith from the lunar sea (LMS-1).

The experiments found that by using a microwave power of only 250 watts, 55% to 67% of the water can be extracted in about half an hour. This is practical enough to extract large amounts of water from polar regions, and the microwave technology used by scientists would be easy to build and maintain on the moon.

However, the scientists also found that the method becomes less efficient if higher water-content materials are used. In this case, the researchers noted, traditional conductive heating was more effective.

Previously OBOZREVATEL told about whether people will be able to grow plants on the moon.

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