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Über dieses Buch

This book carries out approximate estimates of the costs of implementing ISRU on the Moon and Mars. It is found that no ISRU process on the Moon has much merit. ISRU on Mars can save a great deal of mass, but there is a significant cost in prospecting for resources and validating ISRU concepts. Mars ISRU might have merit, but not enough data are available to be certain.

In addition, this book provides a detailed review of various ISRU technologies. This includes three approaches for Mars ISRU based on processing only the atmosphere: solid oxide electrolysis, reverse water gas shift reaction (RWGS), and absorbing water vapor directly from the atmosphere. It is not clear that any of these technologies are viable although the RWGS seems to have the best chance. An approach for combining hydrogen with the atmospheric resource is chemically very viable, but hydrogen is needed on Mars. This can be approached by bringing hydrogen from Earth or obtaining water from near-surface water deposits in the soil. Bringing hydrogen from Earth is problematic, so mining the regolith to obtain water seems to be the only way to go. This will require a sizable campaign to locate and validate useable water resources. Technologies for lunar ISRU are also reviewed, even though none of them provide significant benefits to near-term lunar missions. These include oxygen from lunar regolith, solar wind volatiles from regolith, and extraction of polar ice from permanently shaded craters.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. The value of ISRU

By utilizing such indigenous resources, the amount of materiel that must be brought from Earth might be reduced, thus potentially reducing the cost of a space mission.
Donald Rapp

2. Mars ISRU technology

The major opportunities to use ISRU on Mars include propellants for ascent from the Martian surface and water and oxygen for life support. Mars soil contains oxygen but processing the soil is difficult.
Donald Rapp

3. Lunar ISRU technology

The lunar-soil particle size distribution is very broad. In addition, because of the irregular particle shapes, the specific surface area is high: approximately 0.5m2/g. In fact, lunar soil particles have about eight times more surface area than an assemblage of spheres with the equivalent particle size distribution.
Donald Rapp

4. Summary and conclusions

Since the earliest expeditions of humans into space, visionaries have contemplated the possibility that extraterrestrial resources could be developed and civilization could eventually move into space.
Donald Rapp

Backmatter

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