Lunar ISRU Research Path

Lunar ISRU Research Path

This is a working document outlining the entire Lunar Homestead Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Research Path. All the steps to go from raw, untouched Lunar regolith and mega-regolith to refined materials ready to be used.

Lunar Homestead is currently focused on the Lunar mare mega-regolith basalt so everything else, like regolith, will have much less information.


Step 1 – Environmental Conditions

Surface

Gravity

  • 1.62 meters per second squared acceleration, or 16.5% of Earth gravity

Atmosphere

Dust

Radiation

Thermal

Impactors

Lighting Conditions

Moonquakes

  • Shallow quakes originating 20-30 km below the surface
  • Up to 5.5 on the Richter scale
  • Can last more than 10 minutes

Shielded Pressurized Oxygen Resource Extraction (SPORE)

SPORE Oxygen Pressure

Gravity

  • 1.62 meters per second squared acceleration, or 16.5% of Earth gravity

Atmosphere

  • 100% oxygen atmosphere pressurized to 48 kPa

Temperature / Humidity

Dust

  • Some unknown amount of regolith dust and mining dust

Moonquakes

  • Shallow quakes originating 20-30 km below the surface
  • Up to 5.5 on the Richter scale
  • Can last more than 10 minutes
  • Underground structures may be safer than surface structures

Step 2 – Available Resources

SPORE Apollo 12 Regolith and Mega-Regolith Characterization

Apollo 12 Soil Samples

Apollo 12 Drive Core Samples

Lunar Iron Characterization

Lunar Mega-regolith

Apollo 12 Regolith

Basalt

Lunar free iron

Apoll 12 Mega-Regolith

Basalt

Ilmenite

  • Physical properties
  • Chemical properties
  • Comparison to Earth ilmenite
  • Abundance
  • Location
  • Simulants

Olivine

Pyroxene

Spinel

Simulants


Step 3 – Resource Extraction (mining)

Surface

Lunar surface mining equipment

  • Front-end loaders
  • Bulldozers
  • Scrapers
  • Hydraulic excavators
  • Electric shovels
  • Draglines
  • Clamshells
  • Lunarpedia Sandworm
  • Continuous miner (used in coal mining)

SPORE (Basalt mare mega-regolith)

Shielded Pressurized Oxygen Resource Extraction tech

Hand mining tools

  • Hammer
    • Engineering
    • Sledge
    • Geologic hammer
    • Cracking hammer
  • Pick
  • Chisel
    • Star drill
  • Plug and feather/wedge and feather
  • Pry bar (long and short) – Remove rock from surrounding medium. Insert into cracks to break large rocks.
  • Hand drill (to create weak spots and chisel points)
  • Saw
    • Metal
    • Stone
  • Magnetic locked boots
  • Mechanical locked boots
  • Add iron weights to waist/legs/boots to add overall mass

Pneumatic mining tools

  • Pneumatic drill (aka jackhammer)
  • Oxygen pneumatic rotary hammer – for use in the SPORE environment
  • Attachment to SPORE to mitigate gravity

Electric mining tools

  • Electric drill
  • Electric saw
    • Electric metal saw
    • Electric stone saw
  • Electric rotary hammer
  • Attachment to SPORE to mitigate gravity

Safety tech

  • Self-contained breathing gear
  • Basalt fabric over-suit
  • Fire mitigation

Dust control

  • Fine dust mitigation
  • Water spray
  • Atmosphere (oxygen) circulation
  • Electrostatic
  • Dig deeper (get away from regolith dust)
  • Vacuum – for cleaning up dust

Waste

Personnel

Procedures


Step 4 – Material Transportation (from mine to processing equipment)

Surface

To be determined

SPORE

Buckets

Pulleys

Hand truck

Mining cart

Safety tech

Personnel

Procedures


Step 5 – Physical Processing

Surface

To be determined

SPORE

Manual Universal Power Supply (MUPS) – for powering machinery

Commution (crushing)

Grinding

Particle Size Sorting

  • Electro-static – fine dust
  • Mechanical (sieves)
  • Vibration

Concentration

Power

  • Manual Universal Power Supply

Waste

Safety Tech

  • Fine dust mitigation

Personnel

Procedures


Step 6 – Powder Transportation

SPORE

Buckets

Pulleys

Mining cart

Safety tech

Personnel

Procedures


Step 7 – Types of Processing

Bucket processing

Continuous flow processing


Step 8 – Volatile Extraction

Regolith

Mega-regolith

Part of hydrogen reduction process (using same equipment)

Separate process/equipment


Step 9 – Chemical Processing

Oxygen/Iron extraction


Step 10 – Oxygen Refining

Purification

Storage

  • Pressure tanks
  • Valves
  • Pipes
  • Gauges

Step 11 – Iron Refining

Mongrel metal refining

Physical processing

Storage


Step 12 – Iron Oxide Depleted Basalt Processing

Hydrogen reduction of additional metal oxides

Other chemical reduction of additional metal oxides

Sintering

Melting

Casting

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