Over the past decade, a lot of new evidence has been found for the presence of water on the Moon – ice is mixed with lunar dust (regolith) in a volume ratio of about 100-400 parts to 1 million, and higher concentrations are found at the poles, where there is less sunlight. Scientists from the Open University (UK) and the University of Central Florida (USA) have concluded that a simple microwave oven is enough to extract water from regolith.
Scientists studied two versions of artificial regolith: the first was created on the basis of samples taken in the lunar highlands, and the second imitated the dark soil of the lunar seas. The material was mixed with water in mass proportions from 3% to 15%, consistent with the results of previous studies. These samples were then placed in a chamber that simulated the pressure and temperature on the lunar surface and subjected to 25 minutes of 250-watt microwaves, less than what is needed to heat food in a conventional kitchen oven.
As a result, it was possible to extract more than 50% of water from artificial “marine” samples and more than 67% from highland samples. When heated for 35 minutes, it was already possible to extract up to 90% of the water. Remarkably, with an increase in the water content in the samples, the effectiveness of the method decreased to 32%. The scientists explained this by the fact that in samples more saturated with water, the distance between dust particles increases, which weakens heat transfer and reduces the efficiency of water extraction.
The authors of the study claim that on the Moon, low-power microwave devices will make it possible to extract water from the soil with a mass concentration of up to 10%.
If you notice an error, select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.