the process of turning the frozen water on the moon to rocket fuel


i get the benefits of using the lower gravity of the moon to launch spacecraft but what’s the process and what type of equipment will we need to get the hydrogen and turn it into fuel?

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It’s the hydrogen and oxygen they’re after. Water being H20 can be separated through electrolysis (passing an electric current through it) to get two parts hydrogen which can be used as rocket fuel and one part oxygen which can be used to breath.

Get water.

Put electrical current through water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen.

Capture both, separate, and compress them down to liquids. Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are modern rocket fuels.

>and what type of equipment will we need

oof. A lot of complicated stuff to work in a high dust no atmosphere environment. This is a very serious engineering problem. You need mining equipment. That’s pretty old-hat, but launching mining equipment is new and fundamentally hard. Space-launched mining equipment that works on the moon is extra hard because of moon dust. We would very much need to have a whole iteration of missions just to make machinery that can work on the moon for long enough. Everything here will have a shelf-life and it won’t work after it’s worn out.

There’s significant issues with scale. If you make something that’s small and light and easy to launch and it can seperate the ice from lunar soil, it’ll have to store the good stuff somewhere. We simply can’t store liquid O2 or H2 for long without extensive power sources. So the tools you bring to do this need to be big enough.

…Maybe we’d be able to tunnel out caverns to store gases. I dunno man, well before diving in, there would need to be significant experimentation of a bunch of loony ideas.

Hydrogen is the fuel. There biggest advantage of hydrogen is that it’s the most efficient fuel. Releases the most amount of energy per unit mass. For a rocket we want the most thrust and the least mass. So hydrogen is the best choice.

It comes with a number of complications though. Cooling, leaking and if the size of the fuel tank matters like for a plane you might be better of with a fuel that has a higher energy per unit volume score which is also less complicated to manage.

But we work with what we have and hydrogen is a good fuel especially if we can produce it from the local resources like water.

Water is H20. With electrodes we can slit water into hydrogen and oxygen. Of course this is a very energy hungry process. So we get H2 and O2 and this is what we need for fuel we burn our H2 with O2 releasing energy and giving us water again.