Community > Forum > Perception, Barriers & Regulation of Privatized Space Travel > Mining on the Moon

Mining on the Moon

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:39 pm
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 31 posts ] 
Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Mining on the Moon 
Author Message
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post Mining on the Moon   Posted on: Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:39 pm
I thought I once saw a thread about that but as I couldn't find it, I'll open a new one. In case someone knows where the other thread is, please let me know or if you have moderation rights, just move this post there ;)

The German space magazine "Raumfahrt Concret" published some interesting numbers about mining on the Moon.

The baseline figure was to get 1 kg of Helium-3 for which you have to process 105 tonnes of Regolith (Lunar soil).

Additional elements you then would get:
Hydrogen 6100 kg
Helium-4 3100 kg
Water 3300 kg
Methane 1600 kg
Carbon Dioxide 1900 kg
Cobalt 1900 kg
Nitrogen 500 kg

(I don't know about Boron-11 numbers ;) )

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:38 pm
Posts: 1361
Location: Austin, Texas
Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:47 pm
It looks like the byproducts would be more than enough to fuel the rocket needed to return the He-3 to Earth. If you wanted He-3 that is. :wink:


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:53 am
Hello, Klaus,

there is a thread about it in the Technology section. I will look for the title but it also is listed in the Technology::Index.

But this thread seems to be in the right section because you seem to have in mind the economical implications.

I am a bit surprised that the magazine is that sure about the significant quantities of hydrogen, water, methane, carbondioxide and nitrogen.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:38 am
It's an article from G.W. Malyschew and A.A. Sotow from MAI Moscow, so I guess they know what they write.

Harrison Schmitt too has a detailed analysis of the Regolith in his book "Return to the Moon", so I assume that these numbers are quite correct.

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:21 am
Hello, Klaus,

I wasn't doubting - really surprised only because the search for and the doubts about ice layers in Shackleton crater and frozen or even buried lunar hydrogen.

I think I will post numbers here futurely I will get in the Lunar Siyuz-thread when I have proceeded to calculations of deliveries from the Moon to Earth.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:29 am
They (the two Russians as well as Harrison Schmitt) refer to the examined Regolith near the equator. These values are to be seen as averages, of course they vary like on Earth too.

For someone interested in Mining I can really recommend Harrison Schmitt's book (if I could remember where I put it during moving houses, I could check the values there *g*).

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:25 am
The titles of the threads in the Technology section about lunar mining or referring to it are

    Lunar production site to be seen on the horizon?
    Lunar ISRU
    Production of metals on the Moon - problems, solutions?
    Several oxygen-containing dusts?



There also is at least one thread about it in the Latest News section. "At least one" - in that section there also is a thread about Shackleton Crater Company as far as I remember. That company plans to mine not only hydrogen and water but methane also.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:04 am
Posts: 56
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:02 am
I am surprised by the amount of volitiles present, espesially ones containing hydrogen. Since Hydrogen is often a limiting factor for a moon based economy, I find these figures encouraging. I believe that in time most heavy industry and mining will move to the moon, where enviromental impact statement is... simpler.

_________________
I've become Death, the Destroyer of worlds...


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:38 pm
Posts: 1361
Location: Austin, Texas
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:04 pm
Horus wrote:
I am surprised by the amount of volitiles present
Now that you mention it, I am surprised too. 105 metric tons is 105,000 kg and 6,100kg of hydrogen is 5.8% of that. That can't be right, so I googled "hydrogen in apollo lunar material" to get this source:
http://www.permanent.com/l-minera.htm
The table says there is 51 ppm hydrogen on average in Apollo 11 samples. That is 0.0051% or 5.355 kg in 105 tons. It also says there is more nitrogen than hydrogen, not less as the table above says. It also shows no water at all. So I question the accuracy of the source of that data.

Or maybe those kilograms should be grams. That would make more sense. That 5.8% hydrogen would become 0.0058% if it is 6,100 grams instead of kilograms, which is more plausible.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:15 pm
I wondered that too of course but I double-checked it in the magazine that I posted it as it was there but it's of course possible that there was an error in translating and setting the Russian original into German.

On the other side there's a sentence in the text "Auf 1kg Helium-3 entfallen etwa 18 t Begleitgase [...]" - "There are about 18 t of carrier gases on 1 kg of Helium-3"

They list one example:

Ilmenite (Feo, TiO2) is processed. They say up to 10% of the moon "soil" are that stuff:

Reaction with methane delivers water, electrolysis thereafter produces oxygen. Continuing this reaction puts the methane back into its starting condition: 118 kg soil with 8% of ilmenite gives them 1 kg oxygen.

Using SiO2 (45% of the soil) delivers through reaction with fluorine 1kg of oxygen out of 4.15 kg soil.

If anybody knows where my book about mining on the moon from former Astronaut Schmitt is, please tell me. I want to check the numbers there :)

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:38 pm
Posts: 1361
Location: Austin, Texas
Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:35 pm
18 t of carrier gases on 1 kg of Helium-3 sounds plausible.
But 3,100 kg of Helium4 per 105 tons of regolith doesn't. I bet all those "kg" should be "g". Probably just a typographical error.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:04 am
Posts: 56
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:06 am
Bugger, I thin if it was 1050 tons instead of 105 the report would make more sence. I that's the case there are still enough volitiles in the ground to support a moon economy without the need for raw material export. If were a miner for me SiO2 would be just junk. It is the metal ores that would interest me, the fact that you also get other stuff from regolith is just a bonus. I think economically the Moon should be the mining center of solar system. It is by far the closest to near Earth space in Delta-V and metal ores are all over the place in concentrations that would make most jaded prospectors jelous.

Just curious which metals would be most common on the Moon. Fe and Ti seem high on the list although I am surprised that Al hasn't been mentioned yet.

_________________
I've become Death, the Destroyer of worlds...


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:38 pm
Posts: 1361
Location: Austin, Texas
Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:02 pm
There is plenty of oxygen and aluminum on the Moon. Aluminum could be used as a fuel with LOX as the oxidizer. The engineering problems have not been solved though. I would think you could make a kind of hybrid engine with a solid aluminum fuel grain and flow LOX to it like SS1 did with rubber and nitrous oxide, but I think the surface area needed would require the aluminum to be an impossibly convoluted shape. I have also heard of powdered aluminum being suspended in LOX successfully. But not much work is being done in this area.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:04 am
Posts: 56
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:32 am
That's quite an ingeneous idea actually, too bad chemical rockets will probably become obsolete by the time we return to the moon to stay however.

_________________
I've become Death, the Destroyer of worlds...


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
avatar
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:34 am
Posts: 450
Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:13 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
There is plenty of oxygen and aluminum on the Moon. Aluminum could be used as a fuel with LOX as the oxidizer. The engineering problems have not been solved though. I would think you could make a kind of hybrid engine with a solid aluminum fuel grain and flow LOX to it like SS1 did with rubber and nitrous oxide, but I think the surface area needed would require the aluminum to be an impossibly convoluted shape. I have also heard of powdered aluminum being suspended in LOX successfully. But not much work is being done in this area.


Powdered Aluminum is the primary fuel in the Space Shuttle, SRBs. It is conceivable that it could be sintered with a powdered glass binder in a hybrid rocket motor to avoid rare materials on the Moon. With LOX, this would be a "relatively conventional" hybrid motor.

I am also encouraged by the listed numbers for Lunar Hydrogen. Oxygen is of course one of the most common and easily recovered materials on the Moon (even if it takes more solar energy than the NASA Challenge Prize permits to extract it). This level of extractable Hydrogen would easily make up for processing losses. (I was envisioning "Hydrogen Farms" using a thin layer of evaporated Titanium on the Lunar surface to capture Hydrogen in the solar wind over a period of time. The Titanium Hydride would be periodically harvested and the area "reseeded" with a new film of Titanium.)


Back to top
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


cron
© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use