Israelis Want to Produce Oxygen on the Moon

There’s a lot of oxygen trapped in the lunar surface, and a group of Israelis think they know how to get it out

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: TECHNOLOGY, Startup Nation
Could an Israeli breakthrough allow us to soon put bases on the moon? Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90

Having firmly established themselves as technology leaders here on earth, Israelis are increasingly looking to the stars. A local startup firm called Helios has announced an ambition lunar mission that if successful could significantly boost space exploration for all mankind.

What Helios intends to do is produce oxygen on and from the lunar surface.

Why’s that a big deal? As everyone knows, we need oxygen to breath. What fewer might know is that we also need it to produce rocket fuel. The moon could serve as an excellent research station and jumping-off point for reaching further into the solar system. But oxygen is key.

In order to have enough oxygen to breath and to potentially fuel craft for launching further into the solar system, we’d currently need to carry a massive amount with us from earth to moon. The math just doesn’t come out in our favor.

But the fine sand covering the lunar surface is 40% oxygen by weight. The system developed by Helios separates that oxygen from the minerals in which its trapped through a process of intense heating. The oxygen is then stored and ready for use in other applications.

The system has been successfully tested on simulated moon sand developed here on earth. Now it’s time to go do it for real.

To that end, Helios recently signed an agreement with the Japanese lunar exploration firm ispace.

The Japanese company has two lunar missions planned for the end of 2023 and mid-2024, during which it will deliver Helios’ equipment to the lunar surface. And if all goes well, the Israelis will soon after be able to announce a major breakthrough in man’s ability to explore the stars.

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