Rocks and Minerals in The Regolith of The Moon: Resources for a Lunar Base

Taylor, Lawrence A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 19
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1990
The rocks and minerals of the moon will be included among the raw materials used to construct a lunar base. The lunar regolith, the fragmental material present on the surface of the Moon, is composed mostly of disaggregated rocks and minerals, but also includes glassy fragments fused together by meteorite impacts. The finer fraction (i.e., < lcm) of the regolith, the soil, is probably the most important portion of the regolith for use at a lunar base. For example, soil can be used in bulk as insulation against cosmic rays, for lunar ceramic and abodes, or for growing plants. However, beneficiation of the soil can provide other feedstocks. For example, the soil contains abundant solar-wind implanted elements, as we1 1 as various minerals, particularly oxide phases, which are of potential economic importance. These components of the soil are sources of oxygen and hydrogen for water and rocket fuel, helium for nuclear energy, and metals such as Fe, Ni, Al, Si, and Ti. The uses of the lunar materials only await a fertile imagination.
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