One Small Breath for Man, one giant gasp for mankind

February 16, 2011 - Project Update

 

Team 13, Moonrakers, has been hard at work over the last semester.  The initial idea of an oxygen production plant has evolved into a scientifically driven study.  Much of our early work included research of chemical reactions useful for reducing the metal oxides in lunar soil.  Two possible reactions were chosen as having the most potential after analyzing twenty possible alternatives.  Working ‘backwards’ from data found in various scientific literature, the team was able to create rate laws for both of these chemical reactions.  The fall semester also found the beginning of process design by using advanced computing software.  These designs have already been further developed since spring semester has begun.  Furthermore, the initial plant concept has been expanded and improved into several process flow diagrams.
In addition to the more technical sides of the project, the team has elaborated on several norms for design.  Those include stewardship, simplicity, competitive economy, process efficiency, and trustworthiness.  Also, the team has adjusted to new schedules for the spring semester and the new deadlines fast approaching.

November 24, 2010 - Project Overview

 

As space exploration continues to reach new heights, and lunar colonization approaches reality, a need for harvesting the moons resources grows.  Oxygen, essential for sustaining life, is abundant in lunar soil as metal oxides.  By utilizing a feed, composed largely of iron oxides and iron titanium oxides, a reduction reaction will create an intermediate, namely water.  This water will be processed in an electrolysis unit, creating oxygen and hydrogen products. 
Team 13, Moonrakers, seeks to design a superior process for the production of oxygen on the moon.  The project so far has included the research of existing technologies and science regarding reduction reactions and process units.  A number of process alternatives were also considered.  A majority of processes were eliminated and only two processes are being further developed in UNISIM.  A preliminary cost analysis for the process as well as alternative measures is currently underway.  The final design will include a final chemical process, an optimized UNISIM design, and an in depth economic analysis.

Laura Snyder, Alex Verseput, Brad Rekman, Matt Slater, and Hannah Gerig