If people in the future are going to go to the moon for a long time, they will need breathable air and rocket fuel. Fortunately, the European Space Agency (ESA) has found a way to obtain both components using the Earth satellite itself.
ESA researchers have developed a prototype factory that converts lunar dust into oxygen, which can be used to breathe or create rocket fuel. The new method of oxygen production involves the use of regolith (the surface layer of loose lunar soil), a high content of oxygen was found in it, which is released by electrolysis of molten salt.
Regolith is added to a bowl with molten calcium chloride heated to 950 ° C, even at this temperature, the lunar soil remains solid. Then an electric current is applied to the mixture, which draws oxygen out of the regolith. In this case, the molten salt acts as an electrolyte, passing oxygen, which is then collected on a special electrode.
There is still a lot to be done before this invention can be used in the exploration of the moon. So far, ESA's development can only extract oxygen, but not store it. The fully operational technology is planned to be sent to the moon in the mid-2020s.