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Heat Pipe Solar Receiver for Oxygen Production of Lunar Regolith, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Heat Pipe Solar Receiver for Oxygen Production of Lunar Regolith, Phase II
Researchers have determined that lunar soil contains approximately 43% oxygen in the lunar soil oxides, which could be extracted to provide breathable oxygen for consumption by astronauts. The proposed program will develop a solar receiver for the hydrogen reduction process that uses sodium heat pipes in the 1050oC temperature range. The heat pipe solar receiver is accepts the non-uniform solar thermal energy, and deliver the energy to the lunar regolith with a uniform heat flux and temperature. This increases throughput and efficiency. The principal Phase II program objective is to design, fabricate, and demonstrate a heat pipe solar receiver in a relevant environment and near optimum configuration. While the Phase I program focused on a single heat pipe solar receiver and regolith reactor, the Phase II program will examine variable-conductance or pressure-controlled heat pipes to supply the heat supplied from a single receiver to multiple reactors. The program will examine control schemes to vary the heat supplied to each reactor, hydrogen permeation, and evaluation of the heat pipe wall materials. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.