Producing water on the surface of the Moon is now possible thanks to a chemical-physical process that allows oxygen to be extracted from the regolith (lunar sand), as demonstrated by the experiments conducted by the Politecnico di Milano and OHB Italy .
The project, carried out as part of the demonstration mission ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) , conceived and funded by ESA , European Space Agency and with the important contribution of ASI , Italian Space Agency is a fundamental element for the colonization of space , and in particular of the Moon.
The ability of humans to produce water on the lunar surface is of prime importance for the survival of crews over long periods of time. This production capacity also frees future colonies from the use of systems that would require a continuous supply from the Earth.
"The result obtained by the Politecnico di Milano and OHB Italia - says professor Michèle Lavagna of the Politecnico di Milano at the helm of the project - opens up new stimulating perspectives in scope of lunar exploration and a permanent and sustainable human presence. It is a process that presents innovative elements of an exquisitely Italian matrix that places our country in a position of international importance in the scenario of the next extra-terrestrial human exploration activities. "</em
The extraction process takes place using a plant built and installed in the laboratories of the Department of Aerospace Sciences and Technologies of the Politecnico. This plant, after being "fed" with sand simulating the lunar soil, managed to produce water , extracting oxygen from the oxides present in the minerals that make up the soil of the Moon.
“Produrre ossigeno in ambiente lunare – dichiara Roberto Aceti, Alumnus in Aeronautical Engineering and CEO of OHB Italia - testifies how the close collaboration between science, university research and businesses can lead to the development of an industrial product of the highest technological value capable of changing the prospects of our future as well as reconfirming Italy's very high spatial skills on the world stage. "