Moon Space Exploration
Scientists have discovered that there is sufficient oxygen and water on the moon surface. The availability of these compositional materials will promote extraction of the titanium and ilmenite with ease. The oxygen content in the lunar surface necessitates efficient propellant for the extraction of the igneous materials. Plenty water availability, on the other hand, will simplify the crushing mechanism of the ilmenite rocks (Longnecker & Molin 2006, p. 238).
It means that the miners will not encounter many problems in separating the mineral from the rock material. With a number of processes required to extract ilmenite from the lunar rocks, the availability of the water and the oxygen on the moon surface will cut the cost per pass and recycling elements, hence making the extraction process feasible. This is also important in ilmenite reduction process.
|They explore the potential titanium grounds using the Apollo jets. Still, aerospace engineers establish weather focus structures to study the atmospheric variations in the Lunar space.
|Through their highly mechanized machines and hydraulic systems, they excavate the ground surface, eliminating the unnecessary materials until they find the ore bearing minerals. They are critical in determining the safe depth for carrying extraction processes.
|They are useful persons in differentiating the layers of the moon surface that have concentrated layers of the ilmenite. Without sufficient knowledge on the quality of different element could propel extraction low quality titanium.
|They analyze the chemical composition of different elements, thus determining the suitable reagents for the reduction processes. This prevents intoxication of the miners.
|Production and Manufacturing Engineers
|By borrowing the knowledge of chemical engineering, manufacturing engineering utilizes the raw material (oxygen and water) to produce the titanium from ilmenite.
|Ensures that the produced mineral is processed ready for use in the industry. They ensure that the quality of titanium meets all the necessary criteria before it is put into actual use.
The isolation of the Titanium by reduction in the Kroll process has not matched the projected processing capacity in the industry. Scientists indicate that the chloride and carbon elements produced in the Kroll process could multiple levels of impurities, hence exhausting the oxygen that should largely be utilized in the production process. Moreover, the reaction of the chloride elements would progressively intoxicate miners before the mineral is full processed (Burges 2013, p. 211). A modification to ensure the safety of the workers and high quality titanium is the thermal plasma technology (Longnecker & Molin 2006, p. 114). It combines a wide range of activities without exposing the workers to health defects. It saves energy and the utilization of core materials by 20%.
Space exploration has taken a new dimension, especially with potential mining grounds for titanium and ilmenite. However, is moon mining economically feasible? Landing on the moon surface require adequate preparations with skills and weapons for the tasks. It means that private companies must stretch their budget to obtain titanium from moon. With the harmonius collaboration between scientists and private companies, could the developments be exporting problems to moon? Building from the history, every development acts as threat to peaceful coexistence.
Therefore, without pulling strings on the resources of other nations, how much energy would a spacecraft consume before landing to the lunar space? Again, how much will it cost to take the human resource to the moon space? The robotic capabilities, for instance, will support the scientific research and the landing capabilities to the increasingly unsafe zones. In either way, however, scientists must consider other elements such as tools for mining, machines for excavating and the means for transportation. Finally, how could the possibility of finding concentrated water and oxygen at the lunar poles help to improve the economics of lunar resource utilization and space transportation technology?
Scientists have indicated their commitment in the space mission by suggesting the development of a complex automated factory that would ease processing and transportation of large amount of titanium. Moreover, scientific knowledge has been focusing on the availability of the water and hydrogen from the asteroids to promote creation of the rocket fuel for efficient transportation of the titanium and ilmenite minerals. These are critical steps for addressing the issue of economics in the transportation technologies.
The planetary resources have promoted the creation of the space infrastructures, thus lowering the cost of launching the space flights. Using the solar energy, NASA has successfully managed to extract hydrogen fuels from asteroids, making space engineering a reality. A milestone achievement has occurred with emergence of the Automated Mining System (AMS).
Yo, J., Chen, Y. & Glushenkov, A. 2009. Titanium Oxide Nanorods Extracted From Ilmenite
Sands. Crystal Growth & Design, 9(2), 1240-1244.
This book illustrates how the titanium oxide mineral could be utilized in future by lunar settlement in the extraction of oxygen. From an advanced Camera Survey on the crater, rich concentrations of ilmenite form sinuous channels for titanium oxide. The plagioclase concentrate of titanium oxide and the oxides of aluminum and iron could be extracted through carbochlorination process (197). Applying carbochrolination to extract titanium from the titanium oxide enriches the byproducts with alumina and iron oxides that are the end products of the electrolysis process. Additional reduction of the titanium oxide followed by hydrogen promotes sufficing of the products. This process removes all the impurities dissolved in the initial mineral rock.
Jonglertjunya, W. & Rubcumintara, T. 2012. Titanium and Iron dissolutions from
ilmenite by acid leaching and microbiological oxidation techniques. Asia-Pac. J. Chem.
This journal elaborates on the production of the titanium oxide from the slag. This process is made possible by the recovery of the oxygen and carbon dioxide through the extraction process. Fibers glass is used as the binding material, which is made from the lunar soil or solar heating of the raw materials in the furnace. The percentage of the titanium increases with melting of the fine grains in the filament-wounded structures (117). The reduction of ilmenite with hydrogen occurs in a single chemical equation that combines the iron-titanium oxide and water. The hydrogen and oxygen ions electrolyze the titanium oxide to give a pure metal.
Longnecker, D. & Molin, R. 2006. A risk reduction strategy for human exploration of
Space. Washington, D.C.: National Academic Press.
This book recommends for implementation of lunar exploration components for the space explorations. Implementing these science ideas could help to realize the opportunities conceived in the lunar programs. For instance, the availability of the titanium and ilmenite possesses significant reasons for extending the lunar surface. In addition, there availability of the oxygen and hydrogen among other gases indicates that the moon surface has the potentials for supporting survival of the human beings and other creatures (256). This book also focuses on other spectrum of scientific ideas, therefore, leading to special interest in the moon and the lunar science. The goal prioritization of the aerospace knowledge will differentiate between science investigations that can be done on the moon and those that could potentially be competitively conducted on the mood depending on the analysis of costs and technical factors.
National Research Council (U.S.). 2006. Scientific context for exploration of the
moon interim report. Washington, D.C., National Academies Press.
The author of this journal selected ilmenite for Apollo program because it is the prominent mineral on the moon’s surface. In addition, the moon exploration suggests that oxygen production on the moon could become a big business, supplying the needs of NASA not only on the moon but also in low Earth orbit and geostationary orbit (208). Scientist estimates that the exploration of the titanium base on the lunar surface would provide NASA annual requirements of 560,000 kilograms in low Earth orbit for lunar and geostationary orbit transportation. Subsequently, the NASA lox requirement could exists at the time the lunar production plant will be in full operations.
Burges, C. 2013. Moon bound. New York: Springer.
The author of this book contributed to the moon’s exploration program by indicating that large rocks could be fractured by coupling the energy to rock phases with large thermal expansion coefficients such as titanium, aluminum and iron oxides. Then the fractured rocks could be melted and separated into other raw materials or used directly for fabrication into simpler but useful shapes, such as bricks (176). With sufficiently high temperatures, it is possible to decompose lunar material into constituent elements without the need for any chemical feedstocks or further electro-chemical processing. The author also notes that in as much as oxygen is 40 percent by weight of lunar soil, the extraction of oxygen by microwave or thermal plasma technology would be of great utility in the long-term support of a lunar base.
Burges, C. 2013. Moon bound. New York: Springer.
Foster, V. S. 2016. Modern mysteries of the moon: what we still don’t know about our lunar companion. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1080777.
Jonglertjunya, W. & Rubcumintara, T. 2012. Titanium and Iron dissolutions from ilmenite by acid leaching and microbiological oxidation techniques. Asia-Pac. J. Chem. Eng. 8(3), 323-330. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/apj.1663
Longnecker, D. & Molin, R. 2006. A risk reduction strategy for human exploration of space, Washington, D.C.: National Academic Press.
National Research Council (U.S.). 2006. Scientific context for exploration of the moon interim report. Washington, D.C., National Academies Press. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10146769.
Yo, J., Chen, Y. & Glushenkov, A. 2009. Titanium Oxide Nanorods Extracted From Ilmenite Sands. Crystal Growth & Design, 9(2), 1240-1244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/cg801125w