If we are ever going to live on other worlds, oxygen is going to be a main ingredient for us to exist upon their surfaces. Although we will have to find ways to “export it” to most potential colony spots, a new invention may make that unnecessary for the Moon.
(Universe Today) Fortunately lunar soil – or regolith – is almost half oxygen. NASA researchers are using a technique called vacuum pyrolysis, where the regolith is heated until it releases oxygen. Light from the Sun was focused by a lens to heat lunar soil to 2,500 degrees C. As much as 20% of the soil was converted to free oxygen, and the leftover slag could be used for bricks, radiation shielding or pavement. [...]
“All you have to do is vaporize the stuff,” says Eric Cardiff of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He leads one of several teams developing ways to provide astronauts oxygen they’ll need on the Moon and Mars.
The more I seem to look at the moon, the more promising it seems to colonize its surface. Although some have advocated going to Mars first, the Moon is not only a lot closer, but probably much more valuable as well.
Pulling oxygen from moon rocks would not only be a benefit towards future colonists on the moon–it would also benefit future colonies on Mars, Mercury and any asteroid colonies as well.