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In situ availability: abundant
Necessity: critical
Atomic number: 8
Atomic mass: 15.9994
group: 16
period: 2
normal phase: Gas
series: Non-metals
density: 1.429 g/L
melting point: 54.36K,
boiling point: 0.20K,
N ← O → F
Atomic radius (pm): 60
Bohr radius (pm): 48
Covalent radius (pm): 73
Van der Waals radius (pm): 152
ionic radius (pm): (-2) 140
1st ion potential (eV): 13.62
Electron Configuration
2s2 2p4
Electrons Per Shell
2, 6
Electronegativity: 3.44
Electron Affinity: 1.46
Oxidation states: -2
Magnetism: Paramagnetic
Crystal structure: Cubic

Oxygen is a Non-metal in group 16. It has a Cubic crystalline structure. This element has 3 stable isotopes: 16, 17, and 18.

LUNOX is short for Lunar Oxygen, which is oxygen harvested from resources available on the moon. Oxygen is a major requirement for sustaining any human presence on the lunar surface, useful both for life support and also as a major component of rocket fuel. Lunar Oxygen production is one category of In Situ Resource Utilization, or ISRU.

Methods of LUNOX Production

Most of the methods of lunar oxygen production envision the reduction of lunar regolith or rocks to liberate oxygen, although another possible method of harvesting oxygen is to free small amounts of trapped gas from soil by heating. Reduction methods include:

In lunar oxygen production, it is necessary that the net reactions be limited to the planned raw materials being converted to oxygen and the planned tailings. Catalysts and other reactants must be returned to their initial states as much as is possible.

External Links


One reference useful as an overview is The Moon: Resources, Future Development, and Colonization, by David Schrunk, Burton Sharpe, Bonnie Cooper and Madhu Thangavelu.

From review by Arthur Smith on ADB: "In particular Appendix E's coverage of oxygen extraction is extremely thorough, and the authors, while finding it somewhat difficult to directly compare techniques, find 4 of the approaches worthy of considerable further research: hydrogen reduction of glass, magma electrolysis, sulfuric acid dissolution/electrolysis, and ion sputtering."

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