Rotherham-headquartered specialist metals technology company Metalysis has secured funding to support a project to investigate a method of producing oxygen in space.
The company has been awarded European Space Agency funding to support a project titled The Metalysis FFC Process for Extra-Terrestrial Oxygen Production from ISRU.
Metalysis’ process has recently been proven for the industrial-scale production of metals and alloys. An investigation will now be undertaken into the potential application of this process to regolith-like materials in a lunar context.
An initial proof of concept study has resulted in a metallic powder where 96 per cent of the total oxygen is successfully extracted, in conjunction with giving a mixed metal alloy product that can be used for in-situ manufacturing.
Ian Mellor, managing director at Metalysis, said: “We are really pleased Metalysis is involved in this exciting programme; taking an established earth-based technology and applying it to a lunar setting.
“The fact that the process is capable of simultaneously producing both oxygen and metal powders is unique, offering potential solutions to two key areas of the ESA Space Resources Strategy.”
Sue Horne, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency, added: “In the future, if we want to travel extensively in space and set up bases on the Moon and Mars, then we will need to make or find the things required to support life – food, water and breathable air.
“The involvement of Metalysis in a programme that aims to do just that, by producing oxygen on a lunar setting, will showcase the UK’s space credentials on the world-stage and help unlock breakthroughs that bring future space exploration a step closer.”
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