A_M_Swallow - 26/4/2008 5:31 PM
wingod - 26/4/2008 5:25 AM
I continue to be amazed at long time spacers who do not understand that ISRU is far closer than anyone thinks, based upon a lot of work in the mining industry here on the Earth that wins metals out of poorer and poorer quality ores.
There are many processes that win metals and oxygen from regolith that can be put on an Atlas or Delta vehicle and sent to the Moon directly. 3600 kg from a Delta IV Heavy is a pretty darn good payload.
This is why we must bring in a wider community than is currently the case with aerospace engineers in the return to the Moon.
Has anyone written and costed a plan for producing lunar ISRU materials within say 5 years?
Mike Duke has. I have his recent charts. There is a lot of stuff that is going on well outside of the aerospace community such as the cast basalt used for water pipes in Germany, acid leach methods for copper, gold, and platinum mining in Africa. There was also work by Rockwell that was never published using magma electrolysis and flourine methods to get metals and oxygen out of regolith. There has been some recent work on the Carbonyl process that has been published. Just google nickel carbonyl for more info. Mark Sonter from Australia did his masters thesis on metals processing on asteroids that also pertains to lunar resources of these metals.
There was a good paper at the LPSC this year (2045.pdf) that basically validates my hypothesis regarding the surviviability of low velocity impactors.
I am pretty well plugged into what is going on.