Evaluation of Magnesium as a Hall Thruster Propellant
Oxygen, metals, silicon, and glass are raw materials that will be required for long-term habitation and production of structural materials and solar arrays on the Moon. A process sequence is proposed for refining these materials from lunar regolith, consisting of separating the required materials from lunar rock with fluorine. The fluorine is brought to the Moon in the form of potassium fluoride, and is liberated from the salt by electrolysis in a eutectic salt melt. Tetrafluorosilane produced by this process is reduced to silicon by a plasma reduction stage; the fluorine salts are reduced to metals by reaction with metallic potassium. Fluorine is recovered from residual MgF and CaF2 by reaction with K2O. Published by Elsevier Ltd.