In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

§ 4.4.1 Electrolysis of Minerals

Electrolysis is a simple process using electric voltage and current to separate minerals into metals, oxygen, and any desired oxides. You melt the minerals, put in electrodes, and apply a voltage. The metals go to the negative electrode (cathode) and the oxygen goes to the positive electrode (anode). Electrolysis can also be used to split up a mineral into metal oxides rather than pure metal, e.g., for making special ceramics. Careful selection of electrode voltages, currents, temperature, and optional additives to the melt can tune the process to extract certain desired substances. Researchers have successfully electrolyzed a variety of synthetic lunar materials with no additives whatsoever, as well as by adding small quanitites of salts (e.g., calcium carbonate, sulfides). There are tradeoffs involved in various electrolysis system designs.

From the General Dynamics mission scenario: "Because of the effects of vacuum on the vapor pressures of metals at various temperatures, metals will be liberated at the cathode in solid, liquid and vapor form. Aluminum, calcium, sodium, potassium and manganese would be in vapor form, iron and silicon may be liquid or solid depending on bath temperature, while titanium will deposit on the cathode in solid form."

"[S]eparation [of the different metals] can also be achieved by vacuum distillation" whereby the resultant metal is heated to the different liquification or boiling temperatures of the different metals to extract each one separately.

Citing a Bureau of Mines research effort, "The electrolysis of lunar soil has been demonstrated using earth derived volcanic rocks to simulate lunar material. This study had the objective of extracting oxygen from lunar soil; and demonstrated that oxygen was evolved at the anode and free metals, including silicon, iron, aluminum and others, accumulated on the cathode."

Aluminum is commonly produced on Earth by electrolysis. About one-third to one-fourth the cost of aluminum is the cost of the electricity for electrolysis. This is why aluminum ore is often shipped by railroad to other states for processing into aluminum, where the electricity price is lower.

NASA/SSI-sponsored "vacuum distillation" experiments on simulated lunar soil is covered elsewhere in the PERMANENT industrial section for producing iron, silicon, and an aluminum-calcium oxide compound. The authors, EMEC Consultants, state that the aluminum and calcium are then readily extractable by electrolysis after dissolving the calcium aluminate in a CaF2-LiF molten salt electrolyte.

The Space Engineering Research Center is performing work on solid oxide electrolysis ovens for utilization of lunar and asteroidal materials. These electrolysis ovens are called MiniMOX and MOXCE. > Manufacturing, Industry > Materials Processing > Electrolysis


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

The Permanent Space Development Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
If you would like to make a quick donation to our humanistic cause,
then please click on one of the buttons below (which go to PayPal).

... or by cryptocurrency (which is NOT tax deductible), you can donate into any of these wallets:





... or ...

Suggest this website to other people and organizations.

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If you are interested in hiring our expertise, anywhere in the world, please contact us.
We have people in the USA and Thailand, and can travel or consult by internet.
You can call anytime, 24/7, at +66-8-1135-7977

Text by Mark Prado, Copyright © 1983-2021, All Rights Reserved.
Many website artistic design elements by Sam Fraser, Copyright © 1999-2021, All Rights Reserved.

Except where specifically stated otherwise,
Copyright © 1983-2021 by Mark Evan Prado, All Rights Reserved


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