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Hydrogen Plasma Reduction of Lunar Regolith for In-Space Fabrication

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2006 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Plasma Processes, LLC
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35811-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2006
Title: Hydrogen Plasma Reduction of Lunar Regolith for In-Space Fabrication
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNM06AA67C
Award Amount: $70,000.00


Tools for extracting resources from the moon are needed to support future space missions. Of particular interest is the production of raw materials for in-space fabrication. In addition, oxygen and water for habitat and propulsion purposes is needed. The only practical source for these materials is the decomposition of lunar soil, regolith. Proposed herein is an innovative hydrogen plasma reduction technique for the production of nanosize metal powders and water from lunar regolith. This technique is characterized by its high temperatures and rapid quenching. Due to the extremely high temperatures involved, material injected into the plasma flame can be vaporized and dissociated very rapidly into elemental form. Rapid quenching of the vapor prevents the growth of nucleated products while providing insufficient time for them to recombine with the oxygen. This allows the possibility of producing nanosize metal powders and the generation of water vapor. The result of this program will be the development of a lunar regolith hydrogen plasma reduction method for producing nanosize metal powders for in-space fabrication and water vapor for life-support, habitat, and propulsion use.

Principal Investigator:

John O'Dell
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Timothy N. McKechnie
Small Business Information at Submission:

Plasma Processes, Inc.
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35811

EIN/Tax ID: 631100320
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No