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Under the Moon’s Surface There’s Enough Oxygen to Keep Billions Alive For 100,000 Years

Wait, what?

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How is this even possible?

Much work and money has recently been invested in technologies that could allow effective space-resource utilization. These efforts have been centered on identifying the optimum technique to manufacture oxygen on the Moon.

In October, the Australian Space Agency and NASA agreed to send an Australian-built rover to the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

The Moon has an atmosphere, however it is thin and largely made up of hydrogen, neon, and argon. That type of gaseous mixture cannot support oxygen-dependent mammals like humans.

However, the Moon has plenty of oxygen. It’s just not a gas. Instead, it’s locked in regolith, the Moon’s surface layer of rock and fine dust.

Can we get enough oxygen from regolith to support human life on the Moon?

Many minerals in the earth contain oxygen. And the Moon is primarily formed of Earth’s rocks (although with a slightly greater amount of material that came from meteors).

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Silica, aluminum, iron, and magnesium oxides are abundant on the Moon. It’s only that our lungs can’t access it.

On the Moon, these minerals exist as hard rock, dust, gravel, and stones. Over millennia, meteorites smashing into the lunar surface created this substance.

Some call the Moon’s surface layer “soil.” Soil is a unique and miraculous substance found exclusively on Earth. Over millions of years, millions of species worked on the soil’s primary material, regolith (hard rock).

The outcome is a mineral matrix not found in the original rocks. Soil has extraordinary physical, chemical, and biological properties. On the other hand, the Moon’s surface is mostly unaltered regolith.

The regolith on the Moon contains about 45% oxygen. But that oxygen is locked up in those minerals. We need to put in energy to break those tight relationships.

On Earth, this method is utilized to make aluminum. To separate aluminum from oxygen, an electrical current is conducted through a liquid form of aluminum oxide (usually termed alumina).

In this situation, oxygen is a byproduct. On the Moon, the oxygen is the main product, and the aluminum (or other metal) is a byproduct.

It’s a simple process, but it’s also quite energy intensive. It would need to be powered by solar energy or other lunar resources to be sustainable.

Making oxygen from regolith would necessitate heavy industrial equipment. First, we’d need to melt solid metal oxide with solvents or electrolytes.

It’s possible now, but getting it to the Moon and running it will be difficult.

Space Applications Services, a Belgian business, stated earlier this year that it was developing three experimental electrolysis reactors. They hope to send it to the Moon by 2025 as part of the European Space Agency’s ISRU project.

But, if we succeed, how much oxygen will the Moon provide? Actually, quite a bit.

We can estimate the amount of oxygen in the Moon’s regolith if we ignore the deeper hard rock stuff.

Lunar regolith includes 1.4 tons of minerals, including 630 kilos of oxygen per cubic meter. NASA estimates that we need 800 g of oxygen every day to survive. So 630 kg oxygen would last two years (or just over).

Assume the regolith on the Moon is 10 meters deep and we can extract all the oxygen from it. That means the top ten meters of the Moon’s surface could support all 8 billion people on Earth for about 100,000 years if they wanted.

This depends on how well we extract and utilize oxygen. This figure is mind-blowing!

While this is all amazing, life on Earth is very precious. And we should safeguard the blue planet, which sustains all terrestrial life without our help.

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Corruption

Turns Out Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Shameless Pedophile

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Long hailed as one of the fathers of quantum physics, celebrated physicist Erwin Schrödinger is now being reevaluated after damning evidence was published that shows that the scientist was a pedophile and serial “sexual predator.”

Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian-Irish scientist remembered for his 1935 thought experiment “Schrödinger’s Cat,” was exposed as a pedophile by The Irish Times in a December report detailing his unapologetic record as a serial abuser of young girls and women.

Since the report’s publication, academics and faculties across the globe have been distancing themselves from the physicist and launching petitions to remove his name from their facilities.

The physicist made foundational contributions to quantum theory and is largely responsible for the current craze for quantum computing, but his extracurricular activities have been exposed as being fundamentally exploitative and abusive toward girls and women.

According to 2012 biography Erwin Schrödinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin, which the Irish Times cited, the physicist became preoccupied with, and groomed, a 14-year-old girl named Itha Junger after becoming her math tutor. Schrödinger, who was middle-aged at the time, impregnated her when she was 17.

That year, Junger became pregnant and resorted to a horrific abortion that left her sterile, leaving the relationship in tatters.

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The physicist also kept a record of his sexual exploits, which included being “infatuated” with a 12-year-old girl named Barbara. He only relented from pursuing the child after her family members protested. He later wrote in his diaries that the child was “among the unrequited loves of his life”.

Schrödinger, Life and Thought author Walter Moore noted that the physicist’s scummy attitude towards women “was essentially that of a male supremacist.”

Students and lecturers are now rejecting the scientist. In his adopted country, Ireland, a petition has been launched to change the title of a facility at Dublin’s Trinity University that’s named after him.

 “It seems in bad taste that a modern college such as Trinity – one that holds lectures to both men and women, one that (hopefully) rejects the abuse of women, of young girls or, indeed, of anyone – would honour this man with an entire building,” the petition reads.

“We can acknowledge the great mark Schrodinger has left on science through our study, and this petition does not wish to diminish the impact his lectures or ideas had in physics.”

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China’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Shatters Records, Burning Five Times Hotter Than The Real Thing

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Ready to have your mind blown? According to a report from Xinhua, China’s “artificial sun,” a nuclear fusion tokamak reactor that has the potential to produce practically endless quantities of emission-free energy, established a new record on Thursday by operating at a high-plasma temperature for 1,056 seconds.

The tokamak reactor is referred to as EAST, which is an acronym that stands for “Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak”. It is situated in Hefei, China, and it just set a new world record by running for 101 seconds at a temperature of 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (120 million degrees Celsius).

The EAST tokamak reactor.

Now THAT is HOT.

EAST is one of several global tokamak fusion experiments meant to imitate the sun and stars. Fusion occurs when two atoms collide to produce a heavier nucleus. When this happens, huge quantities of energy are released. Several high-profile fusion projects are attempting to harness this power that is released to remove the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.

According to CGTN, the EAST experiment has achieved a number of significant milestones on the path to commercially feasible nuclear fusion. These include attaining a one-million-ampere current and creating a one-hundred-million-degree temperature for a length of 1,000 seconds. Currently, the EAST engineers are tasked with meeting these two objectives at the same time.

The World is Watching The Fusion Race, But It Still Needs Work

To make fusion work, scientists must create more energy than fusion reactors use. Creating more energy than being used hasn’t been feasible yet (some Nikola Tesla theorists will debate that with you for days), but recent scientific advances are bringing the scientific community closer to this goal.

Commonwealth Fusion Systems is another example of a technology being developed to create more energy than it uses. They stated in September that they had successfully tested a magnet that could operate at 20 teslas of magnetic strength while requiring just 30 watts of electricity.

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These kinds of advancements will enable the scientific community to steadily increase the efficiency of these “artificial suns,” lowering the enormous amount of energy necessary to operate them in the first place.

Scientists may be able to soon unleash net-fusion energy on the planet soon as a result of their efforts, eventually leading to a world free from fossil fuels. Imagine that.

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NASA Releases Wild Footage of Its Solar Probe Actually ‘Touching the Sun’

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A NASA probe covered in an advanced carbon heat shell as well as ground-up animal bones has made the landmark achievement of actually“touching” the Sun’s atmosphere earlier this year, according to the space agency.

The tiny Parker Solar Probe traversed the treacherous environment of the star’s upper atmosphere known as the corona and “touched the Sun,” according to a statement by the agency, collecting important data on the solar atmosphere.

“Parker Solar Probe ‘touching the Sun’ is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate admin of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

During the important trek, the probe also collected a trove of images that have since been compiled into a spectacular video that shows an unprecedentedly close look at the Sun:

The Solar Probe can be seen traversing the solar atmosphere known as a pseudostreamer, which are massive ribbon-like structures that can be seen during solar eclipses.

 “Passing through the pseudostreamer was like flying into the eye of a storm,” a statement reads on the NASA website. “Inside the pseudostreamer the conditions quieted, particles slowed and the number of switchbacks dropped — a dramatic change from the busy barrage of particles the spacecraft usually encounters in the solar wind.”

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As NASA explains, switchbacks are magnetic zig-zag structures in the solar wind that are plentiful within the solar atmosphere. While these were previously believed to be rare occurrences, the Parker probe found that they are rife throughout the solar wind.

 “We see evidence of being in the corona from magnetic field data, solar wind data, and visually in white-light images,” said Parker Solar Probe project scientist Nour Raouafi of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

The video’s capture is truly an amazing feat considering that it was blasting through the solar atmosphere at a withering speed of 142 kilometers per second, and scientists are optimistic that it will help us significantly advance our understanding of how the Sun works.

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