MIT AeroAstro | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Lunar Soil Beneficiation for Molten Regolith Electrolysis Reactors
Molten Regolith Electrolysis (MRE) is a technique for extracting water and iron from lunar soil (regolith), resources which can be used to create steel for space-exploration infrastructure and support human activity respectively. Increasing the metal content of regolith before smelting (beneficiation) would increase MRE reactor output. This project aims to develop a prototype for a lunar soil beneficiation system in three stages: identifying an optimal combination of techniques, validating results from literature through testing, and designing a compact module combining the selected methods. Testing the prototype’s output involves feeding the system with lunar regolith simulant inside a vacuum chamber and analyzing a sample’s mineral content with Energy-dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy.
Inspired by the dream of returning people to the moon, I have conducted space systems engineering research for three years. I wish to apply my skills in a SuperUROP to help develop technologies that will support the goal of lunar-based manufacturing. With global interest in establishing a permanent human presence on the lunar surface, I believe in-space manufacturing’s importance will only increase, and I cannot wait to contribute to the field.