Israeli innovation allows oxygen to be produced from the moon’s surface

An Israeli start-up has developed a method to produce oxygen from the lunar surface.

The project, called HELIOS, after the company behind it, has received funding from the Israel Space Agency and is expected to develop a system that will launch two missions to space in the next three years.

The technology behind the ambitious idea is based on a special furnace designed to extract oxygen and various metals directly from the Moon’s surface, without the need for additional materials from Earth.

This means potentially dependent technology that would enable future human settlements on the Moon to literally live off the land for long periods of time without requiring constant supplies from Earth.

“The technology we have developed is part of a value chain that will allow us to establish permanent bases beyond the confines of planet Earth,” said Jonathan Geifman, CEO and co-founder of HELIOS, stressing the importance of focus on basic infrastructure and the ability to produce raw materials from natural resources “to avoid endless transportation of equipment”. Jonathan Geifman, CEO and Co-Founder of HELIOS (Credit: Chaya Gold)Jonathan Geifman, CEO and Co-Founder of HELIOS (Credit: Chaya Gold)

And while the oxygen produced by HELIOS could potentially serve astronauts to breathe, most of it would be used to launch and control space vehicles because of its part in the chemical process that leads to a combustion reaction.

According to HELIOS, “the current cost of launching materials and equipment to the Moon, Mars and beyond limits the chances of long-term alien human presence.” But about 45% of the total mass of the surface of Mars and the moon is suitable for the extraction of oxygen, the company says.

This comes in handy, given the mind-boggling amount of oxygen required for space travel. About 10 tons of oxygen are needed to support four astronauts on their journey to the moon and back. In comparison, the launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX multipurpose spaceship is expected to cost around 850 tons of oxygen.

More than 50 missions to the moon are planned over the next five years, requiring large amounts of oxygen. This is especially true given the recently announced partnership between NASA and SpaceX, which aims to bring astronauts to the moon for the first time as early as 2024 sine 1972.

But this time, the intention is to leave more than one flag – a permanent station. And this is where the Israeli company’s unique innovation can play an important role.

“HELIOS ‘revolutionary technology … will make launch costs cheaper, enable more cargo, and enable long-term human presence in deep space in the future,” said Avi Blasberger, director general of the Israel Space Agency, who is part of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.

“We expect humanity’s return to the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program will create significant business opportunities for the Israeli space industry and the space industry as a whole,” added Blasberger, concluding by congratulating HELIOS, “a. pioneering Israeli start-up. ”for leading such an important development.

HELIOS was founded to update the vision of Earth-independent space exploration, according to its website. Notable names currently involved in the HELIOS project include William Larson, a former NASA project manager specializing in resource utilization; Bertil Andersson, former general manager of the European Science Foundation, and Yoav Landsman, a senior engineer who worked on the Beresheet project, which was Israel’s first attempt to land on the moon.