Using Microwaves for Extracting Water From the Moon

Edwin Ethridge
Senior Materials Scientist, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Published in 2009

A scientific hypothesis states that cryogenic trapped water is just under the surface of lunar soil at the poles in permanently shadowed craters. Microwave energy can be used to efficiently extract this water from permafrost. COMSOL permits calculation of the heating of simulated lunar soil using measured temperature dependent dielectric properties. Calculations at different microwave frequencies will allow the evaluation of the type of hardware that would be needed to most efficiently extract the water and other volatiles.

Keynote speaker's biography:

Dr. Edwin Ethridge is a senior materials scientist in the Materials & Processes Laboratory at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. For many years he has had interest in the utilization of extraterrestrial materials for utilization in the development of space systems. Currently Dr. Ethridge has a NASA-HQ LASER grant to investigate the use of microwaves for the extraction of volatiles from lunar soil including water cryotrapped at the poles.

Dr. Edwin Ethridge was one of the keynote speakers at the COMSOL User's Conference, fall 2009 in Boston.