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We are on our way back to the moon, and this time our stay will hopefully endure longer than during the Apollo program. Hopefully, we'll be able to build colonies on the moon, but for that to happen, we need to be able to live off the resources available on-site.
A necessity is, of course, oxygen, and according to an article in The Conversation, that's a resource that's plentiful on the moon.
Each cubic meter of lunar soil, regolith, contains 1.4 tons of minerals and 630 kilos of oxygen. A person needs about 800 grams of oxygen per day to survive. This means that the oxygen in a cubic meter of regolith would be enough for two years for a human being.
Extracting oxygen is also not very difficult. We already produce oxygen today as a by-product of aluminum production. The same process could be used on the moon to extract metals and oxygen from the regolith.
The regolith on the moon is, on average, ten meters thick. As a thought experiment, if we were to extract all that regolith, the oxygen in it would be enough for eight billion people for 100,000 years.
Now it is not likely that the entire population of the earth will move to the moon, but it shows that there is enough oxygen even for large colonies. And then we will still have plenty of oxygen that we can use for rocket fuel, for example.
Image: Pixabay / Ponciano