Lunar Production of Nitric Oxide, a Fertilizer Precursor
One of the principal precursors of chemical fertilizers is nitric
oxide. Assuming a source of nitrogen, be it imports from Earth or
asteroids, pyrolisis of unwanted materials at the lunar outpost, or
volitiles extracted from the lunar regolith, it can be prepared easily.
Although on Earth this process is uneconomical, nitric oxide can be
prepared simply by piping an oxygen-nitrogen mixture through the focus of
an aluminum-foil mirror and using sunlight to heat the pipe to a temperature
of 5000 degrees fahrenheit. This temperature will cause some 2% of the
molecules to dissociate and recombine as the energy-rich precursor of
O'Neil, Gerrard. The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. New York:
William Morrow and Company. 1972.
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