THE ARTEMIS PROJECT
PRIVATE ENTERPRISE ON THE MOON
Lunar Agriculture
Section 2.12.1.1.
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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 chemical fertilizer.

Reference

O'Neil, Gerrard. The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. New York: William Morrow and Company. 1972.

Lunar Agriculture

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