Little House on the Moon?
Thanks to a $207,485 grant from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USD Associate Professor of chemistry Ranjit Koodali is in the process of helping NASA develop structures that will make it possible for people to live on the moon.
"We need materials that are mechanically very strong and thermally insulating, yet very lightweight, because we have to transport them," said Koodali.
Through the collaboration with Chemistry Prof. Rick Wang, students from USD, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, NASA research scientists, and industrial partners, Koodali believes they can develop a substance that could work. It's made out of silica, which has the same chemical composition as sand.
Professor Koodali has also developed a method cited by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to rapidly create a novel material that generates hydrogen in the presence of water and sunlight. The results of this research could lead to further developments of an alternative fuel source using solar energy.
"With assistance from post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students at USD, this research expands our understanding of how to generate fuel using visible sunlight rather than ultraviolet light," says Koodali. "Because the hydrogen generation occurs at room temperature, the process will easily scale up to large production volumes. Applications of the new material range from removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the mitigation of environmental pollution."
|Ranjit Koodali Faculty Bio