Water contained in the upper layers of the lunar regolith can be vaporized and extracted by microwaving the surrounding soil particles.
Lunar regolith has a very low thermal conductivity due to the vacuum environment. This makes it harder to directly vaporize water ice contained in the dust. However, we can indirectly heat the water ice by microwaving the surrounding regolith particles. Vaporized water can then be extracted as it condenses near the surface and transforms back into ice inside a cold trap.
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- Edwin Ethridge and William Kaukler, “Microwave Extraction of Water from Lunar RegolithSimulant,” STAIF 2007, February 2007, Albuquerque, NM