By Katherine Schauer NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md. — As we venture forward to the Moon and establish a sustained lunar presence, finding and understanding water on the lunar surface becomes increasingly important. Lunar water is largely in the form of, but not necessarily limited to, water ice. Astronauts on the Moon could use this ice for various crew needs, potentially including rocket fuel.
The Lunar IceCube mission, led by Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, will study water distribution and interaction on the Moon. The mission will carry a NASA instrument called Broadband InfraRed Compact High-Resolution Exploration Spectrometer (BIRCHES) to investigate the distribution of water and other organic volatiles. NASA scientists will use this data to understand where the water is on the Moon, its origins and how we can use it.
Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider and ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner commit to strengthening international collaboration in the field of space resources research and innovation, during a visit to the European Astronaut Centre, in Cologne.
Europe must be an active player and create opportunities to position itself as key partner in the next space resources related activities and missions.
European Space Agency and the Luxembourg Space Agency have, together, identified common objectives for research and development.
LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — Following the setup of SpaceResources.lu initiative in 2016 to promote and develop the research, economic and legal aspects of space resources, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) established a working group to explore the opportunities for international cooperation in the field of space resources.
GLASGOW, Scotland (ESA PR) — On the left side of this before and after image is a pile of simulated lunar soil, or regolith; on the right is the same pile after essentially all the oxygen has been extracted from it, leaving a mixture of metal alloys. Both the oxygen and metal could be used in future by settlers on the Moon.
Samples returned from the lunar surface confirm that lunar regolith is made up of 40-45% percent oxygen by weight, its single most abundant element.
Astrobotic, Blue Origin, ExoTerra, Paragon and SpaceX among contract awardees for advanced technologies
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 14 American companies as partners whose technologies will help enable the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.
The selections are based on NASA’s fourth competitive Tipping Point solicitation and have a combined total award value of about $43.2 million. This investment in the U.S. space industry, including small businesses across the country, will help bring the technologies to market and ready them for use by NASA.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Joint Statement on Cooperation in Lunar Exploration
During their September 24, 2019, meeting at JAXA Headquarters in Tokyo, NASA Administrator James Bridenstine and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa welcomed the ongoing engagement between their agencies to realize JAXA’s participation in NASA’s Artemis program and vision for the participation of Japanese astronauts in lunar exploration.
EDINBURGH, Scotland (UK Space Agency PR) — UK scientists lead international project to build world’s first space rock mining devices which use bacteria to recover minerals from rocks on the Moon and Mars.
Astronauts will test the devices on board the International Space
Station, following the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
last night (at 23:01 BST, Thursday 25 July) from NASA’s Kennedy Space
Centre at Cape Canaveral.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In a major step toward returning astronauts to the surface of the Moon under the Artemis lunar exploration program and preparing for future missions to Mars, NASA is seeking comments from American companies interested in providing an integrated human landing system to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.
TUCSON , June 27, 2019 (Paragon PR) – Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon), and its partner Giner Inc., are proud to announce that they are now under contract for the development and testing of the ISRU-derived water purification and Hydrogen Oxygen Production (IHOP), a patent-pending subsystem and advancement of the subsystem architecture as part of NASA’s NextSTEP BAA Program.
IHOP is a game changing technology that enables an enduring human presence on the moon and beyond. The IHOP system purifies naturally occurring deposits of water and generates oxygen and hydrogen at commercially competitive scales. Once delivered to the moon, IHOP will provide the water and oxygen needed for a continuous human presence on the moon, and the low cost propellant needed to explore the solar system.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — Designed to explore a metal asteroid that could be the heart of a planet, the Psyche mission is readying for a 2022 launch. After extensive review, NASA Headquarters in Washington has approved the mission to begin the final design and fabrication phase, otherwise known as Phase C. This is when the Psyche team finalizes the system design, develops detailed plans and procedures for the spacecraft and science mission, and completes both assembly and testing of the spacecraft and its subsystems.
ADELAIDE, Australia (University of Adelaide PR) — Work by a team of University of Adelaide scientists to perfect metal and mineral extraction processes is bringing the possibility of mining the wealth contained within asteroids closer to reality. But science fiction won’t become fact until asteroid mining becomes economically as well as technically viable.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Robotically surveying lunar craters in record time and mining resources in space could help NASA establish a sustained human presence at the Moon – part of the agency’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach. Two mission concepts to explore these capabilities have been selected as the first-ever Phase III studies within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — Teams of university students from across the country ‘drilled’ into technology challenges that NASA needs to solve before establishing a sustained human presence on the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program. Similar solutions could eventually be used on Mars.
Although NASA has the moon clearly in its sight, the space agency continues to fund technologies that will use in-situ resources to facilitate human missions to Mars.
NASA has selected OxEon Energy and Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics for Small Business Innovation Research Phase II (SBIR) awards for technology that would extract carbon dioxide from the martian atmosphere to produce oxygen and fuel. The contracts are worth up to $750,000 over two years.