Nutrient Mixing System for Future Lunar Greenhouses

Greenhouse concept for use on the moon and Mars. (Credit: LIQUIFER Systems Group)

BREMEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The development of greenhouse systems is essential in order to enable life on the moon and Mars in the long term in the future. This requires bio-regenerative life support systems that close vital cycles. After more than a year of joint design and development work in cooperation between the Dutch company Priva and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), two prototypes of a nutrient mixing system for future lunar and Mars greenhouses have now been completed and installed. Tests of the promising systems begin in the DLR’s EDEN laboratory in Bremen. The aim is to set up a 1: 1 demonstrator of a lunar greenhouse system there by 2025.

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NASA, Australia Sign Agreement to Add Rover to Future Moon Mission

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — International and commercial partnerships are a critical component of NASA’s long-term plans on and around the Moon under the Artemis program. The agency recently signed a new agreement with the Australian Space Agency that will further support human and robotic lunar operations for both countries.

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NASA Seeks Commercial Spacesuit Services Proposals

Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. NASA’s Artemis mission will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Artemis moonwalkers exploring the lunar South Pole will wear revolutionary spacesuits that stand up to the Moon’s harsh environment and keep them safe. NASA is embracing commercial partnerships to optimize spacesuit technology and inspire pioneering in the space market.

NASA published a request for proposal (RFP) Sept. 29  for companies to compete for the agency’s future purchase of spacesuits and support services for spacewalks on the International Space Station, during Artemis lunar surface missions, and as needed on Gateway in lunar orbit. 

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SpaceIL Issues Global Call for Experiment Proposals to Fly on Beresheet2 Lunar Space Mission

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 4, 2021 (SpaceIL PR) — “Beresheet2” mission of the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL is expected to be launched in Q4/2024. This is an historic opportunity for a scientific and educational breakthrough that will reach the young generation. SpaceIL sent out a “call for proposals” to receive proposals from organizations around the world for scientific experiments regarding the space mission of Beresheet2.

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Airbus Defence and Space, Mexican Space Agency and Mexican Start-up Dereum Labs to Collaborate on Lunar Resources Extraction Technologies

The ROXY system will extract oxygen and metals from lunar regolith. (Credit: Airbus)

Mexican Space Agency support will help create a new In-Situ Resources Utilisation Programme

Mexico, 24 September 2021– Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and the Mexican start-up Dereum Labs to collaborate on the technologies needed for lunar resources extraction. This will lead to the creation of a new Mexican In-Situ Resources Utilisation (ISRU) Programme for lunar extraction and help develop the necessary industrial ecosystem for this technology in-country.

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EPSC 2021: Exotic Mix in China’s Delivery of Moon Rocks

Panoramic image taken after sampling of the lunar surface by Chang’e-5. The four dark trenches in the lower right corner of this image are where samples were collected. Abundant centimetre-sized boulders exist on the surface around the Chang’e-5 landing site. [Credit: CNSA (China National Space Administration) / CLEP (China Lunar Exploration Program) / GRAS (Ground Research Application System)]

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — On 16 December 2020 the Chang’e-5 mission, China’s first sample return mission to the Moon, successfully delivered to Earth nearly two kilograms of rocky fragments and dust from our celestial companion.  

Chang’e-5 landed on an area of the Moon not sampled by the NASA Apollo or the Soviet Luna missions nearly 50 years ago, and thus retrieved fragments of the youngest lunar rocks ever brought back for analysis in laboratories on Earth. The rocks are also different to those returned decades ago. Early-stage findings, which use geological mapping to link ‘exotic’ fragments in the collected samples to features near the landing site, have been presented by Mr Yuqi Qian, a PhD student at the China University of Geosciences, at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 virtual meeting.

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EPSC 2021: Life Support Cooked up From Lunar Rocks

Artist impression of a Moon Base concept. (Credit: ESA – P. Carril)

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — Engineers have successfully shown how water and oxygen can be extracted by cooking up lunar soil, in order to support future Moon bases. A laboratory demonstrator, developed by a consortium of the Politecnico Milano, the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency and the OHB Group, is presented this week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021.

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China, Russia Hold International Lunar Research Station Seminar

China/Russia International Lunar Research Station seminar. (Credit: CNSA)

ZHUHAI, China (CNSA PR) — On September 27, 2021, a closed-door seminar on the International Lunar Research Station jointly sponsored by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Roscosmos was held in Zhuhai. Experts from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, ESA, and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization conducted special seminars on the declaration of the International Lunar Research Station.

In March 2021, China and Russia signed the “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperative Construction of International Lunar Research Stations.” At present, the declaration of the International Lunar Research Station jointly drafted by China and Russia clarifies the general principles, joining methods and activity guidelines for the construction of the International Lunar Research Station. 

The international consultation on the declaration of the International Lunar Research Station is the common expectation of the international community, and it is also an important part of the steady promotion of the cooperation process of the International Lunar Research Station between China and Russia.

The Declaration of the International Lunar Research Station will serve as an important document for follow-up cooperation. It is planned to be introduced to the international community at the 72nd International Astronautical Conference in Dubai, UAE in October 2021, and to further listen to the opinions and suggestions of the international community.

Mitigating Lunar Dust: Masten Completes FAST Landing Pad Study

A spacecraft creates its own landing pad using the in-Flight Alumina Spray Technique system. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Masten Space Systems PR) — Landing on the Moon (and staying on the Moon) is no easy task. The lunar surface has limited sunlight, extremely cold temperatures, and lots and lots of dust (a.k.a. lunar regolith). But the good news is, Masten is up for the challenge!

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NASA Releases Interactive Graphic Novel “First Woman”

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released its first digital, interactive graphic novel on Saturday in celebration of National Comic Book Day. “First Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity  imagines the story of Callie Rodriguez, the first woman to explore the Moon.

While Callie’s story is fictional, the first woman and the first person of color will walk on the Moon, achieving these historic milestones as part of NASA’s Artemis missions. Through this graphic novel, NASA aims to inspire the next generation of explorers – the Artemis Generation.

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Masten Mission 1 Lander Name & Patch Revealed

Credit: Masten Space Systems

MOJAVE, Calif. (Masten Space Systems PR) — As you all know by now, Masten is landing on the Moon in 2023! Masten Mission 1 will be the first of many Masten missions to the lunar surface and beyond. And this first mission is kind of a big deal… it will help lay the foundation for future human missions, and it offers a lot of scientific value.

We’re landing at the lunar south pole near the Haworth Crater, which is adjacent to the Malapert massif where the change in elevation exceeds 8 km – an elevation very close to Mt. Everest. This diverse topography offers the potential to explore both near-surface and deep reservoirs to detect lunar ice and volatiles, such as methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia.

Our lunar lander (configuration XL-1) will supply the ride for this important mission, carrying payloads for both NASA and commercial customers. So it’s about time we give XL-1 an official name and mission patch.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Awarded NASA Contract for Orion Spacecraft Main Engine

Artist’s impression of Orion over Earth. (Credit: NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21, 2021 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — NASA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to build the Orion Main Engine (OME), the primary propulsion element for NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will be used to explore deep space. Under the contract, which runs through 2032, Aerojet Rocketdyne will deliver up to 20 new OME engines for use on future Artemis missions beginning with Artemis VII, or to support other NASA-sponsored, deep space exploration missions.

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NASA’s Artemis Rover to Land Near Nobile Region of Moon’s South Pole

A data visualization showing the mountainous area west of Nobile Crater and the smaller craters that litter its rim at the lunar South Pole. The region features areas permanently covered in shadow as well as areas that are bathed in sunlight most of the time. The terrain in the Nobile region is most suitable for the VIPER rover to navigate, communicate, and characterize potential water and other resources. (Credits: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — In 2023, NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will land near the western edge of the Nobile Crater at the Moon’s South Pole to map and explore the region’s surface and subsurface for water and other resources. Part of Artemis, VIPER will launch on a SpaceX Falcon-Heavy rocket for delivery to the Moon by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.

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NASA Empowers Workforce to Advance Deep Space Technologies

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 10 proposals led by early-career employees across the agency for two-year projects that will support the development of new capabilities for deep space human exploration.

These proposals were selected under Project Polaris, a new initiative to support the NASA workforce in efforts to meet the challenges of sending humans to the Moon and Mars. Project Polaris seeks to fill high-priority capability gaps on deep space missions like those planned under Artemis and introduce new technologies into human exploration flight programs. The project also aims to create opportunities for early-career employees across NASA centers to gain experience building and testing flight hardware while developing technologies and reducing risk for future human exploration missions.

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Gateway Vehicle Systems Management Demonstration Completed

Illustration of NASA’s lunar-orbiting Gateway and a human landing system in orbit around the Moon. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — The Advanced Exploration Systems’ (AES) Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) team, including members from NASA Ames’ Intelligent Systems Division, developed and demonstrated new technologies designed to automate the operation of Gateway, a key element of the Artemis mission. (Gateway will be an outpost orbiting the Moon that provides vital support for a long-term human return to the lunar surface, as well as a staging point for deep space exploration.)

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