European space agency wants to delve regolith

Jan

22

2019

European space agency wants to delve regolith on the moon before 2025

European space agency ESA has signed a contract with the ArianeGroup to conduct research into the possibility of launching a mission to the moon by 2025. The goal is to gain regolith on the moon for the production of water and oxygen.

The ArianeGroup reports that it cooperates with, among others, the Belgian company Space Applications Services for this research. This company provides the control facilities on the ground. Furthermore, a German start-up called PTScientists is involved in the project to develop the required lunar lander. The companies that participate in this project are all European and provide services for the entire mission, from launch to landing and communication from the lunar surface.

The moon mission aims to extract regolith. Because this ore contains iron oxide, water and oxygen can be extracted. That would enable an independent human presence on the moon, where fuel can be produced for space missions that go deeper into the solar system. Regolite is a mixture of dust, grit, minerals, clay, glass, and lumps of rock and various chemical substances that can be found on the surface.

It is intended that the Ariane 64 rocket is used when the mission is actually performed. This is a version of the Ariane 6 rocket with four thrusters. This Ariane rocket has capacity to carry up to 8,500 kg of cargo to the moon. The Ariane 6 rocket, which is a much cheaper version of the Ariane 5, will be ready in 2020. According to The Telegraph , the ArianeGroup has said that during the mission only robots go to the moon and not people.

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