Inside the Lab That's Turning Moon Water Into Rocket Fuel

Published on February 11, 2020
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Captions provided by CCTubes – Captioning the Internet! The moon’s water could serve as a precious resource for deep space exploration, but how do we actually turn it into rocket fuel?
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To be a space miner, there are a few things you might need: the sun, some lunar soil, a pretty powerful mirror, and the perfect angle.

Mining for resources on the Moon is no longer the subject of science fiction, instead it is becoming a central focus for the space industry today. In order to explore further in space, it is pertinent we find ways to extract and utilize space resources.

In a recently revealed exploration manifest for the Artemis program, NASA laid out a prospective timeline to establish a sustainable lunar outpost by 2028. And a key technique that’ll help make this whole vision possible is ISRU, or in situ resource utilization.

ISRU means taking and using the resources or the building blocks that already exist in space instead of launching resources on a rocket from Earth.

The roadmap to a future propellant depot starts with testing out robotic sampling and drilling systems. And that’s where Honeybee Robotics, a team of space engineers, comes in.

Honeybee Robotics technology is made to be transferable, meaning it can be used for a variety of different missions because the drills and systems have been specially made to survive nearly any space environment.

And the engineers at Honeybee Robotics aren’t alone in their endeavors to prospect the Moon. NASA plans to launch its own rover mission (called VIPER) in late 2022 to prospect for water ice at the Moon’s south pole. And over at the Colorado School of Mines, you can find yet another project that wants to go lunar prospecting.

In Part 2 of this Focal Point double feature, we take a deeper dive into the journey to mine on the moon; look into what it would really take to turn water into rocket fuel; and talk with the teams who are working tirelessly to ensure we will one day be able to mine in space.

Be sure to check out Part 1, if you missed it, where we explore why the new space race is all about the Moon: https://youtu.be/5vbiiI2Y7_Q

#moon #spacemining #rockets #engineering #NASA #seeker #FocalPoint #science

Read More:
Lunar Outpost Unveils Lunar Resource Prospector
https://www.lunaroutpost.com/prospector/
“Lunar Outpost, a space technology startup developing enabling technologies for a sustained presence on the Lunar surface, announced their Lunar Prospector designed to search for and map the Moon’s natural resources. The first Prospector was demonstrated driving and drilling in Lunar regolith simulant at the Colorado School of Mines’ new Lunar testbed facility in the Earth Mechanics Institute overseen by the Center for Space Resources.”

Can We Really Use The Moon’s Billion-Year Old Water To Make Rocket Fuel And Open Up The Cosmos?
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2019/11/01/can-we-really-use-the-moons-billion-year-old-water-to-make-rocket-fuel-and-open-up-the-cosmos/#11efe8094658
“Last week NASA announced that it would send a mobile robot, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the South Pole of the Moon to find the exact location and concentration of water ice in the region. ‘The key to living on the Moon is water—the same as here on Earth,’ said Daniel Andrews, project manager of the VIPER mission and director of engineering at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.”

NASA Looking to Mine Water on the Moon and Mars
https://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/nasa-looking-to-mine-water-on-the-moon-and-mars/
“Water is the key to life support, but it can also be used for propulsion. Water molecules can be processed by electrolysis to produce oxygen for breathing or for propellant, while the hydrogen is recirculated back into the system to make liquid hydrogen.”

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