LONDON: The European Space Agency (ESA) announced last week about a one-year contract with European aerospace firm ArianeGroup in order to start mining on moon for water and oxygen by 2025.
The agency aims to explore mining the regolith – known as lunar soil or moon dust – from where water and oxygen can be extracted, hence making it easier for humans to spend time on the moon in the future.
The research could also possibly produce rocket fuel on the moon, allowing the future expeditions to go further into space. ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker said, “The use of space resources could be a key to sustainable lunar exploration.”
Scientists explain that the regolith is an at least 12ft deep layer of loose soil covering the moon’s entire surface, which is rich with iron oxide along with other minerals.
Thus, it is possible to extract massive amounts of oxygen. Water, and fuel trapped in the soil’s rocky materials.
Moreover, as per the firms, the mission, which is currently in research phase, would not involve sending humans to the moon, but will be accomplished with the help of robotic equipment.
This study is part of ESA’s comprehensive plan to make Europe a partner in global exploration in the next decade, Parker said.