The Moon has a high strategic value because it could serve as a kind of space base from which various missions of exploration and conquest of the solar system could depart.
However, a lunar base brings with it several complications, the main one being the availability of resources. Bringing the necessary resources from Earth to sustain the base can be very complicated and expensive. For this reason, the ability to take advantage of the resources that the Moon itself can provide becomes more relevant.
New Rover Will Extract Water From Moon Ice
This is why NASA has developed an initiative called “Break the Ice Challenge” to find designs for a system for excavating and transporting water that is trapped in the icy lunar poles or inside craters.
According to scientific studies, the lunar poles would be loaded with enough frozen water to be able to sustain life inside the base, especially the South Pole.
The “Rocket M” is one of the most popular prototypes within this program. It is equipped with solar panels to provide it with energy and the ability to generate micro-explosions that create small craters. The pieces of surface that break from the explosion would then be collected by the Rover’s dome and processed there to detach the remains of dust and ice and from there later extract water.
The device could make up to 12 craters a day and collect enough ice to accumulate up to 1,000 pounds a year.
“Unlike traditional mechanical excavators, the rocket mining method would allow us to access frozen volatiles around rocks, gaps, basalt and other obstacles. And most importantly, it is scalable and profitable. Our system does not require heavy machinery or ongoing maintenance, ”said Masten Space Systems, the company in charge of the design.
The prototype is still under construction. But sooner rather than later, we will have enough elements to put people on the Moon permanently.