#NASA; #LunarResources; #ArtemisDemonstration
NASA/Canadian-Media: NASA has selected four companies to collect space resources and transfer ownership to the agency: Lunar Outpost of Golden, Colorado; Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California; ispace Europe of Luxembourg; and ispace Japan of Tokyo. Overall, the new NASA contracts with these companies total $25,001, NASA reports said.
Space resources will play a key role in NASA’s Artemis program and future space exploration. The ability to extract and use extraterrestrial resources will ensure Artemis operations can be conducted safely and sustainably in support of establishing human lunar exploration. Moreover, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) will play a vital role in a future human mission to Mars. Like many other operations, ISRU activities will be tested and developed on the Moon, building the required knowledge to implement new capabilities that will be necessary to overcome the challenges of a human mission to Mars.
“These awards expand NASA’s innovative use of public-private partnerships to the Moon. We’re excited to join with our commercial and international partners to make Artemis the largest and most diverse global human space exploration coalition in history,” said Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations. “Space resources are the fuel that will propel America and all of humanity to the stars.”
A great deal of work remains to be done to develop robust ISRU capabilities. Both robotic and human explorers will test new technologies and techniques.
“Leveraging commercial involvement enhances our ability to safely return to the Moon in a sustainable, innovative, and affordable fashion,” said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA Headquarters. “A supportive policy for the recovery and use of space resources provides a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs.”
Companies will collect a small amount of lunar regolith from any location on the Moon and provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material…