NASA Awards Contract To Investigate Prospecting For Lunar Resources | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 05.23.16

Airborne 05.24.16

Airborne 05.25.16

Airborne 05.26.16

Airborne 05.27.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 05.23.16

Airborne 05.24.16

Airborne 05.25.16

Airborne 05.26.16

Airborne 05.27.16

AEA2016 LIVE Aero-TV: 04/27-0830ET, 04/28-1400ET, 04/29-1100ET

Sun 'n Fun 2016 Innovation Preview on Vimeo!

Sun 'n Fun 2016 Innovation Preview on YouTube!

Thu, Apr 26, 2012

NASA Awards Contract To Investigate Prospecting For Lunar Resources

Will Determine If Company Can Deploy Ice Prospecting Equipment To The Moon

NASA has awarded a contract to Astrobotic Technology to determine whether its polar rover can deploy an ice-prospecting payload to the Moon. The ice could yield water, oxygen, methane and rocket propellant to dramatically reduce the cost of space exploration. "Astrobotic seeks the immense resources available on the Moon to both accelerate space exploration and improve life on Earth," said David Gump, president. "The lunar path is near term. We intend a prospecting mission in 2015."

Astrobotic began development of its lunar excavation robot in 2009 under a series of NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts that now total $795,000. The new NASA SBIR Phase 3 follow-on contract is to consider robot refinements for carrying NASA-supplied instruments and a drill. Recent lunar-orbiting satellites from several nations, and a NASA probe that impacted near the Moon's south pole, have sensed polar ice composed of water, methane, ammonia, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and other substances. These polar resources went undiscovered during the Apollo expeditions which landed near the equator. The next step is to drill and measure the polar ices directly to see if they are sufficiently concentrated to be useful.

Lunar propellant derived from the ice could fuel spacecraft for long voyages, Earth-return, or maneuvering satellites. Water and oxygen would be invaluable for life support. Other elements have immense value for energy, processes, fabrication and habitation. When seeking resources from planetary destinations, the four-day travel time to reach the Moon enables early return on investment compared to more distant targets.

Astrobotic has reserved a Falcon 9 launch vehicle made by SpaceX to send its spacecraft and robot explorer on a trajectory toward the Moon. The Astrobotic spacecraft will deliver the prospector to the lunar surface with technology that autonomously avoids landing hazards such as large rocks and craters. The navigation system is derived from technology developed at Carnegie Mellon University under Dr. William "Red" Whittaker, Astrobotic's founder. Dr. Whittaker won the DARPA Urban Challenge with a driverless car able to autonomously navigate through city streets, avoiding other cars and obeying the California traffic code. The ability to detect hazards and automatically select alternative pathways is the core of Astrobotic's  automatic lunar landing system.

Astrobotic has won $12 million in nine NASA lunar contracts, covering topics from simulating lunar gravity on Earth to discovering ways to robotically explore the Moon's volcanic caves. Lunar satellites recently spotted potential entrances to these caves, which can provide shelter to robot and human explorers from the radiation, micrometeorites and extreme temperature swings of the lunar surface.

FMI: www.astrobotictech.com

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 05.27.16: More MH370 Debris, Airport 4 Sale, Hurricane Hunters

Also: PWC PW307D, Icon Scandal, Memorial Day, IASO, Nat'l Warplane Museum, Gogo Cloud, Orbital ATK, Honor Flight Austin The Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, D>[...]

Airborne 05.26.16: Icon Flaming Out, Airbus Heli-Patent, UAV Registry

Also: TSA Dust-Up, Honor Flight, The API -- What’s This ALL About?, EASA Cert's G650ER, First E190-E2, DiCaprio BizJet, WingX Pro7, BASE Jump Tragedy Late Wednesday, Icon fin>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (05.28.16)

Open or Close an Airport or Runway Before opening or closing an airport or runway, airport sponsors should find out the necessary steps and contact their nearest FAA District or Re>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (05.28.16): Runway Entrance Lights (REL)

An array of red lights which include the first light at the hold line followed by a series of evenly spaced lights to the runway edge aligned with the taxiway centerline.>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (05.28.16)

“This is an important outreach mission to educate the public, especially the children who will take the preparedness message back to their families.” Source: Col. Frank>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC