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

Oshkosh Day One

Oshkosh Day Two

Oshkosh Day Three

Airborne 07.21.16

Airborne 07.22.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Oshkosh Day One

Oshkosh Day Two

Oshkosh Day Three

Airborne 07.21.16

Airborne 07.22.16

Tweet Us The Coolest Things You See @OSH16!
#OSH16Coolest!

It's Alive!: AirVenture 2016 Innovation Preview on Vimeo!

It's Alive!: AirVenture 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 07.26.16-Oshkosh Day 2: Solar Impulse, Sun Flyer, Stemme S-12

Also: AEA $$Giveaway$$, LAM Aviation, Able Flight, Jack Pelton On Aero-Medical Reform We start our report this morning with something that has very little to do with the EAA AirVen>[...]

ONE Aviation Provides Singular Support For Coverage of AirVenture 2016!

ONE Aviation: Let’s Fly Together ONE Aviation delivers innovative access to general aviation by bringing together a line of products suited to the missions and budgets of ind>[...]

It's ALIVE! 2016 AirVenture Innovation Preview Program Debuting RIGHT NOW!

Get The EARLY Inside Details On THE Most Exciting NEW Innovations And Product Announcements From OSHKOSH... The staff of EAA and the Aero-News Network are pleased to announce that >[...]

Only Sporty's!!! Sporty's Pilot Shop Helps ANN Cover Oshkosh 2016!

Sporty's Pilot Shop Is A Pivotal GA Resource! Sporty’s Pilot Shop was founded over 50 years ago by a flight instructor, and ever since has been for pilots and by pilots. Hal >[...]

Aspen Avionics, True Innovators, Present OSH2016 Special Event Coverage!

OSH2016 Sponsor: Always-Innovative Aspen Avionics Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Aspen Avionics specializes in bringing the most advanced display and sensor technology from the >[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

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