Extracting Water from the Moon

 

Photo by Allen Kaluzniak


I've always found space exploration fascinating. I still remember the excitement when hearing about our first attempts to orbit the earth, our challenge to reach the moon. I still feel my family's amazement as Neil Armstrong took his first steps there in 1969. 

The moon is garnering new interest lately. NASA's Artemis Mission will establish a long-term presence on the moon to continue scientific discovery and technology innovation. As such, they plan to implement sustainable infrastructure using in-situ resources

Understanding the critical importance of water, NASA's astronauts will collect and remove large amounts of water and icy regolith, a loose rocky soil layer, from an area near the moon's south pole. To find the best way to accomplish this, NASA opened the Break the Ice Lunar Challenge in November 2020. 

On August 18, 2021 NASA awarded $500,000 in prizes to the winners of Phase 1. In this phase, teams designed a system to collect and move large amounts of the icy regolith and water. Proudly, the first place finisher was Redwire Space, headquartered here in Jacksonville, Florida. Phase 2 will include demonstration and hardware development.

Photo by Donna Kaluzniak

Harvesting resources from the moon is something other countries may have in mind as well, as China, Russia, Israel, India and Japan are in the game. 



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