Earth’s Moon as seen from the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA/ESA

Why should we be warming up to ultra-cold lunar ice?

Permanently shadowed craters at the polar regions of the Moon are eyed as repositories of water ice. That resource can be converted to oxygen, water, and rocket fuel.

Exploiting these stores of water ice is a big plus to assure humans not only can survive and thrive on the Moon, but also turn a profit.

Newly developed extraction technique for the Moon, thermal mining, makes use of mirrors to exploit sun-shy, water ice-laden polar craters.
Credit: School of Mines/Dreyer, Williams, Sowers

Economic resource

Experts gathered last month for a Space Resources Roundtable, held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

A key objective discussed in the gathering is to characterize lunar ice as an economic resource.

Image details water ice mining at Shackleton crater on the Moon.
Credit: School of Mines/Dreyer, Williams, Sowers

To do so, however, more data is needed about lunar ice deposits, its distribution, concentration, quantity, disposition, depth, geotechnical properties and any other characteristics necessary to design and develop extraction and processing systems.

 

 

For more information on the future of Moon mining, go to my new Space.com story at:

 

Mining Moon Ice: Prospecting Plans Starting to Take Shape

July 13, 2018 04:04pm ET

https://www.space.com/41164-mining-moon-water-plans-take-shape.html

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