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A system for collecting ice on the Moon in automatic mode is being developed
And so, so far, a person explores the World by primitive methods, goes wherever he wants on jet propulsion, he can't fly far on rockets, but if he wants, he can already begin to master the entire Solar System, which is actually what NASA scientists are doing. Rockets for NASA are currently being developed by many companies, three of them, Masten Space Systems, Lunar Outpost and Honeybee Robotics, have taken up the development of an innovative scheme for extracting water ice in craters on the Moon
If you believe scientists, then somewhere on the polar caps, somewhere on the border expanses in the craters there is water ice, which, if desired, can be extracted and transported to the place of processing into oxygen and water, all at will. If humanity plans to constantly study the Moon and maintain its base there, then such a project is utopian without water ice, because it will be extremely expensive to maintain life in such a lunar house, even oxygen and water will need to be transported from Earth.
If there is water ice available, it already means that future missions will have hydrogen for heating and oxygen for breathing, and there will be water to drink. Many rockets fly just on hydrogen as fuel and oxygen as an oxidizer, so even spaceships with jet propulsion can be famously refueled on the moon.
NASA understands that without allocating money for the development of the direction of collecting lunar ice, nothing will happen by itself, and therefore announced the program "Break the Ice Lunar Challenge". So far, the program has a fund of $ 500,000 and it can be mastered by the startup that will provide the most advanced way to collect ice on the Moon. If you assemble a guided missile module for collecting ice, then it will always be possible to convert it to a collector of something else at a minimum cost. Now everyone who is in the topic submits their developments, the winner will be announced on August 13, 2021. Masten-Lunar Outpost-Honeybee Robotics, as a knowledgeable development team, also takes part in this project. Engineers would like to use the already developed Rocket Mining System rocket and a lunar rover to collect ice on the Moon. The lunar rover is quite an impressive size and weighs 818 kg. God only knows how the collection system itself will be implemented, but the fact that monsters are in the topic is already interesting. If such a system works, then it will be able to automatically collect up to 1200 kg of pure water ice from the crater during the day. It is not difficult to calculate that this is about 420 thousand tons of water ice per year. The lunar rover will use the same extracted ice as fuel and will be able to work on the Moon for up to five years.
There is a little left, we need NASA to finance the Rocket Mining System project and then the United States will easily extract lunar ice.
If there is money, then there is already a lander that will take off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in a couple of years. Probably they will not drive an empty rocket of this class, something huge and important will fly to the moon again.
In the meantime, the Lunar Outpost company is developing the Rocket Mining System rover, and the Honeybee Robotics company is developing a set of technical solutions for cleaning ice right at the mining site, the technology is called PlanetVac. We are waiting and hoping that something useful will come out of the idea.
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