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NASA Contract to Astrobotic Technology Investigates Prospecting for Lunar Resources

PITTSBURGH April 23, 2012

David Gump


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.

Carnegie Mellon University California

$12 million

Astrobotic’s commercial expeditions carry payloads for space agencies and generate exclusive media content for television and Web portals.  Corporate sponsors will give their customers direct access to the robot’s frontier-building activities through competitions and custom internet feeds.

Carnegie Mellon University

SOURCE Astrobotic Technology, Inc.

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