This Rover Could Hunt For Lunar Water And Oxygen In 2018
In 2018, NASA plans to go prospecting at the moon’s south pole with a rover. The idea is to look for water and similar substances on the lunar surface, with an eye to learn more about living off the land, so to speak.
Launching anything into space is expensive, so if it’s possible to harvest raw materials off a moon or planetary surface, this could make things a bit cheaper. Specifically, NASA is interested in oxygen, water, silicon and light metals such as aluminum and titanium in the moon’s soil or regolith. (This process is called in situ resource utilization capability.)
“The mission, currently planned to launch in early 2018, will demonstrate extraction of oxygen from lunar regolith to validate in situ resource utilization capability,” said NASA spokesperson Trent Perrotto in an e-mail to Universe Today.
“An essential element of this mission is the ability to travel significant distances on the surface to better understand water distribution in the lunar regolith."