(Image: Intuitive Marchines )
NASA has allocated money to the company "Intuitive Machines" to deliver a drill to the moon's south pole. According to the Agency's site, scientists will try to extract water ice and assess its availability.
According to the latest estimates, the poles of the moon have reserves of billions of tons of water ice. To facilitate supplies for future lunar missions, astronauts are looking to use local resources, including water.
Water is useful not only for drinking, but also for technical needs. The liqud can be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity.
Meanwhile, all data on the lunar ice were obtained during observations from the Earth and orbit. And, it's not clear how is exactly distributed in the ground or whether it is easy to use.
To fix this, NASA instructed Intuitive Machines to deliver a drill to the moon and test ice mining by the end of 2022. The agency has allocated 47 million dollars to the company under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.
The lander will deliver the PRIME-1 experimental installation to the South Pole, which will also be installed in the VIPER water probe.
The main part of the PRIME-1 is a drill, which can deliver samples to the surface from every depth and dig up to a meter of soil.
After that, the samples will be analyzed by a mass spectrometer, which will determine the amount of water and other chemical components.
The scientist want to know the the dynamics of ice evaporation from the regolith. If it turns out to be too high, NASA will need special designs to prevent its loss during large-scale production of lunar water.
In addition, trial operation of the PRIME-1 on a stationary platform will help finalize a similar system on VIPER, which is to take off immediately after the Intuitive Machines mission.
** To read other news about space and the lunar mission, take a look at my previous articles. Don't forget to leave a comment if you have a question ;)**
- NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-intuitive-machines-to-land-water-measuring-payload-on-the-moon
- Intuitive Machines: https://www.intuitivemachines.com/post/nasa-selects-intuitive-machines-to-deliver-lunar-ice-drill-in-2022