In-Situ Resource Utilisation
Science & Exploration

In-Situ Resource Utilisation

1577 views 11 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Exploration

In the first act of lunar exploration, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were major characters. In setting its sights on the Moon, ESA hopes to bring many more actors to this off-world stage.  

By testing the market for transport services to the Moon, ESA aims to push the limits of technology and create new models of space business.

Touching down on the Moon was a monumental moment in human history. Eight short years and enormous resources took humankind to the lunar surface, initially for less than a day. Those small steps for humanity, and the missions that followed, taught us much about the Moon, our cosmic time capsule. But humans have not returned since Apollo-17 departed in 1972. 

Today’s technology could easily get us back to the Moon, but it is still expensive to develop the ride and take everything needed to support life with us. ESA wants our return to the Moon to be sustainable and based on partnerships – not only with international space agencies but also with business. A commercial approach may just be the ticket – literally and figuratively – to making it happen.  

Rather than develop a complete lander mission from scratch – a long and costly process – ESA wants to buy a ride on a commercial lander to deliver our precious research equipment safely to the surface. Once there, we are ready to pay the ‘roaming charges’ to talk to our hardware.

But for our return to the Moon to be truly sustainable, we must make use of local resources. So in addition to transportation and communication, we are looking to invest in the development and pay for the use of technology that can turn indigenous material into oxygen and water, critical resources for sustaining future human operations in deep space.

Play
$video.data_map.short_description.content
Moondive
Access the video

Why the emphasis on sustainability? If been there, done that were the sole definition of exploration, then setting our sights only on more remote parts of our Solar System would make sense. But while we learned a lot about the Moon from Apollo, we literally just scratched the surface of Earth’s eighth continent.

Satellites orbiting the Moon have since revealed the presence of oxygen and water ice. These are potential usable resources for our spacefaring future.

Shape the next act

Lunar base made with 3D printing
Lunar base made with 3D printing

ESA is inviting service providers to take part in a study that will shape this In-Situ Resource Utilisation Demonstrator Mission. We want to hear what commercial partners need from us and share what we expect from them.

Together, we want to explore what it would mean to make lunar exploration a viable, competitive, and, most importantly, sustainable endeavour.

We want to go back to the Moon to crack its mysteries and use it as a springboard towards humanity’s future in deep space. If you are a commercial enterprise ready to take on the challenge and build on the legacy of Neil and Buzz, then we want to hear from you.

Related Articles

Moon seen from Space Station
Science & Exploration

To the Moon – down south

16/07/2019 2756 views 73 likes
Open item
The Moon as seen from the Space Station
Applications

ESA identifies demand for satellites around the Moon

16/07/2019 2381 views 76 likes
Open item
Heracles
Science & Exploration

Developing a high-performance rocket motor for the Heracles…

16/05/2019 1465 views 19 likes
Open item
ALINA on the Moon
Science & Exploration

Starting up a new cooperation for the Moon

08/05/2019 1574 views 21 likes
Open item
Testing the Heracles lunar rover
Science & Exploration

Guidance and navigation systems for Heracles

18/04/2019 547 views 7 likes
Open item
Moonrise
Science & Exploration

ESA and NASA to team up on lunar science

28/03/2019 5995 views 123 likes
Open item
Space gateway
Science & Exploration

Gateway to the Moon

11/03/2019 13489 views 222 likes
Open item
In-Situ Resource Utilisation
Science & Exploration

Astrobotic team to study delivery of lunar resources mission

26/02/2019 742 views 9 likes
Open item
The extent of Earth’s geocorona
Science & Exploration

Earth’s atmosphere stretches out to the Moon – and beyond

20/02/2019 62349 views 274 likes
Open item
Moon dust on astronaut after moonwalk
Science & Exploration

Project Pextex: materials for lunar spacesuits

15/02/2019 2719 views 44 likes
Open item
Multispectral view
Science & Exploration

A new camera for lunar exploration

29/01/2019 745 views 7 likes
Open item
Helga, the radiation dummy
Science & Exploration

Radiation for dummies

25/01/2019 10173 views 133 likes
Open item
Science & Exploration

Preparing astronaut lunar exploration

23/01/2019 4720 views 75 likes
Open item
Creativity room at EAC
Science & Exploration

Bold ideas for life off Earth

24/01/2019 868 views 11 likes
Open item
Space Station Moon
Agency

Moving on the Moon

23/01/2019 5802 views 90 likes
Open item
Lunar attraction
Science & Exploration

Total lunar eclipse 2019

18/01/2019 11964 views 97 likes
Open item
Station Moon transit
Science & Exploration

Moon engine now in development

08/10/2018 4523 views 67 likes
Open item
1.5 tonne building block
Science & Exploration

Bricks from Moon dust

20/08/2018 15624 views 149 likes
Open item
The Moon as seen from the Space Station
Science & Exploration

The toxic side of the Moon

04/07/2018 18579 views 505 likes
Open item
Brick 3D printed from moondust using focused sunlight
Enabling & Support

Printing bricks from moondust using the Sun’s heat

03/05/2017 12620 views 131 likes
Open item
Goonhilly antenna
Enabling & Support

Goonhilly goes deep space

22/02/2018 5053 views 97 likes
Open item
Science & Exploration

First steps: returning humanity to the Moon

20/09/2017 16316 views 292 likes
Open item
In-Situ Resource Utilisation
Agency

Water and oxygen made on the Moon

2040 views 13 likes
Open item

Related Links