Space

A Giant Leap for Sustainable Exploration and Human Presence on the Moon

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Building a Fuel Plant on the Moon

establishing a fuel plant on the lunar surface. This ambitious project aims to address the logistical and financial challenges of transporting fuel from Earth for long-term lunar exploration.

JAXA's plan involves utilizing lunar water ice, found in the moon's polar regions, as a source for fuel production. The agency intends to extract hydrogen and oxygen from the water through electrolysis, creating fuel and oxidizer for spacecraft and rovers. This approach eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming fuel shipments from Earth.

The agency is seeking collaboration with private companies to develop and construct the fuel plant. JAXA has already begun designing a demonstration plant and plans to solicit companies for building an experimental facility in Japan that simulates the lunar environment.

The project timeline envisions a technology demonstration by the private sector, government, and academia in the 2030s, followed by a geotechnical survey on the lunar surface. Construction of the fuel plant is expected to commence in or after 2035.

This initiative aligns with the Artemis lunar exploration program, a joint effort between Japan and the United States. The program aims to send two Japanese astronauts to the moon's surface and establish a manned base.

JAXA's fuel plant project has garnered interest from various companies, including Takasago Thermal Engineering and ispace, Inc. These companies are developing water electrolysis systems and lunar rovers, respectively, to contribute to the project's success.

The development of a lunar fuel plant represents a significant step towards sustainable lunar exploration. By utilizing resources available on the moon, JAXA aims to pave the way for long-term human presence and scientific endeavors on our celestial neighbor.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09