The European Space Agency (ESA) has taken the first of many steps that would be needed to extract resources like oxygen and water from the moon. It’s signed a one-year contract with Europe’s largest launch services provider and former lunar XPRIZE competitor to study the feasibility of mining the moon.
The hypothetical mission would launch by 2025 and focus on lunar regolith, which is a fancy name for lunar soil. While lunar soil has no organic content, it does contain molecular oxygen and water. It also has helium-3, an isotope that has the potential to be a future energy source. The ESA’s website says that helium-3 “could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products.”
Wow. Sometimes I wonder, but I guess we are indeed heading toward the future.