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March 5-11, 2012 / Vol 31, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA

2 Mar 2012, 21:51 UTC
March 5-11, 2012 / Vol 31, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Canada Eyes Leadership Role In Lunar Mineral Exploration
Amidst renewed global enthusiasm for Moon exploration and enterprise the Canadian Space Agency is leading development of prototype equipment destined for mineral exploration at the Moon South Pole. Since 2004, CSA, NASA, Neptec and NORCAT have been collaborating on a lunar hydrogen / water-ice hunting rover-mounted drilling experiment called RESOLVE. Lead Scientist and former PI of LCROSS, Tony Colaprete, says equipment will be ready to fly by the end of 2014 but may have to wait till the end of the decade for a ride on SLS. Dale Boucher of NORCAT estimates the cost of soft-landing one-liter of water on the Moon at US$250,000; Red Whittaker’s Astrobotic Technology Inc. is asking lunar-lander payload customers for US$1.8M/kg. Thus, in-situ extraction of lunar water is seen as essential to sustaining efficient human habitation. The CSA is known for producing useful space hardware like the famous Canadarm aboard ISS and the country at-large excels in mining. John Chapman of J.A. Chapman Mining Services notes 43% of world-wide mineral exploration is conducted by Canadian companies. Combining these two areas of expertise to develop innovative solutions for extraterrestrial mining on the Moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond seems ...

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