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European Space Agency plans to mine Moon for resources by 2025
The resources could be a rich source of water and oxygen.
It's almost five decades since mankind set foot on the moon. After the first Apollo mission in 1969, there have been plenty of missions to the moon. While there have been plans to send humans again by 2022, a Paris-based company plans to start mining on the moon by 2025.
Ariane Group, a company that manufactures rockets, plans to work closely with ESA and extract useful materials that can be extracted from the moon through mining. The company has a one year contract with the space agency to plan how the mining will be performed on the moon.
The prime focus of the company is to extract Regolith - a material that covers the surface of Earth's satellite. It could be a rich source of both water and oxygen. The material could also potentially allow for a sustainable lunar settlement at some point in time in the future.
"The use of space resources could be a key to sustainable lunar exploration, and this study is part of ESA's comprehensive plan to make Europe a partner in global exploration in the next decade - a plan we will put to our Ministers for decision later this year at the Space19+ Conference," said Dr David Parker, Director, Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA.
The Ariane Group's ArianeSpace Division will collaborate with PTScientists, a German startup to build lunar lander based taking cues from its Ariane 64 rocket platform. The communications and the ground related services operations and communications will be provided by Space Applications Services from Belgium.
Other countries like China and Russia along with space agencies such as NASA are also exploring the possibilities of making the Moon a base for future exploration of the solar system. The company has also confirmed that this will be an unmanned mission and robots will perform the tasks. No man has set foot on the moon since 1972 which was NASA's last Apollo mission.