CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Those that say NASA has forgotten the Moon – haven’t heard about RESOLVE or more to-the-point Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction. RESOLVE is a mission that will see NASA team up with not just the European Space Agency (ESA) but the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as well. The media was invited to Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, June 12 to check out one element of this mission – a prototype rover.
This multi-national lunar prospecting mission consists of several components including a rover, drill and a NASA payload that is designed to seek out water ice as well as other resources located under the lunar soil. The RESOLVE mission will also work to prove out the concept that, one day, astronauts returning to the Moon will be able to utilize what are known as “in situ” (on site) resources. This will be a huge step forward in terms of human space flight.
NASA had plans to return astronauts to the Moon – but those plans, part of the Constellation Program have been cancelled. Once NASA has the Moon restored as one of the locations that it should send crew to our nearest celestial neighbor, the RESOLVE mission will have provided invaluable information as to key destinations that are rich in resources as well as how to manufacture oxygen from the lunar regolith.
NASA will take the prototypes and equipment to Hilo, Hawaii where it will be field tested (the volcanic terrain found there is close to what explorers on the Moon would encounter). NASA frequently takes equipment into rugged terrain to test out new concepts and equipment. One prominent example of this is the NASA Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies).
For more info on NASA’s exploration plans, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration
For more info about KSC, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy