The European Space Agency ESA and ArianeGroup, as prime contractor of a consortium of Arianegroup, Space Application Services and PTScientists, have signed a contract to study and prepare ESA’s planned ISRU mission. The European Space Agency (ESA) is hoping to start mining the Moon for water and oxygen by 2025.
In space, in-situ resource use (ISRU) is the practice of collecting, processing, storing and using materials found or produced on other celestial bodies (Moon, Mars, asteroids, etc.) to replace materials that would otherwise be brought from Earth.
The ESA mission focuses on the use of the lunar regolith. Being able to extract water and oxygen from regolith is a prerequisite for a sustainable presence of humans on the Moon. In addition, the necessary fuel for future missions into deeper parts of the solar system could be produced in this way.