• Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022
  • Last Update : 08:54 am

Infographic: Moon Express to mine the moon

  • Published at 12:11 pm July 28th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:44 pm July 28th, 2017
In one small step for space business, Moon Express has won US regulatory approval -- under the 104-nation Outer Space Treaty -- to become the first ever private company to fly to the Moon. At the heart of the company’s plans is a single-stage spacecraft, similar in size and shape to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, but a little bigger. Launched from New Zealand, as the payload on Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher, the MX-1’s Peco rocket engine uses highly refined kerosene fuel (RP-1) which is oxidised using hydrogen peroxide. The Peco engine will serve as the common core for all the planned MX vehicles, including the MX-9 which will launch in 2020 to collect -- and return to Earth -- the first-ever privately-owned lunar samples. MX-9 will search in areas rich in ancient volcanic deposits for evidence of water. Nearly a decade ago, tiny amounts of water, just 0.05% water by weight, were detected in volcanic glass beads brought back from the surface of the Moon by Apollo 15 and 17. Recent data from India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter suggests that the pyroclastic flows of ancient lava that left those beads could provide a source of water to support a lunar base.
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