Astrobotic Technology has signed a contract with NASA to help conclude whether or not its own polar rover vehicle is fit to transport ice-prospecting payload to the Moon. David Gump, the president of Astrobotic Technology, said, “Astrobotic seeks the immense resources available on the Moon to both accelerate space exploration and improve life on Earth. The lunar path is near term. We intend a prospecting mission in 2015.”
Astrobotic Technology has all the reasons to pursue the mission. Satellites have shown that polar ice made up of water, methane carbon monoxide, ammonia and other elements is evident in the Moon’s South Pole region. Apparently, the previous Apollo expeditions have failed to explore the South Pole. Astrobotic is planning to drill and measure the said polar ices with its ice-prospecting cargo. The team believes that they are in for a big break.
Ice is a good lunar propellant and it can power a spacecraft for its much-needed long voyages. If other elements are found, it can be used for other important purposes such as habituation and fabrication. Water and oxygen can be used to sustain life as well in space. A Falcon 9 launch vehicle from SpaceX will be used by Astrobotic to launch its spacecraft along with the robot explorer to the Moon. Dr. William “Red” Whittaker’s state-of-the-art navigation system will be used as well in the mission.