- Subject: Engineering
- Study level: Undergraduate
- Type: Activity
'Space' Award for Air Cadets
This page illustrates the scope and style of resources being used to support a new Award for Air Cadets.
Living on the Moon
The space agencies see the setting up of a permanent village on the moon as the first step towards exploring Mars. The European Space Agency (ESA) said that the Moon was the 'right place to be' as humans expand economic activities beyond low-Earth orbit, even though Mars remains the 'ultimate destination'.
To reduce the cost of space exploration missions will have to plan use what they find. This in situ resource utilization is seen as a way to use materials found on other bodies such as the Moon instead of taking them from the Earth. For example, if there are substantial sources of water at the lunar poles then extracting this water and using it would vastly reduce the cost of human exploration of the solar system. The water could be used for drinking, making oxygen and as rocket propellant. Here is an ESA image of a future lunar base that could be located close to the permanently shadowed regions - note how it makes use of local materials.
Before humans can return to the Moon, robotic missions will be used to prospect the surface to determine whether there really is water present. An example of this is the LUnar Volatiles Mobile Instrumentation concept (LUVMI, www.luvmi.space). The team for this project is developing a rover and water detection instruments to map out water deposits in polar regions.
Whether exploration is done by humans or machines, protection from the environment, energy to sustain activity, transportation and communication are essential for existence (much as they are on Earth). The following activity and quiz concerns these vital needs and features lunar rover (link).
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