Britain on mission to tap Moon water
A mission to land Europe’s first spacecraft on the Moon is to search for water that could be used to help astronauts survive during future manned visits to the lunar surface.
It could be the plot of a science fiction novel: a mission to find water on the moon, paving the way for man to settle on its surface.
But by 2018 a mission which includes British technology hopes to have landed a robot probe on the surface of the Moon to find out if it has ice present under the surface.
Finding ice would upend scientific orthodoxy and the results of previous lunar missions, which suggested that the Moon was dry.
The £500 million voyage, scheduled for 2018, is being planned by theEuropean Space Agency, of which Britain is a leading member.
It will also be man’s first attempt at landing an object on the south pole of the Moon.
Dr Simon Sheridan, a research fellow at the Open University who is part of the team designing instruments for the spacecraft, said: “We want to see if the resources are there to let astronauts live off the land.
“There is evidence of vast deposits of volatile chemicals like water from orbiting missions, but this will be the first ground-based mission to look in a polar region.”
The Lunar Lander, the size of a car and weighing about 1,800lbs, will blast off from Earth by rocket, then detach and descend to the Moon’s surface in a 12-minute flight.
An artificial intelligence system, directing engines and rocket propulsion, will help the craft to avoid craters and boulders as it comes into land at the Moon’s south pole.
At its landing spot, it will bore a few inches into the ground. A key instrument designed by British scientists will analyse the soil and beam the results by radio signal back to Earth.
If Lunar Lander is successful, it would open up the prospect of settling on the Moon.
once again only a robot probe will go up..no humans..no..that amazing time 40 years ago cannot be repeated strangely..