WorldWide Drilling Resource

17 SEPTEMBER 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Establishing a Human Presence on the Moon Begins with Drilling Adapted from Information by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration The U.S. National Aeronautics an d Space Administration, better known a s NASA, has been working with severa l American companies to deliver scienc e and technology to the lunar surfac e through its Commercial Lunar Payloa d Services (CLPS) initiative. Through thi s initiative, NASA’s commercial partner s are able to quickly land scientific instru - ments and technology demonstration s on the moon, with the first flights set fo r next year. One of those partners, Intuitiv e Machines of Houston, is scheduled t o deliver a drill combined with a mass spectrometer to the moon by December 2022 for the PRIME-1 (Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment) project. This project will search for ice at the moon’s South Pole and hopefully harvest ice from below the surface for the first time. “We continue to rapidly select vendors . . . to land payloads on the lunar surface, which exemplifies our work to integrate the ingenuity of commercial industry into our efforts at the moon,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science. “The informa- tion we’ll gain from PRIME-1 and other science instruments and tech- nology demonstrations we’re sending to the lunar surface will inform our Artemis missions with astronauts and help us better understand how we can build a sustainable lunar presence.” PRIME-1 will land on the moon and drill up to three feet below the surface. It will use the mass spectrometer to measure how much ice in the sample is lost as it turns from a solid to a vapor in the vacuum-like lunar environment. Versions of PRIME-1’s drill and the mass spectrom- eter observing lunar operations (MSolo), will also fly on VIPER, a mobile robot set to search for ice at the lunar South Pole in 2023. NASA plans to land the first woman and next man on the moon’s South Pole the following year. “PRIME-1 will give us tremendous insight into the resources [on] the moon and how to extract them,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s space technology mission directorate in Washington. “Sending this payload to the moon is a terrific example of our scientific and technology communities coming together with our commercial partners to develop breakthrough technologies to accomplish a range of goals on the lunar surface.” Not only will the data from PRIME-1 help scientists understand the resources on the moon and contribute to the organi- zation’s search for water at the moon’s poles, but it will also support the agency’s plans to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by the end of the decade. MIN