University of Adelaide has set up a space exploration centre to get local expertise to the moon

NASA Image of Earth from space
NASA’s next trip to the moon will be based on research done in SA — such as mining ice and metals from asteroids and the lunar surface.

A space exploration centre at the University of Adelaide will help Australians get on board the next moon mission.

Working out how to mine lunar ice to sustain human life and to power rockets are a priority, along with mining metals from the moon and asteroids.

The centre hopes to take advantage of the $150 million deal signed by the Australian Space Agency and NASA when Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in the US last week.

NASA is aiming for a 2024 moon landing.

Associate Professor of Off-Earth Resources, John Culton, a retired US air force colonel with decades of experience in defence and space, will be the boss of the Centre for Sustainable Planetary and Space Resources.

University of Adelaide graduate Andy Thomas, who went on to become Australia’s first NASA astronaut, will be the patron.

Assoc Prof Culton said the next crewed mission to the moon, Project Artemis, will not be a short visit like the 1969 Apollo landing.

There will be multiple visits followed by a permanent presence on the moon, which will then be used as a gateway to get humans to Mars.

“We’re setting the scene for long-term human habitation in space,” he said.

The research director will be Professor Volker Hessel, from the university’s engineering, computer and mathematical sciences faculty.

“The top priority at this point is water. Water as an energy source but also for drinking,” he said.

He explained that water molecules can be split to create hydrogen, which can be used as a rocket fuel.

The next step will be space farming.

“You have to have something to eat if you’re going to live there,” he said.

Space Minister Karen Andrews and Premier Steven Marshall opened the 8th Space Forum and the Australian Space Research Conference in Adelaide yesterday, along with Dr Thomas.

(Media Release, The Advertiser, 1 October 2019)
Full article accessible here .

Tagged in research, NASA, news