Resource Prospector: A lunar volatiles prospecting and ISRU demonstration mission

The Resource Prospector is a mission to prospect for lunar volatiles at one of the two lunar poles, as well as demonstrate In-Situ Resource Utilization on the Moon.  Resource Prospector consists of a lander, a rover (provided by the Canadian Space Agency), and a rover-borne payload.  The payload, the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) payload, will be able to (1) locate near subsurface volatiles, (2) excavate and analyze samples of the volatile-bearing regolith, and (3) demonstrate the form, extractability and usefulness of the materials.  Such investigations are important not only for ISRU but are also critically important for understanding the scientific nature of these intriguing lunar polar volatile deposits.  Temperature models and orbital data suggest near surface volatile concentrations may exist at briefly lit lunar polar locations outside persistently shadowed regions.  A lunar rover could be remotely operated at some of these locations for the 4-7 days of expected sunlight at relatively low cost.  This paper will discuss the mission goals of Resource Prospector and present the current payload and mission design.

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Lunar Atmosphere and Polar Volatiles
NASA Ames Research Center
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Missions (including Commercial)
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Oral Presentation
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NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, MS 245-3, Mountain View, CA 94035
United States
Rick C. Elphic, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Jerry Sanders, NASA Johnson Space Center, USA
Jackie Quinn, NASA Johnson Space Center, USA
Bill Larson, NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Martin Picard, Candian Space Center, Canada
Dan Andrews, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Rick Hurtz, NASA Ames Research Center, USA