NAsa has asked U.S. universities to design new technologies to help the space agency conduct a sustainable moon survey. Successful applicants will receive up to $ 2 million (GBP 1.5 million) from recently opened Lunar Surface Technology Research (Chandelier) to rapidly develop technologies in two key areas: finding and extracting water from lunar “soil”; or regolith and developing energy . systems that will maintain the technology during long lunar nights.
Both are necessary for astronauts to stay on the moon for a long time. Water is essential for life support and can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket fuel. Each lunar night is equivalent to 14 Earth days, so reliable batteries will be needed, as well as power distribution and control systems that work well in the harsh environment of the Moon’s radiation. Such energy systems will also be needed to extract water, which is widely believed to exist in shady craters near the south pole of the moon.
Although the first human landing is scheduled for 2024, it will only be a short stay. Sustainable lunar exploration is not expected to begin until 2028. Applications for Chandeliers must be received by August 12.