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NASA Awards 13 teams $500,000 to develop Moon mining technology

By Sharon Challenger.

A total of $500,000 has been awarded to 13 different teams in NASA’s Break the Ice Lunar Challenge The goal of the competition: to inspire the development of moon-mining technology.

The moon’s polar regions are thought to have abundant quantities of water ice on the floors of deeply shadowed craters.  Harvesting the water ice is crucial to establishing a permanent human presence on the moon, according to NASA officials.   The water ice will help keep astronauts alive during their expeditions.  Another benefit of harvesting water ice is that it can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen which are the major components of rocket fuel.  This will allow the astronauts to top off their spacecraft tanks on the moon.

The winners of the Break the Ice Lunar Challenge are:

Redwire Space, a Florida-based company won first place and $125,000.

Colorado School of Mines came in second and won $75,000.

Austere Engineering of Colorado won third place and $50,00.

The following teams were awarded $25,000:

  • AggISRU from Texas A&M University in College Station;
  • Aurora Robotics from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks;
  • Lunar Lions from the Columbia University Robotics Club in New York;
  • OffWorld Robotics in Pasadena, California;
  • Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, Wisconsin;
  • Rocket M in Mojave, California;
  • Space Trajectory from South Dakota State University in Brookings;
  • Team AA-Star in Redmond, Washington;
  • Team LIQUID from Altadena, California;
  • Terra Engineering in Gardena, California.

For more info:

Photo credit Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech: This view of the north polar region of the Moon was obtained by NASA’s Galileo camera during the spacecraft flyby of the Earth-Moon system on December 7 and 8, 1992. 



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