Mars-Bound Astronauts May Refuel Near Moon

Mars-bound crewed spacecraft should launch with just enough fuel to get to filling stations near the moon, and these stations would then dispense propellant derived from lunar water-ice, according to a new study.

Such a strategy would reduce the mass of a Mars mission by up to 68 percent at launch, resulting in significant cost savings, researchers said.

Permanently shadowed craters near the moon’s poles are thought to harbor large quantities of water ice. This ice can be processed into hydrogen and oxygen molecules — the chief components of rocket fuel, which could then be used to fill up the tanks of voyaging spaceships.

Exploiting lunar resources in this way could greatly reduce the cost of spaceflight, helping open up the solar system to human exploration, moon-mining advocates say.

The new study, which was published recently in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, comes to the same basic conclusion.

Source: Space

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Dave Nelson

Dave Nelson

Originally from Minnesota in the United States, Dave has lived all over.  He currently makes his home in Ottawa, Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife and stepdaughter.  Dave works as an on-air announcer at Boom 99-7 (CJOT.) One of his first sci-fi memories was that of watching Star Trek the original series in reruns on Sunday mornings so, as you can imagine, that made quite the impression and was one of the inspirations for founding the Galactic Netcasts network in 2011. You can hear Dave on The Alien Invasion, The SciFi Geeks Club and Weird World Weekly podcasts. Follow him on Twitter @davenelsonvoice