EL PASO, Texas -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has tapped the University of Texas El Paso as one of six universities to help develop a way to mine for water on the Moon's surface that will help with deep space exploration.
UTEP's Aerospace Center has developed an advanced thermal mining approach that could release, transport, and process the water that is found frozen in the Moon's surface.
“We need to be able to use the materials that are already on the Moon, rather than take everything with us," Amelia Greig, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UTEP, explained.
The first step is to extract the water from the surface. The team suggests heating the surface of the Moon to release the water in a similar process to evaporation. Once the water is released it will be vapor, such as the steam we see when water boils.
The team then says they will positively charge the water molecules so that the water can be moved using electric and magnetic forces through the vacuum of space where it can be collected.
The water can be used as a vital resource for astronauts there trying to create a settlement on the Moon, or can be used to create rocket propellant that can transport mankind further into deep space. A job that UTEP faculty and staff are ready for.
“That the United States will have a large settlement on the surface of the Moon and UTEP and El Paso will be there," Ahsan Choudhuri, principal investigator of the project, said.