The European Space Agency hopes to excavate the Moon for Water and Oxygen in six years.
The agency made a big step towards this ambition by signing a contract with ArianeGroup launcher on Monday. The one-year contract stipulates that the company will investigate the possibility of mining – a lunar soil and fragments of rocks that can bring oxygen and water, which could be very useful if you are trying to set up a base on the moon.
The mission would use the Ariane 64. The European Space Agency (ESA) has already sent ArianeGroup, a joint venture between Airbus and Safran, to develop a craft, and the first test flight is scheduled for 2020.
As for the lunar lander, which would come from the German startup PTScientists (which is fun for "Part-Time Scientists") – the same equipment that aims to place the first mobile network on the Moon.
Europe, of course, is not the only place to look at the moon because of the possibilities of mining. China and India are also interested in extracting a nuclear fuel called helium-3, which could be useful for securing safer nuclear power and potentially feeding future space vehicles.
This month, China succeeded in landing the first lunar probe on the dark side of the Moon. Its ultimate goal is to establish a lunar base. Despite the commercial tensions on Earth, NASA has been cooperating with the Chinese on this front.