NASA expands research into mining lunar ice, minerals to sustain humans on the moonNASA’s desire to mine ice and minerals on the moon is driving new research on Earth into how astronauts could use moon materials to make machine parts, pave roads and construct living quarters.

Scientists have studied lunar rocks brought back from Apollo missions, and NASA has confirmed the existence of water ice in craters on the moon’s South Pole. University scholars and engineers at NASA are now trying to perfect uses for those resources.

NASA wants to be ready to mine whatever it finds when it lands, probably on the South Pole of the moon, for upcoming missions, according to Jerry Sanders, an agency engineer and team leader on such mining efforts.

“When we go to the north or the south pole, and we actually start mucking about with the regolith, we may find some things that the Apollo missions didn’t, but from a very large perspective, we think we know what to expect,” Sanders told UPI in an interview.