TOMSK, January 27. /TASS/. Specialists from the Tomsk State University (TSU) in Siberia joined a consortium on the development of a space resource base. A testing center for developing for tapping hydrogen and helium on the Moon will be set up within this framework, TSU Vice-Principal for Innovations Konstantin Belyakov told TASS on Friday.
"Terrestrial technologies cannot be used on the Moon. As an example, very heavy equipment with the weight of tens and thousands of tonnes is used in order to mine metals on Earth. Huge costs and tremendous efforts are needed to take equivalent terrestrial mining technology and bring it to the Moon. Therefore, new technologies could emerge, which will be inefficient from a standpoint of usage on the Earth, yet requiring tests," Belyakov said. Prototypes of mining equipment for operations on the Moon may appear in coming 5-10 years, he added.
The Moon may be promising in terms of producing hydrogen and helium that can be used to create spacecraft fuel, Belyakov noted. Fuel delivery from the Moon’s orbit will be much more efficient than fuel supply to space from the Earth, even despite significantly greater production cost on the Moon, he added.