Space Resources Challenge holds in Luxembourg

09 September 2022

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Lunar rovers competition

From 5 to 9 September 2022, the final of the ESA-ESRIC Space Resources Challenge is taking place in Luxembourg. At this occasion, lunar rover prototypes will compete on a 1.800 sqm “lunar” terrain and the winner will get the possibility to fly his/her technology on the Moon.

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) are asking European industries and research institutions to find innovative technical methods for prospecting resources on the Moon. 

In an effort to draw lessons from further afield as possible, the challenge aims to find ideas that will help to adapt resource prospecting to the space age. 

Robotic prototypes

Using Challenge Driven Innovation, ESA-ESRIC have launched a Space Resources Challenge, where robotic prototypes are competing on a lunar analogue terrain. The Challenge asked European industries, researchers and institutions to develop and demonstrate a system of one or more vehicles capable of prospecting resources on the Moon in the near future.

What is prospecting resources on the Moon?

Luxembourg has the ambition to become a knowledge-driven data economy, actively seeking to diversify its economic activities by taking up the latest technological developments and providing high value added.

The Moon is the next step in human exploration. In order to establish habitats there, one needs ways to collect the resources already present and use them in-situ. Prospecting is how one finds such resources. Terrestrial prospecting technologies need to be adapted to the rigours of a dusty, vacuum environment and temperature extremes of the lunar surface.

The competition

In a covered, controlled environment of 2500 square-meters and a 14 meter high ceiling, the Challenge creates a simplified moon analogue terrain divided into 2 areas:
1) a traversal zone area and 2) a region of interest.

Participants will have 2 1/2 hours to traverse to the region of interest and to localise and characterise the rocks they find there.

5 winners have already been awarded a €75K development contract with ESA to develop their prototype. The winners will be evaluated by a jury and pending programmatic approval one winner will receive up to €550.000 in development contracts from ESA and ESRIC.

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