In-Situ Resource Utilisation
The role of Lunar resources in exploration
When living and working on the Moon and Mars humans will need oxygen, water and other consumables for life support, propellant for landers and ascenders, and materials for construction and manufacturing of equipment. Today, astronauts working on-board the International Space Station rely on these resources to be transported from Earth to space. If long duration stays are planned for the Moon and Mars however, then the use of locally sourced resources for consumables, propellant, construction and materials may be key to long term sustainability.
Local resources produced on the Moon and Mars can be used for life support and power systems, propellant production, or building habitats. The extraction and processing of local resources into useful products and services on another celestial body is often referred to as In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU). ESA is working to understand the opportunities ISRU can offer to future exploration and to prepare through research, technology and missions.