Lunar polar water resource exploration – Examination of the lunar cold trap reservoir system model and introduction of play-based exploration (PBE) techniques

Article


Casanova, Sophia, Espejel, Carlos, Dempster, Andrew G., Anderson, Robert C., Caprarelli, Graziella and Saydam, Serkan. 2020. "Lunar polar water resource exploration – Examination of the lunar cold trap reservoir system model and introduction of play-based exploration (PBE) techniques." Planetary and Space Science. 180, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2019.104742
Article Title

Lunar polar water resource exploration – Examination of the lunar cold trap reservoir system model and introduction of play-based exploration (PBE) techniques

ERA Journal ID1079
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCasanova, Sophia (Author), Espejel, Carlos (Author), Dempster, Andrew G. (Author), Anderson, Robert C. (Author), Caprarelli, Graziella (Author) and Saydam, Serkan (Author)
Journal TitlePlanetary and Space Science
Journal Citation180, pp. 1-10
Article Number104742
Number of Pages10
Year2020
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0032-0633
1873-5088
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2019.104742
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032063319301734
Abstract

Driven by a need to find low-cost energy solutions to meet anticipated demands arising from increased robotic and human cislunar activities, the extraction and utilization of naturally occurring volatiles found on the lunar surface is an area of growing interest to both the private and public space sectors. The use of hydrogen and oxygen extracted from accumulations of water is viewed as particularly promising. Several lines of evidence point to the presence of water, possibly in the form of water ice, stored within cold trap reservoirs in the permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) of the northern and southern poles of the Moon. The type and spatial resolution of available datasets however prevent evaluation of resource potential on a scale relevant to address geological uncertainties and assess the technological and economic feasibility of water resource extraction for use by an in-space market. Surface field exploration is required to reduce investment risk; however the success of resource exploration activities will depend on the selection of appropriate exploration methods. To address this we introduce the application of play-based exploration (PBE) techniques, a resource exploration approach commonly used by the terrestrial petroleum and geothermal energy industries to direct decision making regarding high-risk ventures. Applied to the Moon this method seeks to identify locations where exploration activities are most likely to encounter an economically/commercially viable quantity of water guided by the geological concepts of delivery, trapping, and storage of water molecules within a reservoir. In this study we examine the critical geological uncertainties in the reservoir system model and provide recommendations for resource exploration approach, data collection, and analysis techniques.

KeywordsAnalysis techniques; Economic feasibilities; Exploration methods; Geological uncertainty; Naturally occurring; Resource extraction; Resource potentials; Spatial resolution
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020510199. Astronomical sciences not elsewhere classified
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Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of New South Wales
California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States
International Research School of Planetary Sciences, Italy
Hypatia Scientifica, Australia
University of Southern Queensland
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