Luxembourg is determined to set new challenges in space mining in order to develop a new economic pillar. This is the reason the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the space robotics company ispace in the context of the SpaceResources.lu initiative with focus on developing miniaturized technology to discover, map and utilise resources on the Moon. The european office of the company, ispace Europe SA, will settle in Luxembourg City within the facilities of Paul Wurth InCub which offers a dedicated support program for innovative companies. “With strong technological, legal and financial support, we are convinced that Luxembourg is the best place for us to begin our European operations”, said Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of ispace and the leader of team Hakuto.
The japanese start-up, one of the finalists of the Google Lunar XPRIZEcontest, is specialised in lunar exploration and focused on developing micro-robot systems. One of them is the “Hakuto” robot who is capable to send high resolution pictures to earth. For its part, Luxembourg contributes by providing financial support the launch of the robot to the moon. The launch of the mission is scheduled in December 2017.
Technology made in Luxembourg
Within the framework of this Memorandum of Understanding, Luxembourg will have the possibility to participate in a mars mission by contributing financially at the promotion level and with the commercial use of space resources. The investments by the Luxembourg government in space mining are essentially the funding of national R&D grants or programs of the European Space Agency (ESA) in order to co-fund relevant research and development activities such as the ispace “roving spectrometer”, which was completely developed in Luxembourg. This project aims to bring the spectrometer to the surface of the Moon to explore elemental compositions of the lunar ice and regolith.
The technology of the mass spectrometer was completely developed by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).
(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)