Apollo 17 was the eleventh manned space mission in the NASA Apollo programm. It was the first night launch of a U.S. human spaceflight and the sixth and final lunar landing mission. The mission was launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on 7 December 1972, and concluded on December 19.

1972: Apollo 17 (NASA)

In-Situ Resource Utilization on the Moon
. Historical Missions on the MOON



















Lunar Habitat concept

special Mission

Missions History

The Moon was first visited by the U.S.S.R.’s Luna 1 and 2 in 1959, and a number of U.S. and U.S.S.R. robotic spacecraft followed. The U.S. sent three classes of robotic missions to prepare the way for human exploration: the Rangers (1961–1965) were impact probes, the Lunar Orbiters (1966–1967) mapped the surface to find landing sites, and the Surveyors (1966–1968) were soft landers.

The first human landing on the Moon was on July 20, 1969. During the Apollo missions of 1969–1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the Moon and used a Lunar Roving Vehicle to travel on the surface and extend their studies of soil mechanics, meteoroids, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar wind. The Apollo astronauts brought back 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rock and soil to Earth for study.

After a long hiatus, lunar exploration resumed in the 1990s with the U.S. robotic missions Clementine and Lunar Prospector. Results from both missions suggested that water ice might be present at the lunar poles, but a controlled impact of the Prospector spacecraft produced no observable water.

The European Space Agency was first in the new millennium with SMART-1 in 2003, followed by Kaguya (Japan), Chang’e 1 (China), and Chandrayaan-1 (India) in 2007–2008. The U.S. began a new series of robotic lunar missions with the joint launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) in 2009. In 2011, a pair of repurposed spacecraft began the ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) mission. In 2012, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) twin spacecraft studied the Moon’s gravity field and produced the highest-resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is scheduled to launch in 2013.

From Earth, we see always the same face of the Moon because  it spin on its axis at the same speed that it go around Earth. This is what we say it is in synchronous rotation with our Earth.

The light areas of the Moon are known as the highlands and the dark one, maria, while are impact basins that were filled with lava between 4.2 and 1.2 billion years ago.These light and dark areas represent rocks of different composition and ages, which provide evidence for how the early crust may have crystallized from a lunar magma ocean. The craters themselves, provide an impact history for the Moon and other bodies in the inner solar system.

Lunar In-Situ-Resource-Utilization (ISRU) is a stepping stone for Human Exploration beyond Earth Orbit.

Relatively close to us, it provides comparable environments and resources to be exploited for other destinations. Ours technologies and capabilities developed for the Moon can be utilized anywhere in space.

As resulted from spacecrafts' mission on the Moon is the Lunar pole volatiles are game changing to sustaining Human Exploration and Commercialization of Space.


Distance from Earth is 384,400 km (238,855 miles) . Its Orbit Period is 27.32 Earth days . Its Orbit Eccentricity is 0.05490 orbit (Circular Orbit = 0) . Inclination to Ecliptic is 5.145 degree (deg), of Equator to Orbit is 6.68 deg . Its Rotation period is 27.32 Earth days . Equatorial radius is 1,737.4 km (1,079.6 mi) . Mass is 0.0123 of Earth's . Density is 3.341 g/cm3 (0.61 of Earth's) . Gravity is 0.166 of Earth's . Temperature Range between 248 to 123 deg C (-414 to 253 deg F)


ISRU involves any hardware or operation that harnesses and utilizes ‘in-situ’ resources to create products and services for robotic and human exploration.

(1) Resource Assessment (Prospecting)/Assessment and mapping of physical, mineral, chemical, and volatile/water resources, terrain, geology, and environment.

(2) Resource Acquisition /Extraction, excavation, transfer, and preparation/ beneficiation before Processing.

(3) Resource Processing- Consumable Production /Processing resources into products with immediate use or as feedstock for construction and/or manufacturing Propellants, life support gases, fuel cell reactants, etc.

(4) In Situ Manufacturing / Production of replacement parts, complex products, machines, and integrated systems from feedstock derived from one or more processed resources. 

(5) In Situ Construction /Civil engineering, infrastructure emplacement and structure construction using materials produced from in situ resources Radiation shields, landing pads, roads, berms, habitats, etc.

(6) In Situ Energy /Generation and storage of electrical, thermal, and chemical energy with in situ derived materials Solar arrays, thermal storage and energy, chemical batteries, etc.

Reference: Johnson Space Center Engineering Directorate / L-8: In-Situ Resource Utilization Capabilities  by Jerry Sanders,  November 2016.

In-SituResource Utilization on the Moon

For Space Travel and many chemical rocket types, Oxygen (O2) is an interesting resource to produce on extraterrestrial bodies as the Moon because this gas is the most massive component used in propulsion. Also, producing O2 for propulsion systems either commercially or to support exploration of others locations will benefit lunar bases, as well as for life support.

To produce the common fuel from the lunar material, it will be a little bit challenging since hydrocarbons (H2) are physically absent. But, it is not scary because, today, we know that the Polar Regions have permanently shadowed craters in which water ice is present. So, we can mine this ice and, by electrolyze, producing H2 and O2, which can be used for fuel. Miner have to remember, H2 is difficult to store because it requires cryogenic tank.

In the high latitudes of the Moon, water is in the form of hydrated minerals. Then, it will be recommended to develop alternatives technologies to make a kind of rocket that don’t use H2. In that sense, metal propellants as aluminum (Al) or magnesium (Mg) are interesting.

To be sure the Mining Industry go to an expendable way, it will be desirable to refine raw materials for other purposes in the next steps.

Possible Products from Lunar Regolith

On the Moon, you can find everywhere Fer (Fe) and steel, aluminium (Al) and titanium (Ti. These metals can be used in manufacturing processes for bases purposes, in-space exploration or earth products. 

Metals can also be used as wires conductors, notably, by Ai, a very abundance material in lunar soil, which provide an high electrical conductivity. To be considered, no matter that it can’t be used on Earth because its high reactivity with O2, calcium has a good conductivity in vacuum applications.

Glass and Ceramics

Solar arrays required transparent glass and the primary glass-forming material, silicon oxide, is abundant on the Moon in the form of silicates. But, we know that, to obtain transparency, we need to refining it, most particularly by removing trace amounts of Fe and other transition metal oxides, which produce color centers.

Also, ceramics are useful too as insulators and with its fibers it can be very effective for structural composites.

But, several oxides used to adjust the properties of glass are not so abundant on the Moon. Examples:Sodium oxide (Na2O), typically used to reduce the melting point; Boron oxide (B2O3), to produce borosilicate glass, is typically used to adjust the thermal expansion coefficient.

All that Lunar soil realities means the mining industry and manufacturers has to invent new glass compositions to reduce or eliminate the amounts of these traditional material of fabrication.


One of the most important issues for settlement is production of power. Many different semiconductors can be used to produce photovoltaic cells, but from the standpoint of lunar abundance of materials, the clear choice for locally-manufactured cells is Si solar cells. But, if we want using Si for semiconductor applications, it has to be highly purified.

Civil-Engineering Materials

In addition to structural materials, lunar settlements will undoubtedly require less highly processed material. Although habitation structures on the Moon will not be made of ordinary bricks (since habitats must hold pressure, and hence will be tension structures), there will still be the need for the equivalent of concrete, asphalt, and bricks. Many possibilities for such bulk material exist, including sintered or melted regolith bricks, material produced from slag from other processes, or composite materials comprising aggregate fill cemented with a ceramic matrix.

Processing Methods

A processing sequence can be broken into three main steps: (1) Acquisition and beneficiation (if required) of feedstock; (2) Reduction; and (3) Refining of the desired raw materials and purification to the required level.

Processing Overview

The acquisition portion of the processing is a sequence of prospecting (if required), materials acquisition and mining, grinding or otherwise preparing the material for processing, and (for some sequences) beneficiation of the input material to increase the concentration of the desired mineral. Preferably, the sequence selected could be fed from regolith that is available at any lunar location, minimizing and possibly eliminating the need for prospecting and for beneficiation.

The reduction step comprises stripping the O2 away from oxides. This step produces the main product, O2. Lunar regolith is primarily silicates, in which the oxides are in the form of O2 bridging between Si atoms, chemically bonded to metal cations in a strongly-bound net. The reduction process therefore requires breaking the Si-O2 bonds.

After the O2 is produced, the by product is reduced (or partially reduced) metals. The resultant product may be a mixture of metals. To turn this into useable raw material, the desired materials must be separated and purified to the levels needed. Many sequences for O2 production have been previously reviewed (Refs. 1 to 3). Sequences of interest here are those that reduce the main components of lunar regolith, to produce metals.

Reference:In-Situ Resource Utilization for Space Exploration: Resource Processing, Mission-Enabling Technologies, and Lessons for Sustainability on Earth and Beyond - A.F. Hepp and Al. / Prepared for Propulsion and Energy Forum 2014 sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Cleveland, Ohio, July 28–30, 2014