Officials from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency are in Sudbury from Oct. 19-23 to field test three unmanned moon mining vehicles with the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT).
The tests, which are taking place at the Ethier Gravel Pit in Garson northwest of the city, are early efforts to determine how well the systems are working so far and work out any bugs.
Technology from an array of Canadian companies is used in the vehicles, which are designed to plow lunar dirt and drill to test for elements.
Robotic lunar mining operations are expected to play a key role by allowing astronauts to extract water and oxygen from the surface. This will allow future space crews to stay on the Moon for more extended periods of time than the Apollo missions, which didn’t last longer than 72 hours.
NORCAT already had robotic mining technology in development when the American government committed to go back to the Moon in 2004.