Identifying Challenges along the Lunar ISRU Value Chain

The European Space Agency (ESA), in partnership with the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) in Luxembourg, is seeking input to define its forward Challenge-Driven Innovation strategic roadmap aiming to develop novel solutions enabling the use of space resources and their markets. Our goal is to gather challenge ideas advancing the current state of knowledge and technology regarding the extraction and utilisation of space resources.

We will focus on the knowledge and technological gaps in the ISRU value chain that can be addressed in the short-term through ground-based challenges, with the possibility of maturing promising technologies in space and even bringing the competition to the Moon in the future!

Space resources are critical for sustainable space exploration, enabling us to reduce the costs and risks associated with transporting resources from Earth across space. The Moon is a particularly promising target for resource extraction, given its proximity to Earth and the abundance of exploitable resources available.

Lunar-sourced resources such as oxygen, metals, and raw regolith will play a fundamental role in future in-space economies. Applications include life support, refuelling of spacecrafts, energy storage, construction of surface infrastructures, and even in-space manufacturing.