The study may also make it possible to produce Moon rocket fuel, which will allow future expeditions to go further into space. Parker, director of ESA's Human and Robotic Studies, in a statement. Regolith is a layer of loose soil that covers the surface of the Moon, which is rich in iron oxide. And it is possible to extract large amounts of oxygen caught in rocky soil material, scientists say.
"This study is part of the overall ESA plan to make Europe a partner in global research over the next decade," Parker said. The project is already under study and scientists hope to use the Ariana 64 missile in the coming years to send mining equipment to the moon.