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The Israeli Helios will produce oxygen and metals on the moon in a joint experiment with Japan

According to the plan, Helios will be included in the second and third flights of the Japanese ispace to the moon, which are expected to take place at the end of 2023 and the middle of 2024, where the experiments will be carried out for the first time to extract materials from the lunar soil

Simulation of oxygen production and shrinking on the moon. Courtesy of Helios
Simulation of oxygen and metal production on the moon. Courtesy of Helios

The first Israeli-Japanese agreement for technological cooperation in a space mission to the moon was signed today at the Japanese Embassy in Israel. According to the plan, the Israeli company Helios, with the support of the Israel Space Agency, will be integrated into the mission to the moon of the Japanese company ispace. As part of the mission, the Israeli company will conduct a first-of-its-kind technological experiment to extract oxygen and metal from lunar sand. This will be the first time in history that a new product will be made on the moon.

The signing ceremony was held with the participation of Mizushima Koichi, Ambassador of Japan to Israel, Avi Blasberger, head of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, Yonatan Geifman, CEO of Helios, and Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of ispace who joined in a video call from Japan.

Oxygen makes up to 70% of the weight of rockets

Oxygen is one of the most significant and heavy components in spaceflight and reaches up to 70% of the rocket's weight at launch. A spacecraft to the moon is expected to consume hundreds of tons of oxygen for the combustion of the rocket engines and for the human use of the astronauts. About 40% of the mass of the soil on the moon is made of oxygen that can be produced on the spot without the need to fly it from the earth and this using the technology that is being developed in Israel by the Helios company.

According to Yonatan Geifman, founder and CEO of Helios, the possibility of independent production of oxygen on the surface of the moon is a key to establishing infrastructure on the moon, and for carrying out long and complex space missions while reducing the dependence on the delivery of raw materials from Earth. The costs of launching from Earth to the Moon and other planets are enormous, up to millions of dollars per kilogram, and cannot be contained over time. The international cooperation between the companies will enable a technological breakthrough and the first ever demonstration of resource extraction technology on the moon.

According to the plan, Helios will be included in iSpace's second and third flights to the moon, which are expected to take place at the end of 2023 and mid-2024. The systems of Helios will be called Lunar Extractor - 1 and Lunar Extractor - 2. During the stay on the moon, the Israeli company will operate a system that will melt sand, and perform electrolysis in it that will break down the The minerals and oxides that make it up into oxygen and metals. The production of oxygen will be measured in real time for the purpose of improving the system, and the metallic byproduct, the system will be cast into a mold - which will create the first man-made item created on the surface of the moon in history. The ispace company, which operates in Japan, Europe and the USA, is expected to launch the first mission to the moon as early as next year, and ventures and organizations from Japan, Dubai and Canada will be integrated into it. The flight vehicle is currently under construction in Germany and the launch will be made from the USA on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket owned by the entrepreneur Elon Musk.

According to Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace, extracting raw materials on the moon will drive the space industry, which will ultimately have a positive impact on the sustainability of the Earth. ispace, a leader in the development of the lunar ecosystem, is proud to allow Helios to perform a demonstration of breakthrough technology on the surface of the moon.

Returning to the moon requires cooperation

The signing event at the Japanese Embassy in Israel. Photo: Embassy of Japan in Israel
The signing event at the Japanese Embassy in Israel. Photo: Embassy of Japan in Israel

According to Avi Blasberger, director of the Israel Space Agency at the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, the return to the moon and a permanent establishment on it requires cooperation between countries and companies. The Israel Space Agency welcomes this cooperation between the Japanese company Ispace and the Israeli company Helios and hopes that it will lead to further cooperation between the space agencies of the two countries. In our estimation, the return to the moon will create significant business opportunities in the global space industry and the companies Helios and ispace are an example of companies that will lead and be a major factor in this trend. The Israel Space Agency works to support and promote Israeli space companies with the goal of becoming a significant factor in the growing global space economy and thereby contributing to Israel's economy as well.

Mizushima Koichi, Japan's ambassador to Israel who hosted the signing ceremony, said he hopes that the important cooperation between Israel and Japan will contribute to global space exploration and pave the way for closer economic and scientific ties between the countries.

The Helios company has offices in Zur Yigal and Orlando in Florida. The development was done with the assistance of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Energy, the Innovation Authority and private investors. Among the factors accompanying the company are William Larson, former director of NASA's space resource extraction project. Professor Bertil Andersson, the former chief scientist of Europe, and Yoav Landsman, senior system engineer and deputy of the "Genesis" mission.

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2 תגובות

  1. 23 years ago I bought an acre on the moon. It is currently vacant, so if they are looking for a place for their venture I can happily rent it to them.

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