Deltion Innovations Ltd. of Capreol, Ontario has been awarded a $700,000 contract by the Canadian Space Agency to develop a multi-purpose device designed for future mining on the Moon and Mars.
The company, near Sudbury, will develop the combination drill and rotary multi-use tool that would be installed on the end of a robotic arm. The tool is designed to drill into rock and other materials enabling it to retrieve mineral samples, ice and test for water.
The tool, which weighs about 20 kilograms and runs on solar power, would also be used in robotic construction, maintenance and repair tasks on the Moon and Mars.
Dale Boucher, CEO of Deltion, said in a news release that the project continues his company’s “unique heritage” of space mining technology developments.
Deltion is subcontracting work to two other Ontario companies; Neptec Design Group of Kanata and Atlas Copco of North Bay. Deltion has its own testing facility in Capreol.
The project, part of the CSA’s space technology development program, has been given the acronym “PROMPT” (Percussive and Rotary Multi-Purpose Tool).
There have been a number of developments in recent years regarding the commercialization of space. In 2008, astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmidt, the only geologist to walk on the Moon (Apollo 17) began promoting the mining of helium 3, a mineral found on the surface of the Moon that could be concentrated and shipped back to Earth for use as a radioactive-free major source of energy.
In November 2015, President Barak Obama signed legislation that grants US citizens to stake claims and own resources mined in space. Meanwhile, Washington State-based Planetary Resources is planning to mine asteroids as is the small European country of Luxembourg.