The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to mine minerals from the lunar surface, Daily Mail reported Monday.
ESA has signed up rocket maker ArianeGroup to develop plans to mine regolith on the moon. It hopes to extract water and oxygen from the ore, providing fuel and other materials needed for further exploratory missions, according to the report.
"As ESA and other agencies prepare to send humans back to the Moon - this time to stay - technologies that make use of materials available in space are seen as key to sustainability, and a stepping stone in humankind's adventure to Mars and farther into the Solar System," Daily Mail quoted ESA as saying.
Ariane is hoping Ariane 64, the four-booster version of Ariane 6, would enable this European mission to carry the equipment needed for a moon landing, the report said.
The rocket maker is also working with German start-up PTScientists, which will provide the lunar lander, and Belgian company Space Applications Services, which will provide the ground control facilities, the communications and the associated service operations, it added.