On Tuesday, May 9th, the Polish Space Agency summarized the ongoing consultations regarding the Polish lunar mission, which have been ongoing since June 2022. Over 20 entities participated in nearly a year’s worth of work, resulting in 4 mission concepts. “The sector consultations have yielded a tangible effect – they have shown primarily that managing such dispersed scientific and industrial potential within one project is possible. They have also opened up development prospects for scientists and companies, as the developed concepts are original on a global scale and are based on Polish know-how and the capabilities of the domestic industry,” emphasized Prof. Grzegorz Wrochna, President of POLSA.
Among the participants in the concluding meeting were: Kamila Król, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, and Jacek Orzeł, Acting Director of the National Center for Research and Development.
Lunar research contributes to a deeper understanding of both the Solar System and Earth itself. Additionally, the planned construction of lunar infrastructure, such as the Lunar Gateway station orbiting the Moon, prepares us for deep space exploration. The lunar surface conditions offer the opportunity for research and technological work that is difficult or impossible to perform on Earth. This opens the door to new scientific discoveries and innovative technologies that can be utilized back on Earth.
The construction and maintenance of lunar bases will require resources. Transporting resources from Earth is cost-prohibitive, making local extraction and processing the optimal solution.
The sector consultations have resulted in the identification of a priority project for Poland – sending the MIRORES instrument to lunar orbit, which will create maps of resources on the Silver Globe (the Moon). They have also generated mature experiment concepts that could be used in future lunar missions, and even on other celestial bodies.
Professor Jakub Ciążela, Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences: presented the concept of an orbital mission using the MIRORES instrument, with the goal of identifying areas on the Moon with the highest resource potential. These areas hold strategic significance for future lunar bases.
Professor Mirosław Rataj, CBK PAN: Poland’s significant experience in building scientific instruments, particularly spectrometers, which have already been used in several interplanetary missions of the European Space Agency.
Professor Karol Seweryn, CBK PAN: introduced the PETER experiment, which would enable an understanding of soil mechanics in low-gravity conditions. This knowledge is essential for constructing durable lunar infrastructure.
Professor Paweł Knapkiewicz, Wrocław University of Science and Technology: presented the concept of a miniature laboratory for studying cancer cells in space conditions, as well as an innovative project for a miniature spectrometer for detecting and analyzing gases in very rare or practically non-existent atmospheres.
Dr. Agata Kołodziejczyk, AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków: presented the concept of a long-term biological experiment, studying microorganism growth under constant low-gravity conditions.
All proposed projects and experiments combine Poland’s strongest scientific and technological competencies. The execution of the orbital mission is to be a part of a long-term plan for harnessing emerging global trends, including the development of space mining and other technologies necessary for future crewed missions to the Moon. National endeavors in this field will prepare the Polish industry for effective competition and participation in the future market related to human presence on the Moon.
In concluding the meeting, Grzegorz Wrochna announced the commencement of work on the Polish orbital lunar mission later this year.
Sector consultations regarding the lunar mission were led by Dr. Oskar Karczewski, Director of the Research and Innovation Department at POLSA.