US lunar mining company Shackleton Energy (SEC) and Zaptec have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the potential for developing lunar drilling tools.

The companies will investigate how Zaptec’s existing techology could be repurposed to create lightweight power infrastructure to extract water and minerals from the moon.

SEC COO Jim Keravala said: "Zaptec’s miniature electronic transformer technology can enable significant mass reduction for space infrastructure.

"We are constantly looking for technologies that reduce size and power requirements for energy-efficient operations in free space and on the moon. It will also be able to power high­voltage, plasma drilling technology, adding to Shackleton’s water and mineral extraction equipment.

Norwegian-based Zaptec has developed a potential solution that originated in the oil and gas industry.

"Water ice can be extracted from the moon with lower power consumption than traditional mechanical drilling systems."

The company has developed a patented electronic transformer, which enables plasma lightning pulses to be generated and controlled in a compact drilling technology.

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Using the plasma drilling technology, water ice can be extracted from the moon with lower power consumption than traditional mechanical drilling systems.

Zaptec CEO Brage Johansen said: "We are already collaborating with NASA and ESA to develop our core technology for operations on asteroids and drilling on Mars.

"This working relationship will accelerate our technology’s development; sharing competence, skills and strategies in this way may change the industry."

Image: Shackleton and Zaptec to develop drilling solutions for operations on the moon. Photo: courtesy of Zaptec.