Space Resource Utilization Hardware Field Demonstration

CIM Toronto 2009
Jacqueline Quinn, Thomas Simon,
Abstract NASA’s Constellation Program plans to return humans to the moon by the end of the next decade. Constellation will be different from Apollo in many ways. One really unique difference will be the use of resources found on the moon to produce consumables needed by the Astronauts. The first consumable produced on moon will be oxygen, which we will extract from the regolith of the moon. NASA plans to produce at least one metric ton of oxygen on the moon each year to make up for known losses in the life support system. There are other potential resources, such as water, that might be found in the permanently shadowed craters of the poles. NASA has been developing new systems that are intended to find and take advantage of these lunar resources. NASA recently completed a field demonstration of several of these systems.

In November of 2008, NASA’s In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) project conducted a test of several systems at a lunar analog site located in Hawaii. In certain places, Hawaii’s volcanic soil is similar to that of the moon. So it was a perfect place to test systems designed to produce oxygen from the soil and to test our ability to prospect for other resources, such as water or solar wind volatiles. The paper will cover the reasons behind a field demonstration, the factors that went into site selection, each system’s functions, their designs and the test results.
Keywords: ISRU, Demonstration, Space Resources, Field test
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from CIM Toronto 2009