As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the moon in the Artemis program, the space agency is increasingly eyeing the use of lunar resources to reduce the expense of launching everything from Earth.
NASA recently selected 10 proposals to develop technologies for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA, in partnership with the National Space Grant Foundation, has selected seven university teams to develop innovative design ideas that will help NASA advance and execute its Artemis program objectives.
The selections are a part of the 2021 Moon to Mars eXploration Systems and Habitation (M2M X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge, sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) division. The winning teams will be given monetary awards ranging from $15,000- $50,000 to assist them in designing and producing studies, research findings or functional products that bridge strategic knowledge gaps, increase capabilities and lower technology risks related to NASA’s Moon to Mars space exploration missions.
NASA has released the Artemis Accords, which the space agency describes as a set of principles for a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space that it will require that partners in the lunar program adopt.
“International space agencies that join NASA in the Artemis program will do so by executing bilateral Artemis Accords agreements, which will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for the benefit of humanity,” the space agency said.
NASA Innovative Advance Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award Amount: $125,000
Fueling a Human Mission to Mars
Caroline Genzale Georgia Tech Research Corporation
As a multidisciplinary team of mechanical, aerospace, and biological engineers, we propose to co-develop a renewable, liquid, storage stable rocket propellant that can be produced and burned on Mars using bioorganisms to perform atmospheric in-situ resource utilization (ISRU).
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including title IV of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (Public Law 114-90), it is hereby ordered as follows:
White Paper from the Luxembourg Space Agency focusses on opportunities for collaboration between terrestrial and space mining sectors
LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — On 9 October 2019, the second Mining Space Summit gathered more than 180 experts, from 24 countries, working in fields as diverse as oil & gas, terrestrial mining, space, finance, and government.
Held in Luxembourg, the goal of the Summit was to understand the technical and economic challenges facing the space resources industry and make recommendations for the future growth of this high technology sector.
By Linda Herridge NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
Digging on the Moon is a hard job for a robot. It has to be able to collect and move lunar soil, or regolith, but anything launching to the Moon needs to be lightweight. The problem is excavators rely on their weight and traction to dig on Earth. NASA has a solution, but is looking for ideas to make it better. Once matured, robotic excavators could help NASA establish a sustainable presence on the Moon under the Artemis lunar exploration program, a few years after landing astronauts on the surface.
ESA’s technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.
NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A prototype oxygen plant has been set up in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory of the European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, based in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.
“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.