New Composite Material Could Make Manufacturing on the Moon and Mars More Efficient

Above: An experimental composite material for the Moon/Mars cures inside an acrylic vacuum chamber. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawai’i (PISCES PR) — NASA has plans to put humans back on the Moon as early as 2025 and ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) will be a crucial technology for establishing the infrastructure needed to sustain humans in the harsh lunar environment. Using raw, native materials, ISRU can provide vital resources like breathable air, tools or building blocks for shelters.

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Masten & PISCES Receive NASA Grant to Develop Low-energy 3D Construction Method for Moon, Mars

HILO, HI (PISCES PR) — Masten Space Systems together with Pacific International Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has been awarded a NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase 1 grant of up to $125,000 to develop a low-energy, additive construction method for the moon and Mars.

When humans go back to the moon, they will need materials to build shelter, infrastructure and crucial components for survival and operations. Not only that, but they will need an energy-efficient technique that takes raw materials and turns them into usable products—all in the vacuum of space.

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HALO Program Offers Remote Testing at Analog Site for Moon and Mars

ODG Alpha Argo rover (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, HI (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is launching a new program offering remote or on-site access to a lunar analog environment with a planetary rover. Called Hawaiʻi Analog for Lunar Operations (H4LO), the program includes an ODG Alpha Argo rover with open payload design, allowing interested parties to test various instruments and devices for lunar and Mars exploration. The rover can be operated by third parties anywhere in the world using highspeed internet.

The lunar analog environment is a rugged volcanic landscape on Hawaii Island located within the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority’s (NELHA) Hawaiʻi Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park. With a similar appearance and chemical composition to the lunar and Martian surface, the site provides a realistic testing arena for human and robotic space missions.

For inquiries and more information about the H4LO program, please contact us at dbedt.pisces@hawaii.gov or call +1 (808) 935-8270.

New Sintering Method May Reduce Cost of ISRU Production for Earth, Moon and Mars

A durable new basalt tile uses a binding agent to reduce energy use. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, HI (PR) — After nearly a year of research, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) scientists have developed a new ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) process that significantly reduces the time and energy needed to produce sintered basalt products. The sintering temperature required to fuse raw particles into a cohesive material has been reduced by more than 20 percent.

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Basalt Launch Pad Tiles to Undergo Testing by NASA

Geology Tech Kyla Edison removes basalt tiles from their molds after being sintered. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) completed a large batch of sintered basalt tiles last month for testing by NASA’s Swamp Works at Kennedy Space Center. Thirty tiles will be assessed as a launch and landing pad material. The testing will be conducted by Masten Space Systems in Mojave, Calif.

Earlier this year, Masten tested a 12” x 12” x 1” tile made by PISCES, subjecting it to a two-second rocket burst fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid methane. The results of the test caught the interest of Swamp Works, who requested the latest batch of tiles.

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Planetary LEGO Blocks Take Shape in Hawaii

Planetary LEGOs (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — These LEGO blocks are not the familiar plastics bricks you may have pieced together as a kid or given to your children to play with. In fact, these blocks could one day form the foundations of habitats and infrastructure supporting astronauts on places like Mars, the Moon and other worlds.

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NASA Selects Honeybee Robotics for Six Small Business Awards

The green oval highlights the plumes Hubble observed on Europa. The area also corresponds to a warm region on Europa’s surface. The map is based on observations by the Galileo spacecraft (Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/USGS)

Honeybee Robotics will begin developing new technologies that would allow a lander to drill into the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa and collect samples for analysis with the help of a pair of NASA small business awards.

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NASA Plans Further Laser Communications Tests in Hawaii

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HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — Since its founding in 1958, NASA has solely relied on RF (radio frequency) technology to facilitate communications between spacecrafts in the heavens and bases on Earth. While RF continues to be the mainstay for space communication, rapidly advancing technologies and science instruments, as well as an increasingly crowded RF spectrum are driving the need for an alternative and superior method.

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Construction of Prototype Lunar Base Proposed for Hawaii

moon_base
HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — During the Hawai’i Aerospace Summit in Honolulu last October, PISCES Board Chairperson and entrepreneur Henk Rogers called for the construction of a prototype lunar base on the Big Island that could catapult the State of Hawai’i into the frontlines of the global aerospace industry.

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PISCES, NASA Team Up for Simulated Human Mars Mission

PISCES’ John Hamilton (r) in the field at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, with two simulation astronauts. (Credit: PISCES)
PISCES’ John Hamilton (r) in the field at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, with two simulation astronauts. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii  (PISCES PR) — This November, PISCES is partnering with NASA’s BASALT research group to conduct a full-scale Mars simulation exercise on the rugged lava terrain in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP). BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) is one of NASA’s prestigious PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) grant programs, combining their Science Directorate and Exploration Mission Directorates.

The main goal of BASALT is to develop the mission technologies and protocols necessary for anticipated human missions on the Red Planet. Future Mars astronauts will be able to use these valuable methods to research and operate on the Martian terrain, extracting samples for geologists, geochemists and astro-biologists to search for potential signs of microbial life.

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PISCES Signs Agreement With NASA for Lunar Landing Pad Project

The Helelani Rover during initial integration tests with one of the end effectors to be used in the site preparation phase of the lunar landing pad project. (Credit: PISCES)
The Helelani Rover during initial integration tests with one of the end effectors to be used in the site preparation phase of the lunar landing pad project. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) – The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), formally establishing a partnership for the development of a lunar landing pad test site on the Big Island.

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Hawaii Legislature Considers 3 Space Measures

PISCESHILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — In early February, the Pacific International Center for Space Exploration Systems (PISCES) submitted three legislative bills intended to further the Center’s project goals and development.

The first bill, SB 672, appropriates general funding for the Center to continue its planetary surface systems work enabling Hawaii to move to the forefront of the aerospace sector, as well as an additional appropriation for the acquisition of a central headquarters and testing facility.

SB 671 is a PISCES-led basalt rebar initiative requesting funds for an engineering study to determine how volcanic basalt can be used as an asset and potential new industry in the state of Hawaii.  The study will assess if Hawaii’s basalt can be used as a material in manufacturing basalt rebar – a considerably lighter, and stronger alternative to steel rebar – while investigating the necessary energy support needed for production.  The bill requests federal matching funds for the engineering study, to be conducted over a one-year period.

Special Fund bill SB 1158 proposes the establishment of a special fund for the operation, maintenance, and management of all PISCES projects, facilities, services, and publications.  The bill also provides the ability for the Center to accept outside revenue.

The bills are currently being evaluated by legislative committees for further approval.











Hawaiian High School Students to Design Experiments for Moon Flight

`Iolani School’s Moon RIDERS team. (Credit: PISCES)
`Iolani School’s Moon RIDERS team. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is pleased to announce the two Hawaii high schools chosen for the Moon RIDERS student lunar flight experiment!

Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island, and `Iolani School in Honolulu on Oahu, have been selected to participate in the unprecedented student project to develop, build, test, and fly a real-life lunar experiment to the surface of the Moon!

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Hawaiian Students to Work With NASA on Lunar Surface Experiment

Electrodynamic dust shield (Credit: PISCES)
Electrodynamic dust shield (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), formally establishing a partnership to jointly work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) project that will give students the opportunity to develop a space experiment and send it to the surface of the Moon.

The experiment involves electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) technology. Under the Space Act Agreement, KSC will mentor the selected Hawaii students. This includes consulting them on the physics of the EDS; the design, development, and construction of mounting and integration hardware; and testing and analysis of a flight experiment configuration.

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PISCES Embarks on Lunar Concrete Development Project

Artist rendering of 3-D printed structures on the moon.  (Credit:  Behnaz Farahi and Connor Wingfield)
Artist rendering of 3-D printed structures on the moon. (Credit: Behnaz Farahi and Connor Wingfield)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — Hawaii lawmakers passed a Resolution April 15th supporting PISCES and NASA-partnered projects that involve using lava rock, or basalt, as construction material for use on Earth and in outer space.

One of these projects calls for developing ‘lunar concrete’ using basalt. This technology – also known as “basaltic concrete” – could potentially make Hawaii ‘greener’ by reducing the amount of concrete the Aloha State imports from the mainland, as well as creating jobs in manufacturing and technology at home.

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