Scientist Devises A Solar Reactor To Make Water And Oxygen From Moon Rocks

Thorsten Denk’s paper Design and Test of a Concentrated Solar Powered Fluidized Bed Reactor for Ilmenite Reduction was presented at the 23rd Annual SolarPACES Conference in Chile. (Thorsten Denk – Presentation (pdf) Working over a ten year period at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria (CIEMAT) Denk has designed and built a device to make enough …Read More

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What Do We Need To Know To Mine An Asteroid?

The mining of resources contained in asteroids, for use as propellant, building materials or in life-support systems, has the potential to revolutionize exploration of our Solar System. To make this concept a reality, we need to increase our knowledge of the very diverse population of accessible Near Earth Asteroids (NEA). Last year, dozens of the …Read More

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PISCES And Honeybee Robotics Receive NASA STTR Grant To Develop In-Situ Resource Utilization

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. have received a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to jointly develop an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology that could launch the future of space settlement. ISRU takes raw, natively sourced materials and converts them into usable resources. On places …Read More

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Honeybee Robotics Secures Six Phase I SBIR/STTR Awards From NASA For Spacecraft, Drilling, And Sampling System Development

Honeybee Robotics today announced it has received four NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards and two NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award to develop new spacecraft systems and enabling technologies. The awards will allow Honeybee to analyze concepts for advanced future planetary exploration, sampling, in-situ resource utilization, and on-orbit …Read More

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Deep Space Industries Secures NASA Aerobrake Funding

Deep Space Industries and the University of Tennessee have been awarded NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program funding for developing technology to slow spacecraft carrying asteroid resources as they return to Earth’s orbit. The purpose of asteroid mining is to collect fuel and building materials harvested from near Earth asteroids and provide them to commercial …Read More

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Mechanism Underlying Size-Sorting Of Rubble On Asteroid Itokawa Revealed

In 2005, the Hayabusa spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) landed on Itokawa, a small near-Earth asteroid named after the famous Japanese rocket scientist Hideo Itokawa. The aim of the unmanned mission was to study the asteroid and collect a sample of material to be returned to Earth for analysis. Contrary to …Read More

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Imaging Tiny Comet Dust In 3D

Rosetta has imaged the smallest grains of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s dust yet, with its Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System, MIDAS. MIDAS works by collecting and then physically scanning grains with an Atomic Force Microscope. This uses a very fine tip, a bit like an old-fashioned record player needle, that is scanned over a particle. The deflection of …Read More

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SwRI’s BORE Microgravity Payload Flies Aboard Commercial Suborbital Spaceflight

A Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) experiment designed to assess the surface properties and processes of near-Earth asteroids successfully flew aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle April 2. The Box of Rocks Experiment (BORE) consists of two transparent boxes enclosing two types of rocks that simulate an asteroid’s regolith — the layer of loose, heterogeneous …Read More

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Resource Prospector 2015 Field Testing Complete

Resource Prospector (RP) is an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) capability demonstration mission currently planned to launch in 2020. Expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit to asteroids and Mars will require the maximum possible utilization of local materials — so-called in-situ resources. RP aims to be the first mission to validate prospecting, extraction, and analysis of …Read More

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Harnessing Power From The Moon

Can our moon help fuel an energy-hungry Earth? Work is in progress to build equipment that can demonstrate the extraction of helium-3 (3He)–helium with two protons and one neutron–and other volatiles from the moon’s resource-rich soil known as regolith. Volatiles are chemical elements and chemical compounds with low boiling points; the moon is a treasure-trove …Read More

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