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  • Daoru Han and Jacob Ortega discuss space inside plasma vacuum chamber.

    Heads held high for Missouri S&T finalists

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    Showcasing the incredible learning environment of the developing protoplex at Missouri University of Science and Technology, a multidisciplinary team of students from the school was selected as one of seven finalists in NASA's 2023 BIG Idea Challenge, and their efforts have opened the doors for many seeking to contribute toward future habitation among the stars. In the fall of 2022, NASA announced its eighth annual Breakthrough, Innovation, and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea...

  • Daoru Han and Jacob Ortega discuss space inside plasma vacuum chamber.

    NASA Lunar Forge winner earns funding

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 18, 2023

    Under the lead of a doctoral aerospace engineering student at Missouri University of Science and Technology, a team of 12 undergraduates have come together to continue research on a project that is out of this world. In the fall of 2022, NASA announced its eighth annual Breakthrough, Innovation, and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge. You can read about the initial announcement of NASA's challenge at Latest NASA challenge tackles Moon forging in the August 17, 2022 edition of... Full story

  • An astronaut holds out a rock sample collected from the Moon.

    The economic viability of asteroid mining

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Nov 25, 2023

    Arguments against the expense and impracticality of space exploration have been ongoing since before the Apollo missions ever got off the ground. In fact, NASA's budget has hovered between a minute 1% and 0.4% of the total federal budget since the 1970s. Missions fail, lose funding, or fall out of favor between presidencies. But there is one assurance that private investors can take to the bank-innovation in the face of space exploration always pays. "You have to innovate, an... Full story

  • Concept of SCAR-E exploring an asteroid of minerals.

    SCAR-E asteroid mining robot unveiled

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Oct 20, 2023

    London-based Asteroid Mining Corp. has developed the Space Capable Asteroid Robotic Explorer (SCAR-E) as a ruggedly built, adaptable, and low-cost walking and climbing robot available initially for commercial use across a range of destinations on Earth ahead of its primary task of exploring the solar system. The company developed the SCAR-E six-legged robot to outperform Spot, Boston Dynamic's robot dog. "We are coming for you Boston Dynamics," proclaimed Asteroid Mining CEO... Full story

  • Artist’s concept of 16 Psyche and the craft being sent to explore.

    Countdown to Psyche mission launch

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Sep 12, 2023

    At T-minus 25 days until the launch of the Psyche, the technicians behind this first mission to a metal-rich asteroid beyond the orbit of Mars can barely contain their excitement. "It's getting increasingly real," said Henry Stone, Psyche's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "We are counting the days. The team is more than ready to send this spacecraft off on its journey, and it's very exciting." No stranger to playing the long game,... Full story

  • Two suited crew members collect rock samples from the moon’s surface.

    Mining and manufacturing on the Moon

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Sep 6, 2023

    NASA has selected the geology team for the Artemis III moon flight, the first crewed lunar landing mission since the Apollo missions over 50 years ago. The astrogeology team will help plan geological investigations for the Artemis crew, which includes the first woman, first man of color, and first Canadian on a moon mission. Led by Brett Denevi of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Maryland, the Artemis III geology team is working with NASA to determine the...

  • A field of boulders deposited by an ancient river on Mars.

    Perseverance prospects Martian river

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 31, 2023

    Martian geologist takes a page from Earth prospectors; collects sample of a conglomerate of rocks that washed down a Mars river. When a geologist must ship rock samples 217 million miles for analysis, only the best specimens will do. This is why Perseverance, and the team of earthbound scientists supporting the Mars rover, were thrilled with the latest sample collected by the six-wheeled robo-geologist. On Sol 832 – the 832nd Martian day of the Perseverance mission, or June...

  • Artist rendering of a spacecraft exploring the metal-rich 16 Psyche asteroid.

    Space mining visionaries play long game

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 8, 2023

    Like flying cars and jet packs, space travel, colonization and resource mining are all lagging behind the imaginations of Hollywood, scientists, and billionaire CEOs. This is partly because NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (and any other nation's government-supported agencies) have a problem – the project ambitions of the U.S. Congress-funded space agency is hedged by the variable length of a presidential term and the resulting appointments. Therefore, it is up to the... Full story

  • Rendering of the iSpace lunar lander preparing to land on the Moon.

    Epiroc, iSpace partner in Moon missions

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 21, 2023

    Epiroc, a leading Swedish equipment and tech innovator for the mining and infrastructure industries, has partnered up with Japanese automation and AI startup iSpace and its Luxembourg-based subsidiary iSpace EU in a long-term collaboration agreement for developing commercial Moon missions. International space agencies' attentions have been focused on the principal chemical elements of the lunar surface that would provide for self-sustaining lunar habitation and the mining of...

  • Lunar Outpost’s MAPP rover to be used for mining on the Moon.

    Australia's Moon to Mars Trailblazers

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    Foreseeing the importance of a presence in space, the Minister for Industry and Science, Australian parliament member Ed Husic, along with dignitaries from the Australian Space Agency and NASA, announced the EPE and Lunar Outpost Oceania consortium as one of two successful groups to receive stage-one funding under Australia's Moon to Mars Trailblazer Initiative. The Trailblazer program was launched in late 2021 as part of the Moon to Mars Initiative, which seeks to progress... Full story

  • Concept of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft approaching the metal-rich asteroid.

    NASA is psyched about asteroid mission

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

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  • The MAPP rover made by Lunar Outpost will be used to mine the Moon.

    Robots to clear the way for moon landings

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 23, 2022

    Colorado School of Mines, Lunar Outpost work on NASA project The Center for Space Resources at Colorado School of Mines and Lunar Outpost has been selected to carry out the Autonomous Site Preparation: Excavation, Compaction and Testing (ASPECT) project; part of NASA's larger Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR) program that is preparing for the eventuality that Man will be living, working, and traveling frequently to and from the Moon. As one of only three...

  • NASA ESA European Space Agency oxygen mining space Moon air plant Thales Alenia

    ESA selects team to mine oxygen on Moon

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    Following a competition launched by the European Space Agency, it has selected Thales Alenia Space to design and build the first experimental payload to mine oxygen from the surface of the Moon. Tasked with producing a small piece of equipment that will evaluate the prospect of building larger lunar plants to extract propellant for spacecraft and breathable air for astronauts – as well as metallic raw materials for equipment – the Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer,...

  • NASA Artemis space program research Missouri Science Technology University

    NASA chooses schools for Moon living

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    Missouri University of Science and Technology has been selected as part of a NASA project to develop lunar infrastructure technologies, with researchers from the school developing mineral extraction techniques that may one day make it possible for people to live and work on the Moon. Announced in February, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected three U.S. universities as part of its LuSTR Space Technology Research Grants program. In the hopes to supplement...

  • University of Arizona NASA swarm autonomous robots Moon space mining

    Scientists plan new method of Moon mining

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    A research team at the University of Arizona recently received $500,000 in NASA funding for a project to advance space mining methods through the use of autonomous robots, swarms of them. "It's really exciting to be at the forefront of a new field," said interim head of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering, as well as the David & Edith Lowell Chair in Mining and Geological Engineering Moe Momayez. "I remember watching TV shows as a kid, like 'Space: 1999,' w...

  • NASA Artemis ESA Moon Mars space mining geoscience Pangaea-X EFB

    ESA launches Pangaea space geology course

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    As NASA prepares for Artemis, which will establish an outpost on the Moon in preparation to send humans to Mars, at least some of the next generation of astronauts will need to have a discerning eye for lunar geology. The European Space Agency's Pangaea training campaign is equipping some of the top candidates for future lunar missions with a basic course in Moon geology. Pangaea, designed to provide astronauts with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills to be...

  • Redwire Space NASA Break the Ice Challenge winner rover space mining Moon

    NASA Break the Ice Challenge winners

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aug. 18 announced the winners of its Break the Ice Lunar Challenge, which is incentivizing new approaches for excavating resources on the Moon and beyond. As NASA prepares to go to the Moon with the Artemis program, in-situ resource utilization is of paramount importance, as current methods of rocketing Earth resources into space are too costly. As one of the barest of commodities for human survival, water is the goal for 13...

  • NASA Perseverance space mining Mars rover drilling Curt Freeman Caltech

    Drill recovery issues go interplanetary

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    Many Earthbound mineral exploration geologists can relate to the disappointment that must have been felt by NASA scientists when they realized that the Perseverance rover did not recover a sample from the first hole drilled by the Martian explorer. "When core drilling that is as highly anticipated as the Perseverance drilling recovers nothing, the deflation and disappointment felt by both driller and geologist is palpable," said Curt Freeman, a geologist with more than four...

  • Mars Perseverance NASA space mining geology robotics rover rock samples Caltech

    Mars geologist preps for historic drilling

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    A year after embarking on its 292.5-million-mile journey to Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover is readying to collect its first Martian rock sample. Since its February arrival, the robotic geologist and its helicopter sidekick Ingenuity have been exploring the deepest and most ancient layers of exposed bedrock across a 1.5-square-mile patch of the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater, which was a large lake when Mars was still a water planet. After carrying out this reconnaissance, Perseve...

  • Lunar Outpost NASA ice mining HIPPO Rover Masten Honeybee challenge moon

    Moon mining challenge opens new doors

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 10, 2022

    Colorado-based aviation and aerospace company, Lunar Outpost, famed for its $1 sale of moon rocks to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is now participating in NASA's Break the Ice Lunar Challenge by harvesting space ice on the surface of the Moon. As part of a joint entry with Masten Space Systems and Honeybee Robotics, Lunar Outpost has designed "a system architecture to excavate icy regolith and deliver acquired resources in extreme lunar conditions." The... Full story

  • NASA JPL-Caltech Mars rover Perseverance space mining robotics geologist

    Perseverance is a well equipped geologist

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 10, 2022

    The long-term exploration and colonization of Mars will not be able to rely on the expense of rocketing goods beyond the gravitational pull of Earth and then another 171 million miles to the Red Planet. Instead, the mining of ice and other minerals for fuel, water and building materials from local resources will need to be carried out by Martian robots and humans. So, it is no wonder that NASA's first three Mars rovers are basically robotic geologists exploring the Martian... Full story

  • space mining Colorado School of Mines NASA aerospace engineering Jamal Rostami

    Colorado school adds space mining minors

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 10, 2022

    With NASA and the private sector taking a serious look at mining lunar and Martian soil in support of human outposts, Colorado School of Mines has unveiled two new undergraduate minors to support these space-faring endeavors. Currently the only academic institution in the Unites States to offer an advanced degree in space resources, the Colorado School of Mines is adding a space mining minor this fall that will allow undergraduate students to get a flavor of the future of... Full story

  • Minimoon University of Hawaii Vera C. Rubin Observatory Kacper Wierzchos

    Asteroid mining labs are circling Earth

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 10, 2022

    Natural "minimoons" that temporarily orbit Earth may be interesting targets for both scientific study and to practice asteroid mining techniques. While Earth is orbited by thousands of artificial satellites and one large natural one, the Moon, it has only been recently that scientists have confirmed that small natural objects are also circling our planet. About eight years ago, researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy predicted that there must be a...

  • ISS microbes REE biomining NASA BioRock UK Center for Astrobiology

    Microbes mine metals, make soil on ISS

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 10, 2022

    Drifting some 250 miles above the Earth, researchers aboard the International Space Station have enlisted the help from some of the smallest miners in the universe, microbes. These off-world experiments tested the possibility of using these tiny organisms to convert unsuitable space rock and regolith into soil for growing plants and food, as well as extracting valuable minerals and metals from extraterrestrial materials. Published in Nature Communications, the findings by a...

  • Moon mineral exploration astronauts rock hammers lunar rover

    Precedent setting moon sampling mission

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 10, 2022

    NASA wants to buy Moon rocks from a private space miner able to fly up and grab an up to 1.1-pound lunar sample and deliver it to the space agency by 2024. The space administration is not particular about where the moon rocks are collected, or the content of the samples, as long as the mission is well documented, and the dirt is delivered to NASA on the Moon for payment. This lunar sampling is meant to set the stage for NASA's Artemis program, which aims to "land the first...

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