Metal Tech News - The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Mining technology critical green energy electric vehicles rare earth metals minerals news

By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

NASA chooses schools for Moon living

Missouri S&T will research new mineral extraction techniques Metal Tech News – March 2, 2022


Last updated 3/1/2022 at 3:08pm

NASA Artemis space program research Missouri Science Technology University


While the Artemis program hopes to once more put Mankind on the Moon, supplementary research is being conducted to one day make our nightly glowing companion habitable.

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 Artemis – the modern-day goal of returning Man to the Moon – LuSTR, or Lunar Surface Technology Research, was designed to develop technologies for living and working on the Moon.

"Creating technologies we need to explore the Moon requires leveraging expertise from and partnering with academia and industry alike," said Prasun Desai, deputy associate administrator of the Space Technology Missions Directorate. "These projects show the integral role that universities will play in building humanity's sustainable presence on the Moon."

As for Missouri S&T, NASA will provide up to $2 million over two years to support the research.

Leslie Gertsch, associate professor of geological engineering, will coordinate S&T's efforts to use electrostatic and magnetic extraction techniques to separate anorthite from lunar soil known as regolith.

Anorthite is a type of feldspar – a group of minerals that are found in rocks all over the world and make up more than 50% of the Earth's surface. Anorthite contains calcium and magnesium needed to make parts for manufacturing equipment, which NASA believes is more efficient than launched supplies from Earth.

"We'll be testing our processes in air and in a vacuum, and in cold and hot temperatures that mimic lunar conditions," said Gertsch. "We'll use simulated regolith that is the best estimate of what lunar soils are like."

Joining Gertsch in Missouri's research are Fateme Rezaei, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering; David Bayless, professor and chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Daoru Han, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Jeffrey Smith, professor of ceramic engineering; and Dr. William Schonberg, professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering.

The team will work with industrial partners from Bechtel, an engineering company based in Reston, Virginia; Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corp., headquartered in Brooklyn, New York; and Off Plant Research, a company based in Everett, Washington, that makes simulated extraterrestrial soil.

While Missouri S&T was selected to develop mineral extraction process, a team from Colorado School of Mines will develop tools and methods that will allow robots to build landing pads and living quarters, while the last school selected, Auburn University, will create new electronics that maintain reliability despite space's extreme cold.

"If we can make the processes effective enough and efficient enough that we can get the materials to build what we need on the Moon, then we will have made a huge step forward in actually sustainably living and working in space," finished Gertsch.


Reader Comments(0)


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021

Rendered 05/20/2022 21:53