University of Sussex

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NASA’s in-situ materials challenge: team ISU final report

posted on 2023-06-08, 23:45 authored by Eric Dahlstrom, Arnau Pons Lorente, Michaela Musilova, Carlos Entrena Utrilla, Anushree Soni, Oriol Gásquez García, Bora Aliaj, Idriss Sisaid, Alaa Hussein, Roy Naor, Parker Stratton
Transforming in situ materials such as regolith or basalt into useful structural elements is a significant way to reduce the mass of materials launched as payload from Earth. Considering exploration on Mars, for every kilogram of native materials used, one saves 11 kg of transportation propellant and spacecraft mass required to launch to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Given the cost for LEO is US$10,000/kg, one avoids at least US$110,000/kg of cost by using 1 kg of in situ materials, making space pioneering on Mars more affordable and feasible. One could use surface-based materials such as regolith or basalt to produce structural elements that can be interconnected to create launch/landing pads; blast protection berms; roads and walkways; radiation, thermal, and micro-meteorite shielding insulation and structures; equipment shelters; pressure vessels for fluids storage; ablative atmospheric entry heat shields; construction foundations; and other useful structures.


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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)



Department affiliated with

  • Engineering and Design Publications


International Space University (ISU)

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