In Situ Resource Utilization

The ISRU focus area will advance technologies for the collection, processing, storing, and use of material found or manufactured on other astronomical objects. This will require TRL maturation of various applicable technologies. Examples of topics to be explored are demonstrating systems for collecting and purifying water on the lunar surface, sorting granular lunar regolith by size, and methods for measuring mineral properties / oxygen content before and after processing.

APL Staff

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Karl Hibbitts

ISRU Focus Area Lead

Michael Nord

Kirby Runyon

Jodi Berdis

Goals

Goals of the LSIC-ISRU Focus Group (FG) include identifying current technologies, critical challenges and technology development needs related to In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) related to water-ice and other materials in lunar Permanent Shadowed Regions (PSRs) and extracting O2 and metals (or metalloids) from regolith in the illuminated terrain.

LSIC-ISRU currently concentrates on facilitating communications between FG members, dissemination of information into the FG and between members. NASA and private industry perspectives are melded for enabling FG members to develop a clearer path for the development and deployment of their lunar ISRU technologies.

Activities

  • Monthly meetings featuring a variety of styles (discussions, guest speakers, etc.)
  • Used community input to define subgroups. The subgroups are desired to be temporary entities to address specific goals and then subsequently to be disbanded.
  • Periodic larger meetings to address specific major objectives.

Because the lunar environment is so diverse and these differences drive specific engineering requirements. As such, the LSIC-ISRU has formed four standing, but temporary, subgroups:

Subgroup Lead Institution
O2 and MetalTBDTBD
Water-ice prospecting and miningJeff PlateWGM
Value NetworkingKartik KumarSatSearch
Modularity & InteroperabilityTBDTBD

ISRU meetings occur on the third Wednesday of the month at 3:00 PM ET. For meeting information and agendas, please use the LSIC Wiki on Confluence and/or sign-up for the "ISRU" Listserv.

O2 and Metals (Lead: tbd)

Oxygen in dry regolith can be used for life support and for propellant. Metals in dry regolith can be used for construction, shielding, and as rocket propellant. Furthermore, no prospecting campaign is necessary. The O2/Metals subgroup is a forum to discuss, network, and announce technologies related to the extraction of useful volatiles and metals directly from the non-polar regolith.

Waterice Prospecting and Mining (Lead: Jeff Plate)

Waterice in permanently shadowed regions offers a potentially relatively easy to extract and process resource for human consumption and propellant. NASA and industry are developing technologies and strategies for extracting and processing it if it is confirmed that sufficient water ice exists in locations sufficiently assessible to enable extraction. This breakout group will focus on the prospecting for the water ice, answering questions such as 'What makes a resource a reserve?", "How well does the water ice need to be characterized (abundance, distribution, physical form)", "What considerations should be made for the location of any reserved with respect to the potential Artemis landing sites", and other important metrics, to be determined, related to prospecting.

Value Networking (Lead: Kartik Kumar)

"One person's output is another's input."

Let’s develop the path towards true commercialization within the (cis)lunar economy!

We are mapping out the ecosystem of organizations that self-identify as part of the lunar economy, and characterizing their products and services at a “micro” level. Based on this characterization, we find connections with others by looking at matching inputs and outputs. “Organic” discovery of potential relationships between organizations will inform collaborations and funding for lunar-related products and services.

Crowd-sourcing via this community-driven effort is key to making this work, so the more people are hands on, the better the anticipated results!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AxV0-ueLwej2fgu1NgoX-BS-ANNU0e77XAXLMc6Xrq0/edit#gid=1673813611 is the link; email Kirby.Runyon@jhuapl.edu for an Excel version of this if you cannot access the Google Spreadsheet.

Modularity & Interoperability (Lead: tbd)

The ISRU Modularity/Interoperability Subgroup is dedicated to exploring modularity, interoperability, open-systems architectures, and maintenance/repair related to lunar ISRU. This subgroup is cross-Focus Group applicable, and we are leveraging the existing efforts in LSIC that are dedicated to modularity, such as the Modular Open-Systems Architecture (MOSA) Working Group, the Surface Power MOSA subgroup, and the Excavation & Construction Maintenance & Repair subgroup.The goals of the ISRU Modularity/Interoperability Subgroup are to:

  1. identify modularity, interoperability, and maintenance/repair needs and approaches for ISRU technology, including the use of open architecture;
  2. provide recommendations to NASA based on these findings;
  3. serve as a bridge with the Surface Power MOSA subgroup, the E&C maintenance/repair subgroup, and the MOSA working Group to help ensure system-wide standards are established.
May 2022 Telecon Presentation Recording
February 2022 Telecon Presentation Recording
January 2022 Telecon Presentation Recording
December 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
October 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
September 2021 Telecon Presentation
August 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
June 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
May 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
April 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
March 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
February 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
January 2021 Telecon Presentation Recording
December 2020 Telecon Presentation Recording
November 2020 Telecon Presentation
September 2020 Telecon Notes Presentation Recording
August 2020 Telecon Notes Presentation Recording
July 2020 Telecon Notes Presentation Recording
Kickoff Telecon Notes Presentation Recording

The kickoff telecon for the ISRU Focus Group was held on Wednesday, June 17.

LSIC Wiki on Confluence

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To request access, please contact Andrea Harman at ams573@alumni.psu.edu.

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