Excavation and Construction

The LSIC Excavation and Construction (E&C) Focus Area (FA) will assist NASA in evaluating technologies that enable affordable, robust, autonomous manufacturing and construction on the lunar surface to establish a sustained human presence. Landing and launch pads, roads, berms, power and habitats are some of the infrastructural elements the FA is presently addressing. Relevant technologies of interest include additive construction, autonomous construction, excavation tools for lunar conditions, sintering, regolith processing, as well as in-situ repair and outfitting.

APL Staff

Contact all staff

Athonu Chatterjee

LSII E&C Systems Integration Lead

Sarah Hasnain

LSIC E&C Co-Lead

Jibu Abraham

LSIC E&C Co-Lead

Goals

One of our goals is to provide a platform for the broad E&C community to learn more about key topics related to both critical early infrastructure and long-term E&C planning and operations. Our community is dynamic – from engineers, to program managers, students, researchers, executives, Earth-centered innovators, and much more. The E&C audience is comprised of a diverse group of folks interested in the many aspects of “Building on the Moon.” We hold this space to learn from each other, engage in deep discussion, understand gaps and opportunities, and propel the field forward.

This FA also wants to engage in community discourse and knowledge-sharing via Confluence or other platforms. Our monthly meetings are well-attended and full of vibrant discussion. To keep the community engaged between meetings, we encourage the use of Confluence. Check out the “Who’s Who” page to introduce yourself. There are also pages to share resources, such as potentially relevant publications, standards, terrestrial innovations, and more.

Activities

  • Monthly E&C FA meetings featuring guest speakers, including co-hosted meetings with the LSIC Crosscutting Capabilities (CC) FA
  • Networking and community breakout discussions
  • Annual workshop

Reference Information

March 2024: LSIC E&C Monthly Meeting

February 2024: LSIC E&C Monthly Meeting

January 2024: LSIC - E&C Monthly Meeting

 

December 2023: LSIC: E&C Monthly Meeting

September 2023: Excavation & Construction - Monthly FG Meeting

August 2023: Autonomy Workshop (Extreme Access and Excavation & Construction)

 

July 2023: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

   

May 2023: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

   

April 2023: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: Mary Lang

   

March 2023: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: Sergio Gomez

   

February 2023: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: Dr. Ramesh B. Mall

   

January 2023: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: John Mankins

   

December 2022: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: Seth Pollock, ARUP

   

November 2022: LSIC Fall Meeting

Speaker: Dr. Steve Robinson

September 2022: Excavation + Construction - Monthly FG

   

August 2022: Excavation & Construction - Monthly FG

   

June 2022: Excavation & Construction - Monthly FG

 

May 2022: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: TBD

May 2022: LSIC Spring Meeting

Speaker: Robert D. Cabana

April 2022: Dust Mitigation + Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: TBD

   

April 2022: MOSA Working Group

Speaker: Chad Thrasher

March 2022: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: James Mastandrea (JHU/APL) and Jason Schuler (NASA, KSC)

   

February 2022: Regolith to Rebar: ISRU - E&C Metal Workshop

January 2022: Excavation and Construction - Monthly FG

Speaker: Dr. Corky Clinton

   

December 2021: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

November 2021: LSIC Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

November 2021: Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium Fall Meeting

October 2021: LSIC Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

August 2021: LSIC Exc. Constr. Workshop

June 2021: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

March 2021: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

February 2021: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

November 2020: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

October 2020: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

October 2020: Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium Virtual Fall Meeting

Speaker: Jim Bridenstine

August 2020: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

July 2020: Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

June 2020: Kickoff Excavation and Construction Monthly FG

   

February 2020: Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium National Kickoff Meeting

Speaker: Steve Jurczyk

Jibu Abraham

Athonu Chatterjee

Sarah Hasnain

Claudia Knez

Power

A continuous power supply is necessary to create a sustained lunar presence, especially during the initial stages when excavation and construction will be needed to establish this presence. The Surface Power Focus Group has developed technologies to supply this continuous power throughout day and night.

What power considerations are necessary for E&C operation?

  • Missions in the past were able to be timed to coincide with optimal conditions; however, to establish a sustainable presence, all conditions will need to be properly accounted for (i.e., how can we survive the lunar night?)
  • Solar energy capability will be limited during the lunar night.
  • Can a fission power source provide enough power?

ISRU

To create a sustained presence on the Moon, it is important to make use of the resources that can be found on the surface, rather than relying on resources being transported from Earth. The In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Focus Group has advanced technologies that will allow for the collection, processing, storing, and use of material found on the lunar surface.

How can processes (like collecting and purifying water, sorting granular lunar regolith, measuring oxygen content) provide natural materials necessary for construction and how can this impact our construction techniques?

How can we create materials for Additive Manufacturing (or 3D Printing) or concrete?

Extreme Environments

Excavation and construction on the lunar surface require technologies that can withstand extreme conditions, for example, drastic temperature changes and permanently shadowed regions. The Extreme Environments Focus Group has progressed these technologies, allowing for full-range operation and survival.

How may lunar geophysical features alter the way we think about E&C on the Moon?

  • Equipment/machinery will need to be developed diligently to robustly account for roadblocks presented by these geophysical features because a common hazard is fresh craters with steep walls and boulder-strewn rims.
  • Natural lunar geophysical features (like lava tubes) can be optimized and used advantageously for habitats.

Dust Mitigation

Dust mitigation is a crucial component to being able to establish a sustained lunar presence. As the dust is angular and highly electrostatic, it can easily and quickly build up and cause damage to spacesuits, equipment, and even human health. The Dust Mitigation Focus Group has developed technologies to protect lunar systems and allow for excavation and construction to take place in order to create this sustained presence.

How can lunar dust impact E&C equipment?

  • Lunar dust grain shape allows grains to become embedded in spacesuits and reduce their lifetime.
  • Dust being kicked up from vehicles increases the friction at mechanical surfaces and can reduce equipment lifetime.
  • Dust accumulation can impair visibility and scratch lenses, thus, reducing the effectiveness and lifetime of sensors.
  • The electrostatic discharge of the dust grains can cause large static voltages to enter electronics and damage the internal circuitry.

Extreme Access

To create a sustained lunar presence, we will need to go to areas that we have not been to so that excavation and construction can take place. The Extreme Access Focus Group has expanded technologies that enable both human and robotic systems to access, navigate, and explore previously inaccessible lunar areas.

How can we prepare to access lunar areas that may not have been accessed before?

Permanently shadowed regions are dark and cold, while the opposite is true for peaks of eternal light, so equipment will need to be able to work in these sorts of conditions.

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