PISCES Gets Rover, High-Power Optical Laser

Ontario Drive Gear rover (Credit: PISCES)
Ontario Drive Gear rover (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is just a few weeks away from having its very own robotic spacecraft! As of this writing, a rover is at Ontario Drive Gear (ODG), packed in a crate and ready to make its trek to the Big Island of Hawaii.

Thanks to our partnership with ODG, PISCES is able to use the rover via an extended loan agreement.

This 726 pound space vehicle is the first of its kind for the State of Hawaii, and PISCES will primarily be using it for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) research.

ISRU involves developing technologies that can transform raw materials on other planets into resources needed for human survival in space. This Canadian rover, for example, can search the Moon for water and ice, which can not only be used to drink, but can also be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen – both of which are used to make rocket propellant.

On top of ISRU research, the rover will also play a central role in STEM education activities and tests.

PISCES Signs MOU with Jenoptik

The PISCES Board of Directors has signed and approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Jenoptik, an optoelectronics company based in Germany.

Under this partnership, PISCES will acquire a high power 400 watt fiber laser from Jenoptik under a long-term loan. The laser will be used for PISCES’s 3D laser printing project, which involves using Hawaii’s basalt fines (waste material found in quarries) to build objects such as robotic parts, heat shields, and tiles for launchpads.

The ultimate goal is to help enable astronauts to ‘live off the land’ of other planets by using martian dirt (regolith) as construction material.

About Ontario Drive Gear

ODG is based in Ontario, Canada and manufactures amphibious vehicles for extreme conditions. The company has been invited by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to develop lunar rovers for future missions to explore the moon and other planets.

Last year, PISCES signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with ODG.

Mahalo to ODG for making this rover available for our agency, as well as the State of Hawaii!