New Composite Material Could Make Manufacturing on the Moon and Mars More Efficient

Above: An experimental composite material for the Moon/Mars cures inside an acrylic vacuum chamber. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawai’i (PISCES PR) — NASA has plans to put humans back on the Moon as early as 2025 and ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) will be a crucial technology for establishing the infrastructure needed to sustain humans in the harsh lunar environment. Using raw, native materials, ISRU can provide vital resources like breathable air, tools or building blocks for shelters.

(more…)

Masten & PISCES Receive NASA Grant to Develop Low-energy 3D Construction Method for Moon, Mars

HILO, HI (PISCES PR) — Masten Space Systems together with Pacific International Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has been awarded a NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase 1 grant of up to $125,000 to develop a low-energy, additive construction method for the moon and Mars.

When humans go back to the moon, they will need materials to build shelter, infrastructure and crucial components for survival and operations. Not only that, but they will need an energy-efficient technique that takes raw materials and turns them into usable products—all in the vacuum of space.

(more…)

HALO Program Offers Remote Testing at Analog Site for Moon and Mars

ODG Alpha Argo rover (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, HI (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is launching a new program offering remote or on-site access to a lunar analog environment with a planetary rover. Called Hawaiʻi Analog for Lunar Operations (H4LO), the program includes an ODG Alpha Argo rover with open payload design, allowing interested parties to test various instruments and devices for lunar and Mars exploration. The rover can be operated by third parties anywhere in the world using highspeed internet.

The lunar analog environment is a rugged volcanic landscape on Hawaii Island located within the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority’s (NELHA) Hawaiʻi Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park. With a similar appearance and chemical composition to the lunar and Martian surface, the site provides a realistic testing arena for human and robotic space missions.

For inquiries and more information about the H4LO program, please contact us at dbedt.pisces@hawaii.gov or call +1 (808) 935-8270.

New Sintering Method May Reduce Cost of ISRU Production for Earth, Moon and Mars

A durable new basalt tile uses a binding agent to reduce energy use. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, HI (PR) — After nearly a year of research, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) scientists have developed a new ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) process that significantly reduces the time and energy needed to produce sintered basalt products. The sintering temperature required to fuse raw particles into a cohesive material has been reduced by more than 20 percent.

(more…)

Basalt Launch Pad Tiles to Undergo Testing by NASA

Geology Tech Kyla Edison removes basalt tiles from their molds after being sintered. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) completed a large batch of sintered basalt tiles last month for testing by NASA’s Swamp Works at Kennedy Space Center. Thirty tiles will be assessed as a launch and landing pad material. The testing will be conducted by Masten Space Systems in Mojave, Calif.

Earlier this year, Masten tested a 12” x 12” x 1” tile made by PISCES, subjecting it to a two-second rocket burst fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid methane. The results of the test caught the interest of Swamp Works, who requested the latest batch of tiles.

(more…)