WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Robotically surveying lunar craters in record time and mining resources in space could help NASA establish a sustained human presence at the Moon – part of the agency’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach. Two mission concepts to explore these capabilities have been selected as the first-ever Phase III studies within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program Phase I Award: Up to $125,000 for 9 Months
Lunar-Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO): Affordable Exploration and Industrialization Joel Sercel TransAstra Corporation
The Lunar Polar Gas-Dynamic Mining Outpost (LGMO) (see quad chart graphic) is a breakthrough mission architecture that promises to greatly reduce the cost of human exploration and industrialization of the Moon. LGMO is based on two new innovations that together solve the problem of affordable lunar polar ice mining for propellant production.
An airship for Mars, two spacecraft capable of exploring the hellish environment of Venus, and a fusion-powered orbiter and lander for Pluto are three of the planetary-related research projects recently funded by theNASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
In all, NIAC funded eight advanced projects focused on Mars, Venus and Pluto in its latest annual funding round. The space agency also funded two proposals aimed at identifying and extracting resources on planets, moons and asteroids. (more…)
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently awarded five grants for the development of new technologies for analyzing asteroids, extracting resources from them, and using the materials for new space products.
Sutter: Breakthrough Telescope Innovation for Asteroid Survey Missions to Start a Gold Rush in Space
Joel Sercel TransAstra Lake View Terrace, Cailf.
Value: Approximately $125,000 Length of Study: 9 months
PROBLEM: These are three primary reasons why it is important for NASA to develop better ways to locate and characterize Near Earth Objects (NEOs). First, NEOs are an impact hazard to the Earth and Congress has mandated that NASA find 90% of all the objects over 140 meters by the end of 2020. NASA will fail to meet this mandate because of the high cost of current asteroid survey approaches.