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Center Innovation Fund: KSC CIF

Planetary Mobile Mining and Scalable In-Situ Water Extraction System for Mars Surface

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Planetary Mobile Mining and Scalable In-Situ Water Extraction System for Mars Surface
Demonstrate processing cycle for extraction of water from all potential mineral sources without energy-intensive sublimation step to achieve larger-scale extraction. Also demonstrated energy efficient water mining concept by co-locating both regolith/ice excavation and water extraction within the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) excavator rotating bucket drums. Reducing the energy requirements and enable scalable semi-continuous processing of water on Mars is a major challenge. Perform water extraction on the same robotic platform as the excavation. Perform literature research on large-scale terrestrial water-soil extraction methods and applicability to Mars case. Design processing cycle and identify appropriate technologies (resistive, microwave, recovered radiant heating).Design and build water extractor at reduced scale (~ 1L water) for testing in existing vacuum cryostat. Measure energy consumption, water losses, extraction yields, and quality of extracted water from representative simulants. Perform system performance trades on water recovery by sublimation and liquefaction by including end-to-end operations from excavation to water delivery to consumption point. More »

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