ISRU-Based Robotic Construction Technologies For Lunar And Martian InfrastructuresEconomically viable and reliable building systems and tool sets are being sought, examined and tested for extraterrestrial infrastructure buildup. This project utilizes a unique architecture weaving the robotic building construction technology with designs for assisting rapid buildup of initial operational capability Lunar and Martian bases. The project intends to develop and test methodologies to construct certain crucial infrastructure elements in order to evaluate the merits, limitations and feasibility of adapting and using such technologies for extraterrestrial application. High priority infrastructure elements suggested by our NASA advisors to be considered include landing pads and aprons, roads, blast walls and shade walls, thermal and micrometeorite protection shields and dust-free platforms utilizing the well-known insitu resource utilization (ISRU) strategy. Current extraterrestrial settlement buildup philosophy holds that in order to minimize the materials needed to be flown in, at great transportation costs, strategies that maximize the use of locally available resources must be adopted. Tools and heavy equipment flown as cargo from Earth are proposed to build required infrastructure to support future missions and settlements on the Moon and Mars. Several unique systems including the Lunar Electric Rover, the unpressurized Chariot rover, the versatile light-weight crane and Tri-Athlete cargo transporter as well as the habitat module mockups and a new generation of spacesuits are undergoing coordinated tests at NASAs D-RATS. This project intends to draw up a detailed synergetic plan to utilize these maturing systems coupled with modern robotic fabrication technologies based primarily on 3D Printing, tailored for swift and reliable Lunar and Martian infrastructure development. This project also intends to increase astronaut safety, improve buildup performance, ameliorate dust interference and concerns, and reduce time-to-commission, all in an economic manner. The goal stated in our Phase I proposal was a high fidelity demonstration at D-RATS to be conducted at the conclusion of the Phase II study. In the course of the Phase I study, however, it became clear that such demonstration was neither possible (due to the maximum Phase II budget limitation and the cost of NASA assets and related overhead expenses to support such demonstrations), nor necessary (due to NASA's low TRL expectation of Phase II results). These important facts were revealed to us only after interacting with the NIAC administrators and meetings with potential future partners at JPL and KSC. Accordingly, it was decided by the team that in order to make best use of resources we should investigate novel directions in the adaptation of our fabrication technologies by using in-house laboratories and to produce truly useful technologies and data, and then proceed with high fidelity demonstration at a later opportunity when sufficient resources become available. Furthermore, we have recognized that in addition to our building scale 3D printing technology called Contour Crafting, variations of some of our other fabrication technologies under development are suitable for construction of infrastructure elements such as regolith based ceramic tiles and hence we have decided to include some related preliminary research in this Phase II proposal.
Khoshnevis, Behrokh (University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Carlson, Anders (University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Thangavelu, Madhu (University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA, United States)
May 18, 2017
April 2, 2017
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Public Use Permitted.
Extraterrestrial Moon Lunar Chariot rover Infrastructure Mars