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Questions tagged [isru]

In situ resource utilization aims to exploit materials found in the lithosphere and atmosphere of planetary bodies for life support, propulsion, and other functions of interplanetary missions.

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Low energy cements for Mars and Callisto. Waterless cement for the Moon. Any good candidates?

In the non-polar regions of the Moon and Mercury there is a shortage of volatiles, including hydrogen and nitrogen, so they might be regaded as too valuable to be "wasted" to prepare concrete. ...
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How to size Solar Array for Mars Surface

Good morning everyone, I am working on a project for my university where we need to perform a PrePhase A study for a Mars Infrastructure for Propellant production as a means of support for future ...
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Have there been any significant improvements to methods of transporting hydrogen to the surface of Mars in the last 10 years?

I have just been reading “Human missions to Mars: enabling technologies for the red planet” by Donald Rapp (Praxis publishing 2008). According to this book one major challenge facing a future manned ...
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What's the scientific evidence of water for return trip methalox on Mars?

EDIT: I am not asking if you think finding water is necessary for a return flight. I'm asking for the scientific evidence that there is mineable water on Mars that could be used for this purpose. ...
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Mining lunar thorium for building nuclear rockets on the Moon

Has there been any research on what lunar in-situ processes would have to be developed to mine and process thorium to build nuclear thermal rockets on the Moon?
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What happens to Lunar (or asteroidal) regolith if sunlight is concentrated on it?

At 24:40 into this lecture, technology development scientist Laurent Sibille briefly describes an experiment done with a regolith simulant for Lunar Mare. The process of producing oxygen and reusing ...
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857 views

How much fuel is being consumed by all spacecrafts in orbit?

It is possible to supply spacecrafts in orbit in cis-Lunar space with oxygen from fuel production facilities on the Moon or on asteroids. What is the size of this potential in-space oxygen market ...
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425 views

How thick would a Marscrete structure need to be to provide adequate protection against radiation?

Regarding a manned shelter on the surface of Mars... With all of this esoteric talk of ice shelters, why not simply create concrete (Marscrete) buildings? The ice probably provides better radiation ...
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Is unpurified martian ice/water safe for irrigation?

There are large amounts of ice underground on mars. Some are closer to the surface then others. Assuming this ice has been mined and is not safe for human consumption without purification, is it ...
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Practical ice deposits on Mars?

Per JPL, Recent observations have discovered a resevoir of ice beneath the surface of mars. How practical, from an ISRU perspective, is this discovery? Frozen beneath a region of cracked and ...
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795 views

Making propellants on Mars: Why not just LH2/LOX instead of methane?

In this cool video of a presentation about SpaceX's GPU-based computational fluid dynamics, there is a slide early on about making rocket fuel on Mars - specifically using water from the ground and ...
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Back to oribt from Mars - how many km^2 yr of solar power to make enough propellant?

In this cool video of a presentation about SpaceX's GPU-based computational fluid dynamics, there is a slide early on about making rocket fuel on Mars - specifically using water from the ground and ...
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271 views

How much land does a colony on Mars need to start off?

Assume that we need just the following Martian resources for our colony: O2 N2 H2O Regolith for radiation shielding Regolith for construction Regolith for printing tools Martian compounds for rocket ...
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What specific impulse can I expect from iron powder produced from lunar regolith?

Getting rocket propellant from other sources than Earth is by many viewed as an important step towards further exploration of space. One such source could be our closest neighbour, the Moon. The ...
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156 views

Are there proper ore bodies in Mars' crust?

It is my understanding that asteroids vaporize on impact and spread evenly over some area. An iron rich asteroid does not deposit an iron ore and there are no real ore bodies on the Moon. But had they ...
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439 views

Is Mars iron too oxidized to pick up with a magnet?

How much iron would a magnet pick up on the surface of Mars? Would it be rich in iron particles like going to a playground on earth? Would it be clean enough to take to a refinery and melt down, or ...
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217 views

Mining construction materials and other resources on Mars

The year is 2036 and humanity has established a colony on Mars. There's hundreds of people there, more coming every two years, and now it's time to make the colony self-sustaining. Now the question ...
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How to produce oxygen out of Venusian atmosphere's carbon dioxide?

What are the possible methods of in-situ extraction of oxygen from the atmosphere of Venus, which is mostly carbon dioxide?
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Which places have stuff to make rocket fuel?

Which planets or large moons of our solar system are currently known to have the raw materials needed for us to produce rocket fuel? Mars, for example, has plentiful CO₂, and we know how to produce ...
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Collecting antimatter from Van Allen radiation belts

I just read an article by John P. Millis, Ph.D which says that antimatter is created in the Van Allen radiation belts. I am writing a novel where a future starship with FTL capability, powered by a ...
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238 views

What is the minimum amount of equipment you would need to make a reasonable amount of oxygen on the Moon with Molten Oxide Electrolysis?

MIT Professor Sadoway believes we can make oxygen anywhere on the moon with Molten Oxide Electrolysis (see here and here). Let's assume that you need to make enough oxygen to sustain an astronaut for ...
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Is the Hybrid sulfur cycle a good way of making hydrogen and oxygen on Venus?

Assuming we collect Sulfuric acid from Venus clouds using some sort of airship, what would be the best way of turning this into hydrogen and oxygen? I came across something called the Hybrid sulfur ...
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How much iron is on the surface of Mars?

It's (relatively) common knowledge that Mars is known as the "Red Planet" because of an abundance of iron oxide, AKA rust, on its surface. At first glance, that looks like "iron, iron, everywhere." ...
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Is production of methane possible on Mars?

${CO_2}$ is plentiful in Martian atmosphere. $H_2$ can be produced on Mars using sunlight and can be reacted with $CO_2$ to form $H_2O+C$, or $CH_4+H_2O$. Is it a feasible chemical reaction?
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Are NMAs (Near Mars Asteroids) common and useful for exploration?

Thousands of NEAs have been observed out of estimated 285,000 larger than 40 meters. A handful of Martian trojans have been found, but should there be more or fewer NMAs than NEAs? NEAs can become ...
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432 views

Should we use Mars as the main source of interplanetary fuel? [closed]

Robert Zubrin makes a compelling case for using Mars as a site to make methane fuel for the return trip back to Earth. However, maybe there is an additional refinement to this model; In addition to ...
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What useful materials can be extracted from Venusian atmosphere?

Consider a cloud-top colony on Venus. What materials needed for the upkeep and expanding of the colony can be taken from Venusian atmosphere, excluding any possibility of mining the surface?
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461 views

Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

How practical is it to manufacture solar cells on the Moon? I understand there is a lot of silica there, and in theory if we could robotically make and deploy solar cells on the Moon, then we would (...
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Would it be practical to use a rover with a cable to a power and communication station?

Geology Dr. Paul Spudis (who was on the Clementine Lunar orbiter mission) has an interesting step-by-step proposal for exploration of potentially extractable water ice at the Lunar poles. It includes ...
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How feasible is it to use aluminum and liquid oxygen as future propellant sourced from the moon?

I was looking into whether there would be any way to source propellants from the moon itself in support of a future base and space stations in cis-lunar space. I found two documents exploring how ...
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“Lunar vacuum cleaner”: Design considerations for regolith dust suction system in exospheric conditions

Background: While watching SSERVI Director’s Seminar Series: RIS4E (Science and Exploration of the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Moons of Mars enabled by the Remote In Situ and Synchrotron Studies ...
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How do you 'make oxygen' on Mars?

This morning's BBC News says that a 2020 rover mission to Mars will "make oxygen". There is a brief line indication that it will extract it from atmospheric CO₂, but no other details. What process ...
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Why didn't Apollo land on the Lunar poles?

Finding water in some craters on the Lunar poles is a recent discovery. Was this expected during the Apollo era? Even without any thoughts about future in situ resource utilization, landing at a ...
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93 views

Electrolysis Production Rate

Given the interest in using lunar water for propellant manufacture, how do you calculate the production rate for electrolytic breakdown and liquefaction of water into cryogens? A corollary question ...
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195 views

Where should a lunar polar ISRU mission land?

In situ resource utilization of water ice in eternally shadowed craters on the Moon's poles might provide water for rocket fuel and astronaut survivability cheaper compared to launching water from ...
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2k views

Methane internal combustion engines for rovers on Mars and Moon. Feasibility?

It seems possible to produce methane and oxygen from the atmospheric CO2 and icy soil on Mars, and from icy regolith in the polar craters of the Moon. It has been suggested that CH4+O2 could be used ...
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Could waste methane be recycled as propellant on the ISS?

Under standard condition methane burns with oxygen in stoichiometric ratio of 1:2 to liberate 891 kJ/mol of energy. Why is the ISS not making use of the methane, which is expelled as waste instead? ...