Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

For all you future settlers of Mars, a new technical report is now available to plan your stay on the Red Planet.

The technical paper, Frontier In-Situ Resource Utilization for Enabling Sustained Human Presence on Mars, has been written by Robert Moses and Dennis Bushnell of NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Massive resources

The currently known resources on Mars are massive, including extensive quantities of water and CO2 and therefore C, H2 and O2 for life support, fuels and plastics and many other items. The regolith is replete with all manner of minerals.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1301, April 3, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1301, April 3, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) applicable frontier technologies include robotics, machine intelligence, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, 3-D printing/additive manufacturing and autonomy. These technologies combined with the vast natural resources should enable serious, pre- and post-human arrival ISRU to greatly increase reliability and safety and reduce cost for human colonization of Mars.

Center of trade

Various system-level transportation concepts employing Mars produced fuel would enable Mars resources to evolve into a primary center of trade for the inner solar system for eventually nearly everything required for space faring and colonization.

Credit: Dan Durda

Credit: Dan Durda

Mars resources and their exploitation via extensive ISRU is the key to a viable, safe and affordable, human presence beyond Earth.

Reshape thinking

The purpose of this paper is four-fold:

  • To highlight the latest discoveries of water, minerals, and other materials on Mars that reshape thinking about the value and capabilities of Mars ISRU;
  • To summarize the previous literature on Mars ISRU processes, equipment, and approaches;
  • To point to frontier ISRU technologies and approaches that can lead to safe and affordable human missions to Mars; and
  • To suggest an implementation strategy whereby the ISRU elements are phased into the mission campaign over time to enable a sustainable and increasing human presence on Mars.

To access this new and informative paper, go to:

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