Recently in the ISRU Category

Fifty teams of undergraduate and graduate students from around the world will demonstrate their lunar excavator robots May 20 - 24 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Practice sessions for the fourth annual Lunabotics Mining Competition will take place May 20 - 21, followed by the official competition. Media representatives are invited to cover the event on Wednesday, May 22 from 12 - 4 p.m. EDT, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

President Obama's FY2014 budget request for NASA enables the agency to leverage capabilities in the Human Exploration and Operations, Science and Space Technology Mission Directorates to make significant yet affordable advances in our nation's capabilities and achieve the space goals set by the Administration.

"Imagine landing on the moon or Mars, putting rocks through a 3-D printer and making something useful - like a needed wrench or replacement part. "It sounds like science fiction, but now it's really possible," says Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University."

Flight Assembled Architecture/Architectures volantes from FRAC Centre on Vimeo.

Flying Machine Enabled Construction, ETH

Keith's note: One would think that the software developed by this team could be adapted to robots operating in space to assemble large structures such as solar power satellites or on the surface of the Moon to construct a lunar base. Indeed, you could take 3D printing software and scale it up such that you use remotely operated droids to "print out" a base on the moon using local materials.

Shackleton Energy Company: Humans to Return to the Moon by 2019

"The process of establishing the world's first operational lunar base and propellant depot business in space is underway as SEC launches its initial fundraising campaign. This comes in the footsteps of recent amazing new discoveries of huge deposits of propellant-feedstock ice on the Moon by NASA and other international space programs. Joining forces with RocketHub, one of the largest crowdfunding platforms, SEC seeks to raise the initial seed capital necessary to complete its top level planning in order to then secure the first major round of investment capital necessary to complete preliminary designs of all system elements."

Shackleton Energy Company Propellant Depots, RocketHub

"By 2020, Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) intends to become the world's foremost space-based energy company providing rocket propellants, life support, consumables, and services in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and on the Moon to all spacefarers. The company will use a mix of industrial astronauts and advanced robotic systems to provide a strategically-assured, continuous supply of propellants to already-defined customers in space. Critical to the success of this operation is the prospecting for and mining of ice located within deep, inhospitable, ultra-cold craters at the polar regions of the Moon."

Subtly Shaded Map of the Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

"A map of the Moon combining observations in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths shows a treasure trove of areas rich in titanium ores. Not only is titanium a valuable element, it is key to helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the Moon's interior. The new map is a valuable tool for lunar exploration planning. Astronauts will want to visit places with both high scientific value and a high potential for resources that can be used to support exploration activities. Areas with high titanium provide both -- a pathway to understanding the interior of the Moon and potential mining resources," said Robinson."

NASA 2012 Lunabotics Competition Open For Registration

"NASA is accepting applications from teams of U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students for the third annual Lunabotics Mining Competition. The event will be at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida May 21-26, 2012. Participants in the competition will design and build a remote controlled or autonomous robot, which could be used for future exploration on the moon. During the competition, the teams' designs, known as lunabots, will go head-to-head to determine which one can excavate and deposit the most simulated lunar dirt within 10 minutes."

NASA is challenging U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build a remote-controlled or autonomous excavator that could be used on the moon. The excavator must be able to collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of lunar simulant in 15 minutes.

Design teams must include one faculty advisor from a college or university and two or more undergraduate or graduate students. A group of universities may work in collaboration, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.

Selected teams will compete in the Lunabotics Mining Competition at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23-28, 2011. Teams must apply no later than Feb. 28, 2011. There will be a limited number of teams allowed to compete.

2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge

Reporters are invited to attend the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge Oct. 17-18 at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The $750,000 prize challenge is a nationwide competition that focuses on developing improved handling technologies for moon dirt, known as lunar regolith. Part of NASA's Centennial Challenges Program, the competition will see 23 teams use robots they designed and built to excavate simulated lunar soil. Teams will test their robots in a box approximately 13 feet square and one-and-a-half feet deep that contains eight tons of simulated moon soil.

To qualify for a prize, a robot must dig up at least 330 pounds of regolith and deposit it into a container in 30 minutes. Trophies will be presented to the top three teams. The two-day event also will feature exhibits and speakers highlighting hands-on education projects, robotics and space exploration.