NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X9.01-9045
SUBTOPIC TITLE:In-Situ Resource Utilization & Space Manufacturing
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lunar In-Situ Volatile Extraction

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS, INC.
5700 Flatiron Parkway, #5701A
Boulder ,CO 80301 - 5733
(303) 443 - 2262

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stephen J Nieczkoski
snieczk@techapps.com
5700 Flatiron Parkway, #5701A
Boulder, CO  80301 -5733
(303) 443 - 2262

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
A method of extracting volatile resources from the Lunar regolith is proposed to reduce the launch mass and cost of bringing such resources from the Earth to enable sustainable human space exploration. Thermal energy is applied to excavated soil releasing the solar wind volatiles and any water resources believed to exist in the Moon's polar regions. The in-situ resource extraction and separation system will be designed to integrate with TAI's planned in-situ collection and purification system to complete an end-to-end facility for producing high density fluids for propulsion, life support, and power generation. Regolith excavation and subsequent volatile production rates are derived from the baseline consumption of resources given in the point of departure mission information for proposals. A method of extracting volatiles in a fluidized, vacuum-isolated chamber will provide an energy-efficient process through effective recuperation of thermal energy. Several hundreds of times the excavation and extraction system mass in volatile product will be processed in the proposed concept per year of operation. The system design will be scalable for initial testing on the Moon and eventual operation on Mars.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The regolith excavation and extraction system concept addresses the operational hurdle of robotically excavating extraterrestrial surface regolith to sample and manufacture cryogenic propellant and life-support products. The proposed excavation system is approximately the size of the Mars exploration rover and is intended to be developed for scalable autonomous operation on the Lunar surface to prospect and excavate the upper-surface layer of fine-grained regolith material. The development of high-vacuum sealing approaches for containment of regolith from a frequently accessed extraction chamber will have significant applications for Lunar surface operations involving crew activities and automated mechanical capabilities where dealing with the abrasive material is unavoidable.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Non-NASA applications include advancement of soil vapor-extraction processes for removal of contamination from Earth-based chemical spills and landfill remediation. Recovery of toxic volatiles entrained in soils will enable efficient, low-power containment and compact, lightweight designs for portable treatment facilities.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
In-situ Resource Utilization


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12