NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 H1.01-7789
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In situ Resource Utilization - Production of Feedstock for Manufacturing and Construction
PROPOSAL TITLE: Extruded Clay-Based Regoliths for Construction on Mars, Phobos and NEAs

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Deep Space Industries Inc.
NASA Ames Research Park, Building 156, Suite 204
Moffett Field, CA 94035 - 0001
(855) 855-7755

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stephen Covey
13300 Tanja King Blvd. #408
Orlando, FL 32828 - 7847
(904) 662-0550

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr David Gump
NASA Ames Research Park, Bldg 156, Suite 204
Moffett Field, CA 94035 - 0001
(703) 623-9616

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In situ Resource Utilization - Production of Feedstock for Manufacturing and Construction is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Research by Deep Space Industries and the University of Central Florida last year discovered an intriguing property of the carbonaceous asteroid simulants being developed.
We noticed that simply wetting the material, mixing it thoroughly, and drying it (in vacuum or air) at ambient temperature causes it to bond into solid, very hard rock, and we could control the hardness by the amount of water mixed into it before drying. On Earth when making bricks from clay we need to fire them in a kiln at temperatures as high as 1300⁰C to make them hard. Apparently simple air or vacuum drying of these minerals can substitute for the kiln effectively, making it easily hard enough for construction in the space environment.

Carbonaceous asteroids are not the only place in space where clayey regolith can be used for construction. Recently, scientists have shown that Mars has abundant clay deposits all over the globe. The minerals on Phobos appear similar to those in a certain type of carbonaceous asteroid including phyllosilicates (the type of minerals that include clays), so apparently Phobos may have abundant clay minerals, too. This suggests construction by low-temperature vacuum drying is possible on those bodies. It is not possible on the Moon, however, as there are no phyllosilicates on the Moon.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
It is important to develop methods for construction in space with local materials, because this reduces the cost of space exploration, provides material for spares and repairs, and makes missions more flexible and effective. The path to crewed Mars expeditions is particularly mass intensive, and a barrier that could be lowered through use of space resources.

Structures made from regolith will provide radiation shielding for the crew while working on the Martian surface or Phobos, as well as micrometeoroid shielding for the habitat module, and key thermal insulation.

In addition, clayey regolith on asteroids or Phobos can be converted into heat shields for re-entry into Mars' or Earth's atmosphere. Clayey regolith on Mars can be converted into landing pads to enable many-ton, human-tended landers to descend safely. It can be made into pavers or slabs for dust-free work zones on Phobos or Mars, or for roads on Mars, where ISRU operations are occurring.

An asteroid can be converted into a Mars Cycler spacecraft by 3D printing with its bulk mass.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
DSI is developing end-to-end technology pathways for prospecting, mining, and processing asteroid and other space resources into finished products, primarily to serve in-space markets. Current plans envision HarvestorsTM loaded with NEA resources entering a High Elliptical Earth Orbit (HEEO) with its perigee above geosynchronous orbit where additional processing would be conducted. While HEEO provides good access to geosynchronous orbit, the use of heat shields fabricated from space resources to enable aerobraking down to low Earth orbit would be an efficient alternative to expending significant propellant for the orbit change. Asteroid mining will focus primarily on the iron, nickel, chromium and cobalt that will be utilized for in-space applications. However, delivery to terrestrial markets of by-products such as platinum group metals may become more profitable if entry heat shields are made from asteroid regolith. There are also terrestrial opportunities for this technology. A 3D printing architecture that turns unavoidable clay shrinkage into an asset while drying makes 3D printing with clayey terrestrial regolith a viable technology. This will have commercial application in regions where cement is expensive or not locally available.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
In Situ Manufacturing
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Resource Extraction

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14