NASA STTR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 T4.02-9726
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Regolith Resources Robotics - R3
PROPOSAL TITLE: Comprehensive Modeling for Off-Earth Mining Optimization and Resource Processing

NAME: Enterprise Advisory Services, Inc. NAME: Virginia Tech
STREET: 6671 Southwest Freeway, Suite 800 STREET: North End Center, Suite 4200, Virginia Tech
CITY: Houston CITY: Blacksburg
STATE/ZIP: TX  77074 - 2214 STATE/ZIP: VA  24061 - 9547
PHONE: (713) 270-7177 PHONE: (540) 231-5281

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Laurent Sibille
6671 Southwest Freeway, Suite 800
Houston, TX 77074 - 2214
(321) 501-3630

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr Tony Johnson
6671 Southwest Freeway, Suite 800
Houston, TX 77074 - 2214
(440) 554-4036

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Regolith Resources Robotics - R3 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)
The multi-months duration and energy constraints of the Earth�Mars journey are forcing an evolution toward the self-sufficiency of human crews in their readiness to adapt to changing circumstances and survive emergencies so far from Earth. The situation is akin to the one faced by the first waves of people brave enough to explore new continents during the course of human history. Limited by the capabilities of their ship or caravan on a long journey, their fate was inevitably tied to their ability to learn, adapt, and use their new environment and its resources as quickly as possible. The planned In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) can yield tangible benefits for NASA pioneering missions currently studied under the Evolvable Mars Campaign. Robotic explorations have now established the wide distribution of water in the Martian subsurface with large variations in concentrations and geological contexts (ice-rock mixtures, polyhydrated minerals). Mining and processing Martian water-bearing minerals may prove key to the ultimate success of long stays on Mars via life support and chemical synthesis of methane ascent fuel and oxygen. The prospect of exploring, developing, and exploiting mineral reserves on another planetary body evokes many technical and economic challenges, which often lead to decision paralysis in strategic planners willing to consider ISRU in deep-space missions. This Phase I work will provide NASA with a comprehensive modeling tool built to describe the processes of Off-Earth mining and materials processing in their geological context and deliver comparative technical and economic results on the optimized operations and technologies. It is a unique innovative tool built on the expertise and best practices of the terrestrial mining industry in synergy with expert space technologists in ISRU. It will provide NASA decision-makers with a means to identify and correlate major gaps in knowledge to plan technology investments and knowledge-gathering missions

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A number of potential NASA applications exist for the proposed Space Resource Utilization Planning Model (SRUPM) and its sub-elements:

NASA's Evolvable Mars Campaign can use this tool in their effort to define the optimum operational concepts and associated technologies that will make regolith-based ISRU economically and technically feasible for the support of all phases of the campaign of human missions to the Mars surface and the Mars system, including the moons Phobos and Deimos where water reserves are suspected. The modeling and planning tool will also be useful for evaluating best approaches to the potential exploitation of a water- and organic-rich carbonaceous chondrite (CC) asteroid to be placed in a capture Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit by the Asteroid Retrieval Mission; NASA directorates can make use of the tool to examine the feasibility of exploiting potential water reserves on the Moon based on well-known geological contexts and take advantage of the adaptability of the model to assess the impact of commercial resource extraction operations on the overall economic viability; NASA's strategic planning will find a versatile tool to identify technology gaps and critical knowledge gaps for planning technology investments in high-impact game-changing areas such as instruments for the exploration of mineral reserves, new resource exploitation approaches using autonomous regolith resource robotics, and long-term reliability factors of equipment on other planets.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Private corporations created in the last 5 years to discover, explore and ultimately exploit the resources of planetary bodies with rocky surfaces will find this modeling and optimization tool very useful. The viability of the business cases of such corporations often rest on large uncertainties with respect to the knowledge of the geological environment of the mineral reserves they are seeking on asteroids, the Moon, in the Mars system, and further into the solar system. This tool will provide the ability to integrate proprietary data owned by the user-company with sound mining and mineral processing approaches built-in the model to obtain estimates on economic viability with higher degree of confidence.

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.)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Resource Extraction
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:16