NASA is requesting technologies for constructing lunar and Martian infrastructure using in situ resources to radically reduce the cost and increase the scope of future space exploration. Blueshift, LLC dba Outward Technologies proposes to develop a novel Lunar Articulating Mirror Array (LAMA) for constructing landing/launch pads, roadways, habitats, and other infrastructure structural elements using in situ resources. The proposed LAMA system and associated construction method will be able to rapidly construct thick structures with material properties similar to concrete from minimally beneficiated lunar regolith. Benefits of the proposed innovation include a complete lack of earth-based consumables, very low electrical power needs, and lower material handling requirements as compared to polymer stabilization, lunar concrete, sintered bricks, or microwave sintering. The system utilizes a lightweight deployable design that further minimizes launch costs and includes design elements to enable long-term operation on the Moon with minimal to no maintenance requirements. The proposed hardware and related feedback and control systems are uniquely suited for in situ process monitoring for construction verification and qualification. The Phase I effort will focus on developing a representative numerical model to verify feasibility of the full-scale system, producing prototype hardware of a small-scale LAMA, and characterizing the mechanical behavior of infrastructure elements produced by the proposed construction method.
The primary application within NASA’s technology roadmap for LAMA is TX12.X: Other Manufacturing, Materials, and Structure. The technology also is applicable to TX07.2.2: In Situ Manufacturing, Maintenance, and Repair as well as TX07.2.3: Surface Construction and Assembly, and TX03.3 Power Management and Distribution. The LAMA system will support infrastructure development through the rapid construction of non-pressurized structures such as landing pads, roadways, and blast shields.
The proposed construction technology will benefit other federal agencies interested in surface construction in extraterrestrial environments. Terrestrially, LAMA could be adapted for construction in remote locations where sunlight is readily available, where building materials are limited, and where communities are underserved by currently available construction methods.