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19 November 2008

NASA Tests Lunar Rovers And Oxygen Production Technology




Lunar Analog Field Demonstrations of In-Situ Resource Utilization & Human Robotic Systems hosted by PISCES, the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, a joint U.S. - Japan venture based in Hilo, Hawai'i, concluded this week. The tests focused on lunar production of oxygen for life support.


Life support for a four (4) to six (6) person outpost would require about two (2) metric tons of oxygen per year according to NASA. The tests featured several experiments:

There were three (3) rovers:

And four (4) independent experiments
Scarab was the testbed for both the RESOLVE drilling science package and the Michelin Lunar Wheel, developed by Clemson University for Michelin. RESOLVE featured a core sample drill developed by NORCAT (Northern Centre for Advanced Technology), a Canadian Space Agency contractor. The Bucketdrum rover was used to feed simulated regolith into the PILOT plant and Cratos delivered material into the ROxygen plant.

However, these were just the big name projects at the test. The were numerous smaller projects going on - testing of other gear from Canada and Germany took place during the near two-week project.

The main objective for the two week program was to get the experiements working in the field. This allows operation in non-ideal conditions similar to those that we would face on the Moon and allows us to account for them before we land. Hilo was chosen because volcanic soil closely mimics the regolith found on the lunar surface.



ASTRODAY.NET has the largest collection of pictures from the event and even a movie. Make sure you check them out.


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