NASA seeks to mine resources on the moon and Mars in support of the space agency's wider exploration goals. The agency said Wednesday that it will deploy two robotic projects to support resource mining studies under Phase III of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program. Teams from Carnegie Mellon University and TransAstra will each receive $2 million for respective two-year projects.
“We are pursuing new technologies across our development portfolio that could help make deep space exploration more Earth-independent by utilizing resources on the Moon and beyond,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator at NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
Carnegie Mellon University will pursue the Skylight mission to generate imagery-based 3D models of craters to determine viability for human on robotic missions. TransAstra will deploy its Mini Bee robot to demonstrate optical mining, an excavation method that stores substances in an inflatable bag. The company will apply this method to gather propellant in space.