The Technology Transfer and Partnerships Office
Technology Field Tests
Introduction to Analog Field Testing Video

Click here to visit the NASA Analogs home page.

Click here to visit the NASA Analogs ISRU home page.

Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction

The NASA program of ISRU technologies development aims to demonstrate how such technologies work in synergy to be integrated as a system. Each technology matures from concept research to become a working prototype in a laboratory that typically achieves a specific function such as crushing regolith or extracting volatile components from it. The technology is then subjected to "field tests" during which it must operate in an environment selected to simulate stress and constraints similar to some of what is encountered during a planetary surface mission in space. Both the operators and the hardware are taken out of the familiar lab environment and face the challenges of a remote location: operations beyond line-of-sight by telecommunications, remote diagnostics and troubleshooting, thermal and dust invasion issues, constraints of schedule and data bandwidth, etc...

As the technologies mature, they are integrated with each other with the goal of "Closing the Loops" and achieve the field demonstrations of a system. The above illustration depicts the Space Mining Cycle and how ISRU processes and technologies work together and interface with other mission elements to deliver their products.

ISRU technologies and systems are first tested during field campaigns dedicated to ISRU during which the focus is on evaluating mission relevant hardware in an analog environment. They take place at a test site on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Such hardware and integrated systems tests took place in 2008 and 2010. A 3rd ISRU Surface Operations Analog Field Test will take place on Mauna Kea, HI in July 2012.

To learn more about these field campaigns, check out the links below: