Areas of Expertise

The Center for Space Resources’ areas of interest and expertise in space and planetary resources include experimental and numerical studies, as well as development of technologies for prospecting, drilling, excavation, extraction, separation, manufacturing, construction, and power generation. These technical subjects are complemented by economic feasibility analyses and public policy studies.

Lunar and Planetary Regolith Simulant Development

  • Development of high-fidelity regolith simulants for the Moon, Mars, and asteroids
  • Regolith simulant certification
  • Production of Lunar, asteroidal, and Martian simulant material

Learn more about Simulants at Mines on this page.


Lunar and Planetary Regolith Characterization

  • Geotechnical properties of Lunar, asteroidal, and Martian simulants
  • Geotechnical properties of regolith on the Lunar surface
  • Electrostatic charging of regolith material
  • Dust mitigation techniques


Lunar and Planetary Surface Excavation and Drilling

  • Evaluation of Lunar and planetary regolith excavation concepts
  • Development of robotic excavators
  • Drilling techniques on dry and icy Lunar and Martian regolith
  • Anchoring techniques on asteroid surfaces

Resource Extraction

  • Beneficiation and separation of Lunar and Martian surface material
  • Extraction and trapping of Lunar, asteroidal, and Martian volatiles
  • Development of Optical Mining methods for asteroids
  • Development of Thermal Mining methods for Lunar volatiles
  • Cleaning, refining, and purification of volatiles
  • Efficient techniques for hydrogen/oxygen separation from water ice 
  • Use of membranes for hydrogen separation and purification
  • Integrated microchannel reformer/H2 purifier for fuel cells
  • Oxygen extraction techniques from lunar regolith 
  • Metal extraction from Lunar and Martian regolith


Space Manufacturing

  • Sintering techniques of lunar regolith
  • Advanced manufacturing techniques for metal tool production from lunar regolith
  • Bioplastics from Mars CO2
  • High-Temperature Synthesis (SHS) for spacecraft/habitat parts
  • Structural materials produced from Lunar regolith by sintering & SHS techniques


Space Construction

  • Design of Lunar and Martian habitats 
  • Launch/Landing pad construction
  • Habitat construction by additive manufacturing
  • Development of dust mitigation techniques


Granular Material Handling and Transport

  • Simulation of Lunar dust processing by fluidization
  • Simulation and testing of dust transport on extraction plant
  • Regolith transport through material handling devices
  • Microgravity testing of granular material


Infrastructure for Space Resource Activities

  • Energy collection, generation, and distribution by solar and nuclear power 
  • Power beaming techniques
  • Development of orbital and surface communications infrastructure
  • Interplanetary and surface transportation architectures 
  • Robot-Human interaction strategies


Sensors for Planetary Exploration

  • Development of remote sensing instruments
  • LIBS and Raman integrated instruments
  • Biogenic trace gas detectors
  • Multi-Spectral imaging spectrometers
  • Automated rock thin section device for rock analysis


Space Systems Engineering

  • Space architectures
  • Space logistics
  • Large scale space structures
  • Power distribution


Economic Analyses & Evaluation

  • Establishing Business Cases for Space Resources
  • Economic feasibility studies of Space Solar Power
  • Commercial Production of Propellants from Lunar and Asteroid Materials
  • Macroeconomic Studies of the Space Economy

Legal, Social, Strategic, and Policy considerations

  • Development of legal frameworks for space resource extraction and utilization
  • Establishment of international collaborations on the Space Resources field
  • Studies on the strategic role of the military on Space Resources
  • Public policy studies 
  • Organization of meetings to discuss the legal, social, and ethical aspects of Space Resources