Rover for the Establishment of Bases and Encampments on the Lunar Surface
Within the framework of the global exploration roadmap, outposts on the lunar surface would be a valuable stepping stone in the goal to explore Mars. A lunar outpost would be very beneficial in reducing the risk and cost of future manned missions. By taking advantage of in-situ resource utilization, the total amount of necessary fuel, supplies, and weight can be reduced at the initial launch, making projects more feasible.
Our mission is based on ESA’s Moon Village, which also seeks to create a lunar base for humans that would serve as a base for future space missions. Seeing as space exploration rovers and sintering techniques are already relatively well-developed, the challenge lies in the intersection between the two.
IGLUNA 2021 Project Show
IGLUNA offers students an opportunity to participate in an international, collaborative, multidisciplinary project on a visionary space topic, inspiring and training the next generation of experts while creating a network between universities, industry, research organizations, and ESA at the European level and abroad, including space and non-space actors.
Our goal for IGLUNA 2021 is to have a finalized design of the rover and be able to print directly on the ground using concentrated beams of sunlight. We will not build an entire structure for this iteration. Beyond IGLUNA 2021, we hope to expand our research of habitation in extreme environments to equatorial regions on Earth. Potential applications of habitat construction in deserts would be the improved construction of solar farms, water pipes, general infrastructure, among others.
Using local soil and the energy of the sun,
a process called sintering is applied to harden the underlying soil.
To achieve this, we use a special wide-area lens
and an adapted rover design.
With an increasing interest in infrastructure building in extreme regions such as deserts, our recent rover developments in the domain of automated solar sintering are well-suited to overcome current shortcomings in the construction industry.
By using rovers for solar sintering with in-situ resource utilization, basic infrastructure can be produced more cost-effectively. This is due to reduced construction material costs, and the lack of human labor and their associated costs during the construction time. Such services are particularly of interest to those seeking to develop new properties and infrastructure, whether that be by governments, government-owned companies, or private interests.
As for a long term vision, we seek to expand our regions of operations to more areas. This includes non-equatorial regions on Earth, as well as sites beyond Earth. One obvious use case for such extraterrestrial habitat building is ESA’s Moon Village. However, other planets could be candidates, such as Mars in the scope of Space X’s future plans.