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In-Situ Resource Utilization


The purpose of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is to harness and utilize resources (both natural and discarded material) at the site of exploration to create products and services which can enable and significantly reduce the mass, cost, and risk of near-term and long-term space exploration. The ability to make propellants, life support consumables, fuel cell reagents, and radiation shielding from in-situ resources can significantly reduce the cost, mass, and risk of sustained human activities beyond Earth. Since ISRU may be performed wherever resources exist, ISRU systems need to operate in a variety of environments and gravities. Also, because ISRU systems and operations have never been demonstrated before in missions, it is important that ISRU concepts and technologies be evaluated under relevant conditions (gravity, environment, and vacuum) as well as anchored through modeling to regolith/soil, atmosphere, and environmental conditions. While the discipline of ISRU can encompass a large variety of different concept areas, resources, and products, the ISRU Topic will focus on technologies and capabilities associated with atmospheric and trash/waste resource collection, transfer, and processing.
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