NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H1.01-9984
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Regolith ISRU for Mission Consumable Production
PROPOSAL TITLE: Microwave Extraction of Water from Boreholes in Regolith

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Space Resources Extraction Technology
3708 Nolen Avenue Southeast
Huntsville, AL 35801 - 1033
(256) 520-4242

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Edwin C Ethridge
3708 Nolen Ave SE
Huntsville, AL 35801 - 1033
(256) 520-4242

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Edwin C Ethridge
3708 Nolen Ave SE
Huntsville, AL 35801 - 1033
(256) 520-4242

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Regolith ISRU for Mission Consumable Production is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Space Resources Extraction Technology, Inc. is developing and testing microwave technology for extracting water (along with other volatiles) from planetary permafrost. This in-space water will be used for human habitation, radiation protection, and to produce in-space rocket propellant. Utilization of In-space resources will save the high launch costs and higher costs to deliver payloads to other planetary surfaces. To greatly reduce Earth launch mass, propellant to return from the Martian surface will be manufactured with in-situ resources (i.e. water, CO2) on the surface of Mars for manned exploration missions. A microwave probe can penetrate deep below the surface and extract water (vapor) below water depleted layers near the surface and where water ice is more concentration. We will test the efficiency of water extraction radiating microwave energy with our microwave probes in simulated Martian permafrost simulant under vacuum (i.e. 5 torr). We have shown that microwaves will penetrate regolith, heating in-situ. As the regolith heats, water ice sublimes to water vapor that will flow out of the regolith and can be funneled through a conduit in the probe to a remote cold trap. Microwave water extraction has been demonstrated in our lab by beaming microwaves with a microwave horn. We will validate that the process works with microwave probes and water extraction rates will be measured. It is a simple vapor transport process, efficient, less complex, and a lower mass method for volatiles prospecting and water mining. The process will eliminate the need for excavation and associated mining equipment, it can save the mass/costs to deliver excavation, mining and regolith handling equipment to Mars as well as the Moon. This method would reduce the cost/mass that has to be delivered to the moon ($1M/kg) and Mars ($10M/kg).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has plans to prospect and to demonstrate mining of in-situ water from the lunar poles. The water will be used for human habitation and for rocket propellant (oxygen) to ascent from the moon. Use of in-space resources will greatly reduce launch mass as well as the cost/mass that has to be delivered to the surface of the moon ($1M/kg) and Mars ($10M/kg. Any manned mission to Mars will require the use of Martian water for habitation (water and oxygen) and to produce the propellant for ascent from Mars.
A potentially related application of microwave water sublimation recovery technology is to increase the water recovery efficiency from the water waste stream on long duration human exploration missions.
1500 characters

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
We have identified a unique terrestrial application of our technology. The "Rapid Water Extraction, Drying, and Condensation Technologies for Textiles" is the subject of an industrial call for proposals RFP #69807 by NineSigma (2014). We are working to define how our process will reduce the energy and increase the water recovery for this environmentally friendly industrial textile drying requirement. This is especially important for the state of California.
Many people do not have an abundant, reliable, and affordable sources of potabe drinking water. As the human population surpasses 6 billion, water is becoming a precious commodity. Also military or expeditionary missions on Earth where water is scarce could utilize our technology to recover water providing potable water.
Our technology could be used to thaw permafrost for repairing utilities in frozen ground.
Microwaves have been used to remove hazardous chemical from contaminated soil. Our microwave probe would be a more useful means for getting the microwaves deeper into the ground to optimize the heating of soil for chemical removal.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)
Pressure & Vacuum Systems
Resource Extraction

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37