Paragon proposes developing the a sub-scale hardware demonstrator of the in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) Collector of Ice in a Cold Lunar Environment (ICICLE), a Cold Trap for collecting and purifying water vapor from mining of water-ice from the permanently shadowed regions (PSR) of the lunar poles. Cold trap collection and purification of water from various lunar ice mining architectures is relatively undeveloped. This Cold Trap must be able to interface with the extraction methods as well as downstream processing systems, such as Paragon’s in-development ISRU-derived water purification and Hydrogen Oxygen Production (IHOP) subsystem. A well-designed Cold Trap will selectively freeze out and collect water vapor from other volatile contaminants while rejecting the corrosive, toxic, and explosive contaminant gases found with water in the lunar regolith. The thermal management system of the ICICLE Cold Trap will be designed to achieve both the desired water purity and collection rates through maintaining isothermal internal deposition surface temperatures while simultaneously rejecting heat from the phase change of water. To this end, this proposal will develop a sub-scale ICICLE Cold Trap for standalone testing in a thermal vacuum chamber with simulated water vapor and contaminant inputs to demonstrate the critical functions of the system. Furthermore, the ICICLE Cold Trap will be integrated with the Honeybee Robotics’ Polar Volatiles Extractor (PVEx) and tested in a thermal vacuum chamber to demonstrate end-to-end water extraction-to-collection capability.
NASA is seeking commercial solutions to support and harvest space resources, specifically with regards to ISRU as part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division is looking for solutions in deep space for resources such as water and breathable air. NASA’s Artemis program is learning all it can regarding the presence of water on the Moon before sending the first woman and the next man to the lunar surface in 2024.
The ICICLE Cold Trap technology has the potential to be used as a method of industrial freeze distillation in applications requiring low pressures and temperatures.