Study Programs

Three Dimensional (3D) Additive Construction
for Space using In-Situ Resources

Team Leads
Dennis Kochmann (Caltech)
A. Scott Howe (JPL)
Rob Mueller (NASA Kennedy Space Center)

Opening Workshop: August 24-28, 2015

This study will consider how three-dimensional (3D) additive construction using in-situ resources can vastly decrease the launch mass required to establish exploration infrastructure on other planetary surfaces.

By combining digital manufacturing technologies and advanced robotics with a new understanding of in-situ space resources, materials and processes for extraction and utilization, we intend to explore how to gradually ease into in-situ production of structures and products that can offset the tremendous cost of bringing everything from Earth. First, we propose to understand how to produce low-tolerance structures and products produced locally in the target environment, seeded by precision subsystems and instruments exported from Earth. What sorts of technologies can be implemented immediately to get the process going? Next we would like to establish a vision for how to gradually reduce the terrestrial supply chain in a way that can be affordable and sustainable so they will not need to be transported from Earth, and space agencies will be more willing to fund the incremental steps. By using these new in-situ 3D additive technologies to create space mission architectures, and strategies, the dream of expanding human civilization into the solar system and creating a new space based economy will become possible.

For questions contact: Dennis Kochmann, Scott Howe, Rob Mueller, or Michele Judd

Dennis Kochmann

Study Co-Lead Dennis Kochmann, from Caltech.

A. Scott Howe

Study Co-Lead A. Scott Howe, from JPL.

Rob Mueller

Study Co-Lead Rob Mueller, from NASA Kennedy Space Center