Integrated In-Situ Resource Utilization System Design and Logistics for Mars Exploration

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Chen, Hao
Sarton Du Jonchay, Tristan
Hou, Linyi
Ho, Koki
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This paper develops an interdisciplinary space architecture optimization framework to analyze the tradeoff on in-situ resource utilization options, identify technology gaps, evaluate the benefits of in-situ resource utilization, and optimize the design of infrastructure for Mars human space exploration scenarios and mission profiles. It performs trade studies from the perspective of space logistics, which takes into account the interplanetary transportation, infrastructure deployment, in-situ resource utilization system operation, and logistics of the produced resources. Our method considers space architecture design and operation from the subsystem level to capture the coupling between in-situ resource utilization technologies and in-space architecture elements for space resource logistics. A case study involving a multi-mission human Mars exploration campaign is performed to evaluate the effectiveness of existing and proposed in-situ resource utilization technology concepts and system designs. The results can provide us with a better understanding of the benefits and costs of different in-situ resource utilization technologies for interplanetary space transportation. A sensitivity analysis is also conducted to understand the impacts of lunar and near-Earth-object’s in-situ resource utilization systems on Mars missions. The results of this analysis can help decision-makers determine and optimize the roadmap for in-situ resource utilization technology development.
This material is partially based upon work supported by the funding from NASA NextSTEP program (80NSSC18P3418) awarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where this work was initiated.
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International