Extravehicular Activity Technologies:

Component technologies for an advanced EVA suit


International Space Station Research:

Fundamental microgravity research in biology, materials, fluid physics, and combustion using facilities on the International Space Station


In Situ Resource Utilization:

Technologies for regolith (the loose rock layer on the Moon’s surface) excavation and handling, for producing oxygen from regolith, and for collecting and processing lunar ice and other volatiles


Fission Surface Power:

Concepts and technologies for affordable nuclear fission surface power systems for long-duration stays on the Moon and the future exploration of Mars



Technologies for spacecraft and lunar surface system repair


Human-Robotic Systems/Analogs:

Technologies for surface mobility and equipment handling, human-system interaction, and lunar surface system repair



The Structures, Materials, and Mechanisms project has two goals. The first is to develop lightweight structures for the lunar landers and surface habitats, which may be used in future modes of the crew exploration vehicle (CEV) and crew launch vehicle (CLV) to save weight and/or cost. The second goal is to develop low-temperature mechanisms for rovers, robotics, and mechanized operations that may need to operate in shadowed regions of the Moon.


The ETDP structures component of the project focuses on inflatable (expandable) structures for buildings on the surface of the Moon and very large single-segment propellant tank bulkheads made of aluminum-lithium (Al-Li). The materials component consists of parachute material, radiation shielding kit materials, Al-Li for very large propellant tank domes, and composites for thermal radiators. Little in the way of advanced materials for lightweight vehicles, landers, rovers, and habitats was presented. The mechanisms component consists of gear boxes, electric motor sensors, and motor controls for robotic systems that would operate in continuous darkness at the poles.

Each project component is based on the application of system engineering principles to provide minimum risk and ensure on-time delivery. Designing, fabricating, and testing a piece of demonstration hardware is involved in each component. This project is staffed and conducted primarily at NASA, with a handful of industry and academic partnerships.

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