PhD Student: Jürgen Schleppi
Supervisor: Dr Nick Bennett
Funding: European Astronaut Centre, ESA, and local support from Heriot-Watt
Future exploration missions outlined in the General Exploration Roadmap (GER), including human missions to the Moon and Mars, are expected to have increasingly demanding payload and situational requirements. Even with advances in the development of heavy lift systems, such missions will have significantly constrained masses. Resupply flights will be limited, and in some cases impractical, and so most elements needed to safely complete a mission will have to be included within the mass constraints.
This is where In Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) can make a significant contribution and open up potentially new approaches to mission design. At present, a burden of proof exists on ISRU-related technology and mission designers are conservative in their integration of such technologies and methodologies for future exploration missions. Investigating processes that are available for the extraction of valuable resources for integration into missions, and where possible carrying out physical validation and development of such processes will be beneficial to manufacturing solar cells and other solar conversion devices on the Moon.
This study aims at using existing approaches to ISRU for creating solar conversion devices and validating the manufacturing processes first under standard then under lunar like conditions.