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A University of Central Florida professor is working with NASA to figure out a way to extract metals from the Martian soil - metals that could be fed into a 3-D printer to produce the components of a human habitat, ship parts, tools and electronics. "It's essentially using additive-manufacturing techniques to make constructible blocks. UCF is collaborating with NASA to understand the science behind it," said Pegasus Professor Sudipta Seal, who is interim chair of UCF's Materials Science and Engineering program, and director of the university's Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center and NanoScience Technology Center. NASA and Seal will research a process called molten regolith electrolysis, a technique similar to how metal ores are refined here on Earth. Astronauts would be able to feed Martian soil - known as regolith - into a chamber. Once heated to nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the electrolysis process would produce oxygen and molten metals, both of which are vital to the success of future human space exploration. Seal's expertise also will help determine the form those metals should be in that's most suitable for commercial 3-D printers. NASA intern Kevin Grossman, a graduate student from Seal's group, is also working on the project, which is funded by a NASA grant. Grossman said he hopes future projects in similar areas can grow the current partnership between UCF and the research groups at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. NASA is already working on sending humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s. The agency has begun developing plans for life-support systems and other technology. NASA isn't alone. Elon Musk, billionaire founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is working on his own plan. Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit, is touting a plan to send dozens of volunteers from around the world on a one-way trip to colonize Mars. They all agree that for sustainable Mars exploration to work, they must be able to use resources on Mars that would otherwise require costly transportation from Earth - a concept known as in situ resource utilization. That's where Seal's research comes in. "Before you go to Mars, you have to plan it out," Seal said. "I think this is extremely exciting." UCF has a long relationship with NASA, dating back to the first research grant ever received by the university, then known as Florida Technological University. Other UCF faculty members continue researching in situ resource utilization. Phil Metzger of UCF's Florida Space Institute, is working with commercial space mining company Deep Space Industries to figure out a way to make Martian soil pliable and useful for 3D printing. The same company has tapped Metzger and UCF colleague Dan Britt to develop simulated asteroid regolith that will help them develop hardware for asteroid mining.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

It's hard enough to transport humans to Mars. But once they get there, where will they live? A University of Central Florida professor is working with NASA to figure out a way to extract metals from the Martian soil - metals that could be fed into a 3-D printer to produce the components of a human habitat, ship parts, tools and electronics. "It's essentially using additive-manufacturing techniques to make constructible blocks. UCF is collaborating with NASA to understand the science behind it," said Pegasus Professor Sudipta Seal, who is interim chair of UCF's Materials Science and Engineering program, and director of the university's Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center and NanoScience Technology Center. NASA and Seal will research a process called molten regolith electrolysis, a technique similar to how metal ores are refined here on Earth. Astronauts would be able to feed Martian soil - known as regolith - into a chamber. Once heated to nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the electrolysis process would produce oxygen and molten metals, both of which are vital to the success of future human space exploration. Seal's expertise also will help determine the form those metals should be in that's most suitable for commercial 3-D printers. NASA intern Kevin Grossman, a graduate student from Seal's group, is also working on the project, which is funded by a NASA grant. Grossman said he hopes future projects in similar areas can grow the current partnership between UCF and the research groups at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. NASA is already working on sending humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s. The agency has begun developing plans for life-support systems and other technology. NASA isn't alone. Elon Musk, billionaire founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is working on his own plan. Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit, is touting a plan to send dozens of volunteers from around the world on a one-way trip to colonize Mars. They all agree that for sustainable Mars exploration to work, they must be able to use resources on Mars that would otherwise require costly transportation from Earth - a concept known as in situ resource utilization. That's where Seal's research comes in. "Before you go to Mars, you have to plan it out," Seal said. "I think this is extremely exciting." UCF has a long relationship with NASA, dating back to the first research grant ever received by the university, then known as Florida Technological University. Other UCF faculty members continue researching in situ resource utilization. Phil Metzger of UCF's Florida Space Institute, is working with commercial space mining company Deep Space Industries to figure out a way to make Martian soil pliable and useful for 3D printing. The same company has tapped Metzger and UCF colleague Dan Britt to develop simulated asteroid regolith that will help them develop hardware for asteroid mining.


Pinilla-Alonso N.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Pinilla-Alonso N.,Florida Space Institute | de Leon J.,Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias | Walsh K.J.,Southwest Research Institute | And 10 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2016

The inner asteroid belt is an important source of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). Dynamical studies of the inner asteroid belt have identified several families overlapping in proper orbital elements, including the Polana and Eulalia families that contain a large fraction of the low-albedo asteroids in this region.We present results from two coordinated observational campaigns to characterize this region through near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. These campaigns ran from August 2012 to May 2014 and used the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo. The observations focused on objects within these families or in the background, with low albedo (pv ≤ 0.1) and low inclination (iP ≤ 7°). We observed 63 asteroids (57 never before observed in the NIR): 61 low-albedo objects and two interlopers, both compatible with S- or E- taxonomical types.We found our sample to be spectrally homogeneous in the NIR. The sample shows a continuum of neutral to moderately-red concave-up spectra, very similar within the uncertainties. Only one object in the sample, asteroid (3429) Chuvaev, has a blue spectrum, with a slope (S'=-1.33± 0.21%/1000 Å) significantly different from the average spectrum (S'=0.68± 0.68%/1000 Å). This spectral homogeneity is independent of membership in families or the background population. Furthermore, we show that the Eulalia and Polana families cannot be distinguished using NIR data. We also searched for rotational variability on the surface of (495) Eulalia which we do not detect. (495) Eulalia shows a red concave-up spectrum with an average slope S'=0.91± 0.60%/1000 Å, very similar to the average slope of our sample.The spectra of two targets of sample-return missions, (101955) Bennu, target of NASA's OSIRIS-Rex and (162173) 1999 JU3 target of the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa-2, are very similar to our average spectrum, which would be compatible with an origin in this region of the inner belt. © 2016 Elsevier Inc..


Harvey J.E.,University of Central Florida | Choi N.,University of Central Florida | Krywonos A.,Florida Space Institute | Peterson G.L.,Breault Research Organization | Bruner M.E.,Circle Technology
Optical Engineering | Year: 2010

Image degradation due to scattered radiation is a serious problem in many short-wavelength (x-ray and EUV) imaging systems. Most currently available image analysis codes require the scattering behavior [data on the bidirectional scattering distribution function (BSDF)] as input in order to calculate the image quality from such systems. Predicting image degradation due to scattering effects is typically quite computation-intensive. If using a conventional optical design and analysis code, each geometrically traced ray spawns hundreds of scattered rays randomly distributed and weighted according to the input BSDF. These scattered rays must then be traced through the system to the focal plane using nonsequential ray-tracing techniques. For multielement imaging systems even the scattered rays spawn more scattered rays at each additional surface encountered in the system. In this paper we describe a generalization of Peterson's analytical treatment of in-field stray light in multielement imaging systems. In particular, we remove the smooth-surface limitation that ignores the scattered-scattered radiation, which can be quite large for EUV wavelengths even for state-of-the-art optical surfaces. Predictions of image degradation for a two-mirror EUV telescope with the generalized Peterson model are then numerically validated with the much more computation-intensive ZEMAX® and ASAP® codes. © 2010 SPIE.


Kehoe A.J.E.,University of Central Florida | Kehoe T.J.J.,University of Aveiro | Kehoe T.J.J.,Florida Space Institute | Colwell J.E.,University of Central Florida | Dermott S.F.,University of Florida
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

We have performed detailed dynamical modeling of the structure of a faint dust band observed in coadded InfraRed Astronomical Satellite data at an ecliptic latitude of 17°that convincingly demonstrates that it is the result of a relatively recent (significantly less than 1 Ma) disruption of an asteroid and is still in the process of forming. We show here that young dust bands retain information on the size distribution and cross-sectional area of dust released in the original asteroid disruption, before it is lost to orbital and collisional decay. We find that the Emilkowalski cluster is the source of this partial band and that the dust released in the disruption would correspond to a regolith layer ∼3 m deep on the ∼10 km diameter source body's surface. The dust in this band is described by a cumulative size-distribution inverse power-law index with a lower bound of 2.1 (implying domination of cross-sectional area by small particles) for dust particles with diameters ranging from a few μm up to a few cm. The coadded observations show that the thermal emission of the dust band structure is dominated by large (mm-cm size) particles. We find that dust particle ejection velocities need to be a few times the escape velocity of the Emilkowalski cluster source body to provide a good fit to the inclination dispersion of the observations. We discuss the implications that such a significant release of material during a disruption has for the temporal evolution of the structure, composition, and magnitude of the zodiacal cloud. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Eastes R.W.,Florida Space Institute | Eastes R.W.,University of Central Florida | Murray D.J.,University of Central Florida | Aksnes A.,Florida Space Institute | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics | Year: 2011

A thorough understanding of how the N2 Lyman-Birge-Hopfield (LBH) band emissions vary with altitude is essential to the use of this emission by space-based remote sensors. In this paper, model-to-model comparisons are first performed to elucidate the influence of the solar irradiance spectrum, intrasystem cascade excitation, and O2 photoabsorption on the limb profile. Next, the observed LBH emissions measured by the High resolution Ionospheric and Thermospheric Spectrograph aboard the Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite are compared with modeled LBH limb profiles to determine which combination of parameters provides the best agreement. The analysis concentrates on the altitude dependence of the LBH (1,1) band, the brightest LBH emission in the observations. In the analysis, satellite drag data are used to constrain the neutral densities used for the data-to-model comparisons. For the average limb profiles on two of the three days analyzed (28, 29, and 30 July 2001), calculations using direct excitation alone give slightly better agreement with the observations than did calculations with cascading between the singlet electronic N2 states (a 1IIg, a′Σ- u, and w 1Δu); however, the differences between the observed profiles and either model are possibly greater than the differences between the models. Nevertheless, both models give excellent agreement with the observations, indicating that current models provide an adequate description of the altitude variation of the N2 LBH (1,1) band emissions. Consequently, when using the LBH bands to remotely sense thermospheric temperatures, which can be used to provide an unprecedented view of the thermosphere, the temperatures derived have a negligible dependence on the model used. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

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