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Thread: Ep. 568: In situ resource utilization

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Ep. 568: In situ resource utilization

    The key to surviving in space will be learning how to live off the land. Instead of carrying all your fuel, water and other resources from Earth, extract them locally from your destination. It's called In Situ Resource Utilization, and if we can figure it out, it'll change everything.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    London, UK
    It would be good to explore more about ISRU in this thread - unless a moderator thinks it needs a new thread somewhere else.

    Comments have touched on it in the Asteroid Mining thread where the potential for asteroids as sources of material for ISRU are explored in passing.

    That thread can be found at:

    But I think ISRU really deserves its own thread. Fraser has set out Some of the key issues in his You Tube clip above.

    ISRU will become an increasingly important aspect of the emerging space economy.

    And Asteroids will probably become an important source for ISRU activity in space, for instance providing water for human use and rocket fuel. Even asteroids mined to bring valuable metals back to earth will have many by-products which will not be cost effective on earth but will have value beyond earth’s gravity well.

    The significance of the recent Osiris-Rex sample from Bennu for ISRU is highlighted in the CNBC article quote below.

    Both Lauretta and Vogel spoke about two future applications of the OSIRIS-REx technology: Using resources in space, also known as in situ resource utilization, and asteroid mining.

    “In situ resource utilization is a big goal. As we go further and further in space we can’t carry everything we need with us, so in situ resource utilization is something which allows us to go farther because we can use local materials to get us even further,” Vogel said.
    But I suspect that the initial sources for ISRU are likely to be closer to home - especially on the Moon.

    There are plenty of threads focusing on Artemis etc but it would be good to focus specifically on ISRU potential, and key strengths and weaknesses of the moon, mars and asteroid belt as suppliers of resources as well as the potential drivers of demand for ISRU in space...

    Does it justify having a dedicated thread?

    What do Cosmoquesters think will be the first ISRU products to be supplied and where will the early demand come from? Any thoughts?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    I’d suggest starting a thread in space exploration, this section doesn’t get much traffic. By the way, first products: water, oxygen, small regolith bits for radiation shielding (probably to be fused into bricks or put in fiberglass bags).

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