LDC 2023 Topic: Progressive stages of establishing an enduring and thriving human presence on the Moon
Current visions for the development of long-term human habitation of the Moon and a thriving space-based economy usually contain certain critical stages of development. Each of these stages has their own defining hallmarks. The time it will take to reach those defining stages sets the pace for developing critical short-term technology needs, and longer-term goals for establishing an enduring infrastructure. Understanding the pace of development, and the urgency of those needs, is critical to everything from scheduling research and development, to organizing financing and forming policies.
This presentation lays out the general progressive stages of establishing an enduring and thriving human presence on the Moon, discusses the broad needs for each stage, and gives examples of well-timed research and development. Methods for adapting existing terrestrial technologies for use on the lunar surface will also be discussed.
Vincent Roux has a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on the interaction between technology and the surface environment of other worlds. Vince is one of the owners and lead researchers at Off Planet Research and is one of the world’s leading experts in simulating extra-terrestrial surface environments for developing and testing landed technology. His objectives are to help develop effective landers, rovers, and ISRU processes that will help establish a sustainable and beneficial human presence in space and contribute to our understanding of our home amongst the stars.
Establishing an enduring human presence and a viable economy in space can benefit all of humanity. Harnessing the resources in space can replace polluting energy sources with abundant, cheap, and clean solar power. Moving environmentally damaging industries like metals mining and refining off of the Earth can help restore Earth to a healthy, balanced state. Vince’s efforts are focused on helping humanity to achieve these objectives while not repeating the mistakes of the past.
In 2015, Vince Roux and Melissa Roth established Off Planet Research with the objective of providing critical materials and services to the growing space industry, and began producing realistic lunar regolith simulants, many of which were not commercially available at the time. Shortly after starting up, Off Plant Research began producing variants of their simulants that contain critical components such as agglutinates, ices, and metal ores.
In 2016, Vince and his colleagues at Off Planet Research were the first in the world to successfully simulate the icy regoliths found within the ultra-cold permanently shadowed regions at the poles of the Moon, included the major ice components. During this experiment, Off Planet Research performed the first measured extraction of these ice components.
Off Planet Research develops and produces specialized simulants that approximate particular properties of the soils on other worlds, including magnetic response, specific chemical and mineral compositions, and unique physical properties. These simulants help design and test exploration, construction, and resource extraction technologies.
Off Planet research is more than just simulants. Vince has served as the Primary Investigator at Off Planet Research for multiple NASA Grants to develop surface technologies to be used on the Moon and Mars, including connectors for transferring fluids and gases in these high vacuum and very dusty environments, seals to exclude the damaging dust from critical equipment, and protective covers for space suite systems.
Vince’s previous experience includes over 30 years in engineering roles in the aerospace and space communities starting with working on bush planes in the most remote parts of the world up to helping to build some of today’s most advanced rockets. He applies his expertise to testing space-based technologies as well as studying the dynamics of landers operating on or near the surfaces of other worlds.
Off Planet Research is located on the shores of the Salish Sea in Everett, Washington. Vince lives in Bellingham, Washington, the city of subdued enthusiasm.