Microwave heating demonstrator payload
Humans will require habitation with substantial shielding for protection from radiation and (micro)meteorites for an extended stay on the Moon.
Lunar regolith is a readily available in-situ resource which could be thermally treated to build structures using additive manufacturing techniques by robots. Proof of concept experiments has demonstrated that microwaves couple efficiently with lunar regolith; hence microwaves could be an efficient mechanism to sinter/melt lunar regolith to build 3D structures and enable the extraction of volatiles.
Microwave heating apparatus of lunar regolith for variant experiments of lunar ISRU (MARVEL) aims to establish the foundation to develop a microwave heating demonstrator for ISRU experimentation on a future lunar mission. This will be achieved by formulating a conceptual design and initiating UK-based collaboration between academia and industry to enable UK leadership and design of an microwave heating demonstrator payload on future missions to the Moon, such as ESA’s demonstrator mission ‘HERACLES’ or NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program, and indigenously developed flight hardware.