NASA is Working on a Space Digger to Convert Martian Dust to Rocket Fuel

One big technical challenge to solve if we ever want to live on Mars is how to make fuel. Sure, you can ship it from earth, but every pound of fuel requires 225 pound of fuel to deliver it - so that's not at all efficient.

But it turns out that Martian dirt can be turned into rocket fuel, which led to a different question: how do you dig in the low gravity of Mars?

Enter the space digger called RASSOR or Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot.

Kurt W. Leucht wrote an article over at IEEE Spectrum to explain it all:

To dig, RASSOR uses two opposing bucket drums, each outfitted with several small and toothy digging scoops. When RASSOR’s bucket drums spin and the arms that hold them dip down, they scrape up just a small amount of regolith into each digging scoop as it drives slowly forward. This creates a shallow slot trench rather than a deep hole. These rotating and digging bucket drums are hollow inside, allowing them to collect and hold the excavated regolith. Another key feature of RASSOR is that, while digging, the bucket drums actually spin in opposite directions. This cancels out much of the digging forces and will allow RASSOR to excavate in low gravity.

See it in action in this video clip below:

Newest 3
Newest 3 Comments

good to know NASA is taking our tax money to drive ATVs around Mars, but they can't tackle real issues like 1% of people controlling 40% of all wealth/resources

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"NASA is Working on a Space Digger to Convert Martian Dust to Rocket Fuel"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More