NASA KSC’s Swamp Works Collaborative Research Teams Develop New Technologies for Space Exploration

NASA KSC’s Swamp Works Collaborative Research Teams Develop New Technologies for Space Exploration

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Teams of researchers from across NASA centers, academia, and industry are coming together at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) “Swamp Works” laboratory to create innovative technologies for space missions in an accelerated way. Through a rapid-development approach from the idea stage of technology development to actual application, the team of scientists and engineers at the Swamp Works lab provides NASA with the tools it needs to succeed on space missions such as working and living on the Moon, planets, and other areas in our solar system.

KSC’s Science and Technology Projects Division is contributing its facilities and expertise to the current technologies and tools being developed by Swamp Works in the areas of chemistry, cryogenics, corrosion technology, robotics integration, and applied physics, among other scientific areas.

Through open collaboration and experimentation, the Swamp Works lab environment allows teams to grow their innovative ideas and technological development organically and at a rapid pace.

Research teams are developing the following technologies, among others:

RASSOR – Short for Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot, RASSOR is a robotic miner that has the ability to operate autonomously and can excavate space dirt, or regolith, to be studied for producing water, breathing air, and much more. Engineers are developing and testing RASSOR, and RASSOR 2.0—the second phase of the technology’s prototype—on Earth’s surface for potential use on the Moon or an asteroid. RASSOR’s excavation capabilities are a critical aspect of NASA’s deep-space travel goals.

Swarmies – These autonomously operating robotic vehicles are equipped with sensors, a webcam, GPS, and a Wi-Fi antenna that can be used independently or in a swarming pattern to locate, identify and collect valuable resources over unexplored space areas.

Electrostatic Dust Shield (EDS) – By using an electric field that spreads across the surface it is trying to protect, this technology is prevents dust and debris from collecting on surfaces such as spacesuits, thermal radiators, solar panels, optical instruments and other devices. 

Swamp Works labs are currently developing several other technologies, all of which are designed and tested via the lab’s rapid-concept-to-application approach through the collaborative efforts of public and private teams who seek to further space exploration.

For more information on these technologies and others that are being developed to assist NASA in their deep-space travel mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/index.html.

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