Thermal Management System for Lunar Ice Miners



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50th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Million tons of ice water discovered by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission is considered to be the most valuable resource on the moon. Extracting these water ice from Lunar regolith would require very high thermal energy input and inversely, capturing these water vapor in the near-vacuum environment also request significant cooling capacity. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a dedicated thermal management system (TMS) for future Lunar Ice Mining Rovers that are powered by the radioisotope. Under an SBIR Phase I program, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc (ACT) in collaboration with Honeybee Robotics (HBR) is developing a thermal management system that can strategically use the waste heat of nuclear power sources to sublimate water vapor from icy-soil on the moon and use Lunar environment temperature as the heat sink to refreeze the sublimated vapor within the cold trap container. In such a way that the required electric energy for both ice extraction and vapor collection can be minimized with lower system mass and footprint. A detailed trade study was performed to design multiple thermal components of TMS including a waste heat-based thermal corer and a heat pipe radiator cold trap tank. A proof-of-concept prototype was developed and tested. A preliminary full-system that can potentially meet NASA�s mining goals was designed and the mining efficiency, system mass/volume, and power consumption (both electrical and thermal) were evaluated. This paper will report on the status and preliminary theoretical and experimental results of this work


Kuan-Lin Lee, Advanced Cooling Technologies,Inc.
Calin Tarau, Advanced Cooling Technologies,Inc.
Quang Truong, Advanced Cooling Technologies,Inc.
Srujan Rokkam, Advanced Cooling Technologies,Inc
Hunter Williams, Honeybee Robotics
Dean Bergman, Honeybee Robotics
Kris Zacny, Honeybee Robotics
ICES102: Thermal Control for Planetary and Small Body Surface Missions
The 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held virtually on 12 July 2021 through 14 July 2021.


Lunar Ice Mining, Thermal Management, Heat Pipes