A Cost Analysis of the use of In Situ Space Resources for Sustainable Habitation on the Moon and Mars



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


Commercial space launch companies have been drastically reducing their launch costs in recent years. This may change space logistics for future lunar and Mars missions. Staging points in the lunar orbit can be used to refuel propellants produced from lunar in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). To further reduce mission costs, identifying where to optimally obtain propellant and to refuel spacecrafts is required. In this study, it was assumed that plenty of existing ice water can be found on Mars� surface and at the lunar south pole. Several cost analysis studies have been conducted on small-scale manned missions (4 to 6 crew members) utilizing lunar and/or Mars resources. Although most of the studies showed an economic advantage of using Mars resources, there are both positive and negative views on the economic advantages of using lunar resources. The author of this paper conducted a cost analysis on large-scale manned missions consisting of 100 people visiting the Moon and Mars every two years for 50 years to determine a range of viable parameters. The results show that as the number of flights and travelers increase, the cost per person for both Moon and Mars trips decreases; however, the decrease is small because the ISRU fixed cost and the transportation cost of moving propellants to the depo in a lunar orbit have a large impact on total costs.


Hiroyuki Miyajima, International University of Health and Welfare, JP
ICES501: Life Support Systems Engineering and Analysis
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


Architecture, ISRU, Logistics, Starship, Trade-off