NEEP533 Course Notes (Spring 1999)
Resources from Space

NEEP533 Summary


1 (15 minutes). As Vice-President for Strategic Plans of a well-funded space company, you are responsible for planning the establishment of a permanent commercial lunar base that will ultimately lead to an international contract to place a permanent inhabited base on Mars. Listed below are features that represent major differences between Mars and the Moon, related to their surface and near surface materials and environments.

Possible life
Radiation from space

For any three of these features, (1) briefly describe the difference(s) between Mars and the Moon, (2) explain why the differences exist, and (3) discuss how the differences would affect your approach to the activation of permanent bases on these two planets.

NOTE: You should plan on no more than a two page answer to this question and consider using a four column table format.


2 (15 minutes). You are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a private space resource company legally chartered under the laws of the United States. Your investment banker has organized a "road show" during which you will meet highly sophisticated (they once took NEEP533), potential investors in your company’s lunar resource and 3He power initiative. Prepare responses to the following questions that such potential investors could be expected to ask:

NOTE: You should plan on using no more the one page for answering each of the above questions.



G.L. KULCINSKI -- Major Points to Remember From Professor Kulcinski's Lectures

Expand Your Time Horizon!

Serious energy problems will be encountered when you are 45-50, and your children are just entering college.

"There's Gold in Them There Hills!"

The existence of 1 million tonnes of 3He on the Moon has been established (and we know how to get it)

Solar Wind Volatiles Will Be Enabling Resources for Future Space Exploration!

Fusion Energy is Closer Than You Thought!

After 50 years of research we now are a factor of 2 away from break-even

We Can Produce Nuclear Energy With Little or No Long Lived Radioactivity

The use of 3He fusion fuels greatly reduces (D3He) or even eliminates (3He3He) radioactivity in power plants

Solar Energy From Space Can Be Beamed to the Earth

Several schemes for conversion of the Sun's energy to microwaves have been proposed. The question is "Is it economical?

Consider the "Net" Environmental Impact of the Earth/Moon/Mars System

The recovery of any mineral or fuel involves some effects to the locality in which it is extracted or used. The question is .. "Will the use of that resource produce more benefits than the environmental cost of obtaining it?"


Summary Viewgraphs


World Reserves and the Future

Before going any further consider weight, mass, inertia, friction, traction

Extraterrestrial Mining Problems for Research:

  1. How should mechanical equipment be modified for operation in reduced gravity? (excavation, loading, moving)
  2. Remote and automated mining. What progress has been made on Earth?
  3. Environmental effects: extremes of heat and cold
  4. Applicability of terrestrial techniques to low gravity, no atmosphere situations.
  5. Rock drilling: conventional drilling: drilling mud? friction? melting and vaporization; chemical reaction; heat induced spalling; mechanical stress; spark cratering
  6. Changes in traction and how to compensate:
  7. Traction is function of gravity and friction
  8. Changing role of blasting in low gravity settings; vacuum will also affect blast
  9. Wear resistant materials
  10. Particle size reduction in low gravity settings design of crushers; substitute for wet grinding and separating? classifiers

NEEP533 Syllabus
University of Wisconsin logo

University of Wisconsin Fusion Technology Institute  · 439 Engineering Research Building  · 1500 Engineering Drive  · Madison WI 53706-1609  · Telephone: (608) 263-2352  · Fax: (608) 263-4499  · Email:

Copyright © 2003 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. For feedback or accessibility issues, contact
This page last updated August 18, 2003.