NASA seeks proposals from universities affiliated with their state’s Space Grant Consortium (or partnered with an affiliated school) to design, develop, and demonstrate technologies that will enable the production of lunar infrastructure from
ISRU-derived metals found on the Moon.
Proposing teams are encouraged to request the funding needed
(up to $180,000) to bring their ideas to life!
Call for Proposals:
Lunar Forge: Producing Metal Products on the Moon
For the 2023 BIG Idea Challenge, NASA solicits team proposals from Space Grant affiliated universities and colleges for a wide range of technologies that will enable the production of lunar infrastructure from ISRU-derived metals found on the Moon. Key infrastructure products desired are storage vessels for liquids and gases, extrusions, pipes, power cables, and supporting structures (i.e., roads, landing pads, etc.).
Teams are invited to submit proposals that focus on any part of the product production pipeline* from prospecting to testing, including:
Prospecting for metal-bearing ores
Ore extraction from bulk regolith
Smelting and other metal reduction methods
Feedstock forming and alloying from ISRU-derived metals
Handling of materials used in metal production
Additive manufacturing and joining with ISRU-derived feedstock
Production of metal matrix composites
Extrusion and drawing methods tailored for use in the lunar environment where a complex infrastructure is not available
Test and qualification of ISRU-derived metal products such as storage vessels for liquids and gases, extrusions, pipes, power cables, and supporting structures
*Exclusions: Proposals that focus on drilling, excavation, or transportation will NOT be considered for selection in the 2023 BIG Idea Challenge. The challenge is not looking for concepts that focus on the recycling of landed assets into feedstock or metal products.
Each team will submit a detailed and realistic budget in their proposals, not to exceed $180,000. A wide range of award sizes is expected (in the range of $50K to $180K), depending on the scope of the work proposed. We anticipate funding several larger-scope awards ($125 – $180K) and several smaller-scope awards ($50K – $124K).
Selected teams will build their proposed system concept, and will be responsible for setting up and executing their own high-fidelity verification testing, based on what was described in the proposal. Teams are encouraged to be creative and design their own accurate and realistically simulated testing scenarios.
Minority Serving Institutions are encouraged to apply!
Finalist teams will receive funding to build and test their technologies, and will be invited to present their verification testing results to NASA and industry judges at the 2023 BIG Idea Forum, scheduled for mid-November 2023.