PSTDL Researchers at 2024 Space Resources Roundtable

Michigan Tech’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL), led by Assistant Professor Paul van Susante (ME-EM), was represented at the 24th meeting of the Space Resources Roundtable (SRR), held in Golden, Colorado, on June 3–7.

Van Susante presented a poster and chaired a session at the event, and Research Engineer Chuck Carey (ME-EM) and four students presented. The presentations and posters were well received, and Michigan Tech was well represented by the team.

Van Susante chaired the session “Regolith Excavation and Conveyance.” His poster topic was “Lunar and Mars ISRU, Excavation and Construction Test Capabilities and Project Progress at the MTU-PSTDL.”

Carey presented a talk on “Testing a Novel Lunar Regolith Compaction Device for Site Preparation.”

Ph.D. candidate Travis Wavrunek (mechanical engineering) presented a talk on “Development of the TEthered Mechanism for Persistent Energy Storage and Transmission (TEMPEST) System for the Watts on the Moon Challenge.”

Recent graduate Ellie Zimmermann ’24 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) presented a talk on “Cryogenic Vacuum Testing of a Heated Cone Penetrometer for Thermal Detection and Quantification of Water in Icy Lunar Regolith Simulant.” Zimmermann is an incoming PSTDL Ph.D. student.

Undergraduate student Robin Austerberry (mechanical engineering) presented a poster on “Durability Testing of a Lunar Surface Excavation Rover.”

Recent graduate Christi LeCaptain ’24 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering), the outgoing team lead for MTU Lunabotics, participated with the rest of Michigan Tech’s representatives in a site visit with Lunar Outpost, one of our research project partners. LeCaptain is also an incoming PSTDL Ph.D. student.

The SRR promotes knowledge, advances education, and provides information on availability, applicability and status of development of the resources of space beyond the atmosphere of the Earth.