End-to-end mission design for microbial ISRU activities as preparation for a moon village

B. A.E. Lehner*, J. Schlechten, A. Filosa, A. Canals Pou, D. G. Mazzotta, F. Spina, S. Y. Tjon, A. S. Meyer, S. J.J. Brouns, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


In situ resource utilization (ISRU) increasingly features as an element of human long-term exploration and settlement missions to the lunar surface. In this study, all requirements to test a novel, biological approach for ISRU are validated, and an end-to-end mission architecture is proposed. The general mission consists of a lander with a fully autonomous bioreactor able to process lunar regolith and extract elemental iron. The elemental iron could either be stored or directly utilized to generate iron wires or construction material. To maximize the success rate of this mission, potential landing sites for future missions are studied, and technical details (thermal radiation, shielding, power-supply) are analyzed. The final section will assess the potential mission architecture (orbit, rocket, lander, timeframe). This design might not only be one step further towards an international “Moon Village”, but may also enable similar missions to ultimately colonize Mars and further explore our solar system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-226
JournalActa Astronautica
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Bioreactor
  • ISRU
  • Microbiology
  • Mission architecture


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