Cislunar Initiative Overview

Cislunar Initiative Overview

August 15, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


(gentle piano music) – Right now, the space-based
economy encompasses about $350 billion per year worth of work. But over the next 30 years, forecasts say that the space-based economy is gonna grow to about $3 trillion per year. So there’s gonna be massive growth in terms of our investment in space. And we wanna be at the front end of that. We wanna help conceive a
design, implement systems that can get us out to
the Earth-Moon system, explore the lunar environment, and utilize lunar orbit
as a stepping off point, both to access the lunar surface as well as the inner solar system, comets, asteroids, Mars, and beyond. Through the Cislunar Initiative, Purdue will provide national leadership in the development of cislunar space. The initiative encompasses five key areas. – We need to be able to access the region within the Earth-Moon neighborhood from the perspective of
getting off the Earth into that region of space. But we also need to move around it. Purdue has a lot of strengths
across all of engineering, associated with the activities that we wanna do within this initiative. We are well placed in the propulsion area, as well as in mission design. Things in cislunar which
have to be computed in a way that incorporates
multiple gravity fields, that’s one of the things
that we’re well known for. (engine hisses) – So a key part of access is to provide the propulsion devices
to take us from Earth, to the north orbit, to
the Moon, and beyond. So what we do here at
the Maurice Zucrow Labs is allowing us to test
rocket engines at conditions that no other university
in academia can do, in the United States at the very least. We ask the students to do
everything from the ground up. They designed the experiment, they assemble them, they test them. And we produce students
with great capabilities that industry and government is willing to hire very quickly. – Resources really are what
power the cislunar economy. Just like on Earth,
when you want to go look for resources, you hire
a geologist, right? So the geologist is the one
that goes out in the field, looks for a place you could start a mine, you could find minerals or
other resources you need, and the same is gonna be true on the Moon. So on the Moon, we need geologists, which in space we call
planetary scientists. So here at Purdue, we have a
huge planetary science group, studies the Moon as well
as other planetary bodies. So we have the experience in
order to be able to look at, say, remote sensing data from
the Moon from satellites, and determine where on
the Moon you might be able to find the resources you
need to extract things like air, water, building
materials, and fuel. – The Cislunar Education
Program is an opportunity to connect to the broader
Cislunar Initiative. All the state of the art research that’s happening in each
component, we’ll be able to take that and translate
some of the research to educational initiatives,
focusing on K-12 students. So how do we translate that
so that K-12 classrooms and teachers can use that in
their classroom in partnership with the School of Engineering
Education here at Purdue. We’ll also translate that
into the cislunar cyberhub. That’ll make tools and
data and simulations available to the broader public. As well as our online program that reaches a broader audience through Purdue Online. – Space habitats, just like
habitats here on Earth, are going to have to experience
extreme environments. In space, the environments are
gonna even be more extreme. On Earth, we deal with earthquakes,
we deal with hurricanes, we deal with heat, we
deal with dust storms. We deal with all sorts
of different hazards, including things like meteoroids, but those don’t happen very
frequently here on Earth. But in space, these things
happen much more frequently. We have to deal with all of
these plus a lot of other ones. So, bringing our experience
to these extreme environments on extra terrestrial planets
is what’s going to allow us to do something that has
not been achieved before. – We need to treat it
just like we would treat any other kind of important
infrastructure here on Earth, like our airports, our
roads, our shipping lanes. And the defense of those
infrastructure assets is crucial to the confidence that we all have to conduct economic activity
across national boundaries and between countries. And in the same way, we need to be able to ensure that space is free from threats or activities that may
produce space debris, for example, which could be catastrophic for both human and robotic systems that we have in the cislunar environment. For all of those reasons, and to make the cislunar space really
the next destination for humanity off of the planet Earth, we need to make sure that
it’s safe for everyone’s use. – Space has a special place in the DNA of Purdue Engineering,
and this year, 2019, has a special meaning for all of us. Through Purdue Engineering’s
unique research contributions, talent pipeline development,
and many partnership, the Purdue Cislunar Initiative
will leave new footprints in getting us back on the Moon, staying on the Moon, and
going beyond the Moon.