Newswise — EL PASO, Texas – The University of Texas at El Paso has earned a $2 million grant from NASA to develop technologies to mine ice on the moon for future deep space exploration.

UTEP is one of only six universities to receive the inaugural NASA Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR) grant to find ways to use the natural resources of the moon to sustain life. The work of UTEP faculty and student researchers will be vital in supplying future astronauts with one of the most essential resources – water.

“UTEP is becoming a leader in research to advance space exploration,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “This award is just one example of it.”

UTEP researchers led by principal investigator Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s Aerospace Center, will use an advanced thermal mining approach that could release, transport and process water from the icy lunar surface. The team aims to experimentally demonstrate over two pounds of water collection capacity within 11 hours.

UTEP Aerospace Center faculty researchers Md Mahamudur Rahman, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Amelia Greig, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Evgeny Shafirovich, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering, will serve as co-investigators on the project. 

This NASA program is meant to engage universities and accelerate the development of high-priority technologies. Eventually, NASA will demonstrate these technologies on the moon, using the moon as a testbed for Mars.

To learn more about the LuSTR university selections, click here.

About The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 94% of our nearly 25,000 students are minorities, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 166 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top tier research university in America.