APPLIED RESEARCH

INNOVATIVE RESEARCH FOR EARTH & SPACE

We are focused on Applied Research in space exploration technologies like ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) to support future space missions while spawning new industries here on Earth—especially in Hawaiʻi. Through public, private and academic partnerships, our research projects continually draw grant funding from state and federal entities.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Basalt Research for ISRU

We are researching various techniques of using volcanic basalt to create durable, cost-effective building materials for use on Earth and in space for In-Situ Resource Utilization.

Planetary Robotics

Meet Helelani, our ODG Alpha Argo analog rover. She serves as a learning tool for students and testing platform for space instruments.

HALO (Hawaii Analogs for Lunar Operations)

We provide access to high-fidelity planetary analog sites in Hawaiʻi to support pre-flight testing operations for the moon and Mars.

 

PAST PROJECTS

Planetary LEGOs

In 2018, we developed a sintered basalt LEGO block design in partnership with Honeybee Robotics through a Phase 1 NASA STTR grant.

 

UAV Pest Control System

In 2017, we worked with the Hawaii Ant Lab through funding from the Hawaii County Dept. of Research and Development to develop a little fire ant bait dispersion system for a UAV.

 

ISRU Launch & Landing Pad

In 2016, we partnered with Honeybee Robotics, NASA SwampWorks and the County of Hawaiʻi to construct a robotically built ISRU Launch and Landing Pad made entirely of sintered basalt.

 

Lunar Concrete Sidewalk

In 2015, we partnered NASA KSC, UH Mānoa and the County of Hawaiʻi to build a “lunar” sidewalk in Hilo made of basalt-based construction materials. The project tested the long-term durability of sintered basalt compared with traditional concrete.