Electrostatic Sampling and Transport of Ice for In-Situ Resource Utilization

Hiroyuki Kawamoto*, Naonori Yoshida

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    It has been discovered that water (ice) exists at the polar regions of the Moon and Mars, and it is expected that water would be used to maintain life support for astronauts and to provide a raw material of hydrogen and oxygen. Because it is necessary to mine, sample, and transport water ice for in-situ water utilization, electrostatic sampling and transport systems for crushed water ice have been developed. A high voltage is applied between parallel screen electrodes of the sampling device. It was demonstrated that crushed ice particles, as well as regolith particles, can be captured successfully by the screen electrodes as a result of the electrostatic force if the lower screen electrode is placed in contact with the surface of the ice bulk. Ion-exchanged water ice, tap-water ice, CuSO4-doped water ice, and ice mixed with lunar regolith simulant were captured. Captured ice particles are transported by the electrostatic transport system that uses electrostatic traveling waves. The conveyer consists of parallel electrodes printed on a plastic substrate. A four-phase rectangular voltage is applied to the electrodes to transport particles on the conveyer. It was demonstrated that crushed ice particles mixed with lunar regolith simulant, as well as regolith particles and liquid water droplets, are transported successfully by this system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number04018044
    JournalJournal of Aerospace Engineering
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1


    • Electrostatics
    • Ice
    • In-situ resource utilization
    • Lunar exploration
    • Mars

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • General Materials Science
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering


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