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  Kennedy Space Center Regolith Test Bin ("Big Bin")

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Author Topic:   Kennedy Space Center Regolith Test Bin ("Big Bin")
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 28499
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-06-2014 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In a Kennedy Space Center building where Apollo astronauts once practiced stepping off landers and planting flags, robots now dig through NASA's largest indoor simulation of a lunar-like landscape, Florida Today reports.
"We have an indoor portion of the moon," said Philip Metzger, a NASA physicist who leads the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations lab at KSC.

The lab's recently constructed Regolith Test Bin, nicknamed the "Big Bin," is believed to be the largest indoor, climate-controlled facility of its kind, 26 feet on a side and packed with 120 tons of gray, simulated space dirt.

It is helping engineers and scientists test mining technologies that could enable future explorers to go beyond flags and boot prints to live on another planetary surface, by harvesting resources like oxygen and water.

The lab is one of four that KSC rebranded last year as Swamp Works, focusing on low-cost, rapid prototype development in the spirit of Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works or Boeing's Phantom Works.

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