Honey Bubble Excitation Experiment (H-BEE) for Lunar Molten Regolith Analog Demonstration

PI: Hunter Williams, Honeybee Robotics Ltd. - Pasadena

The Honey Bubble Excitation Experiment for Lunar Molten Regolith Analog Demonstration is a simple system designed to test the physics of transporting granular material into bubbles formed within viscous material. The system uses honey as a viscous simulant for molten regolith and compressed gas for evolved oxygen. The system is designed to improve upon current methods to extract oxygen from regolith, an important oxygen source on the Moon. Its aim is to enable researchers to test extraction methods in partial gravity, using a safe, simple, and cost-effective platform. This has the potential to benefit NASA missions and the commercial space industry.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

Regolith is an important oxygen source on the moon. An expected best practice for extracting oxygen from lunar soil is molten regolith electrolysis (MRE), which relies on oxygen bubble generation within molten regolith. However, partial gravity experiments haven’t yet been conducted. Because bubble behavior is significantly different in low gravity, development of a continuous MRE process to recover lunar oxygen requires study of viscous bubbling. This system aims to provide a simple, safe, and cost-effective platform for such study.

Technology Maturation

A successful flight test is expected to help researchers validate current data models and obtain additional data to inform new, more robust instrument designs needed for deep space exploration missions. The flight tests aim to advance this innovation’s technology readiness level (TRL) to TRL 5.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights21 (Dec 2021)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

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