Off Earth Mining Forum 2019 – UNSW

The moon is sexy again. Multiple national agencies and private firms are planning missions. Both NASA and ESA are planning lunar-outposts or space-gateways, with support by major industry players such as Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed. The time frame for many of these plans is within the next decade. These plans will soon open doors for resources sourced from the moon or asteroids to be delivered in earth or lunar orbit or to the Martian surface.

With its immense experience in terrestrial resource infrastructure and extraction, Australia is well placed to take a leading role in space resource extraction and processing as well as become a leader in advanced in-space manufacturing, such as additive manufacturing or large-scale 3D printing.

In 2019 the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and the UNSW School of of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering will jointly host the fourth biannual Off-Earth Mining Forum (OEMF): “Space Resource Utilisation for the NewSpace Economy”. In the years since this event was first realised (2013), the research and industrial backdrop has changed dramatically. Here at UNSW Sydney we have been developing our capabilities in mission development and SRU research in conjunction with NASA and our industrial partners, enabling us to make substantial contributions to the burgeoning space economy that is now only a few years away. Those efforts are currently focussed in the Wilde  project.

The forum will host speakers from across the spectrum of space-economy and space-based-resourcing issues, with a strong focus on the following topics for 2019:

  •   Autonomous Navigation of Spacecraft Utilising Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping

  •   Autonomous mission planning for exploration, prospecting and site-selection

  •   Geophysics: Determining geomechanics and resource endowment for prospecting and mining

  •   Modelling Prospective Water Resources of Buried Ice Deposits

  •   Robotics and System Design for space resource utilisation

  •   Novel uses and concepts for space resource utilisation

  •   Economic studies: timelines, market conditions and technologies

  •   Global and National Legal Frameworks for non-terrestrial commercial operations

  •   Environmental Considerations

We will host delegates from active domestic and international research organisations and governments, start-ups and SMEs working specifically in this field, with keynotes from major industry players from around the globe. 

Conference Chairs:  

Prof. Andrew Dempster, Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research, UNSW Sydney                           
Prof. Serkan Saydam, School of of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, UNSW Sydney

Event Background:

2017 OEMF Presenter

This event is unique in its approach to bringing the internationalspace community and the Australian mining communities together, which is one reason it remains so popular with our high profile international delegates. This cross-over opens doors for collaborations and knowledge sharing between industry and research organisations from vastly different sectors that would otherwise be near impossible to come by. Bringing a large number of international delegates in this narrow field to Sydney also facilitates networking and partnership opportunities with local researchers and companies that are hard to achieve at much larger events such as the International Astronautical Congress.

Prof Serkan Saydam and Dr Carlos Tapia-Cortez from UNSW posing with rover model at NASA JPL

UNSW has been nationally and internationally recognised for showing leadership in ISRU and the space-based economy from its infancy as a research area. This has subsequently attracted very high quality local and international research students into NSW. Two projects with different NASA centres (Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Kennedy Space Centre) have attracted funding as a result of this initiative, with resulting high quality publications. In the medium term, the opportunity to establish a research training centre in this area can be built upon solid foundations, including this Forum.

➣ The first OEMF at UNSW Australia’s Kensington campus in February 2013 was an extraordinary event. Media coverage had a reach of over 8 million people across the world, with radio coverage in the UK and US, newspaper coverage in India and New Zealand and coverage by all Australian television networks.

➣ The second OEMF was held in November 2015 in conjunction with the third International Future Mining Conference, was even grander. 

➣ The third OEMF was run in 2017 in the lead up to the 67th International Astronautical Congress, so was able to capture both an audience and speakers from many high profile international projects, such as those at NASA, ESA, United Launch Alliance and the Luxembourg Government.

➣ In 2019, similarly to 2015, the fourth OEMF will run contiguously with the AusIMM Future Mining Conference, to facilitate cross over between the Australian resource community and both the Australian and international space-resource community.

n the 30th May.

Helium-3 with nuclear fusion has the potential to power the Australian defence fleet providing unlimited range to ships, submarines along with land and air capabilities.