U of U students hoping to help NASA get to the moon

Jun 26, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm

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FILE - Impact craters cover the surface of the moon, seen from Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. A group of University of Utah students could work towards establishing a moon base after winning NASA's Big Idea competition. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sixty years have passed since John F. Kennedy uttered the famous words, “we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” at the beginning of a new space race.

Now the US wants to go back to the moon and Utah is involved.

The United States is now in a new race against China to place a permanent base on the moon. That project will require new technology and NASA has picked a handful of schools across the country to help.

Up there with MIT and Penn State is the University of Utah.

KSL NewsRadio spoke with Collin Anderson, a member of the Utah team that won NASA’s Big Idea competition.

“The problem that we’re looking at in particular is the problem of space, in general,” Anderson said. “The distances are incredibly far you’re talking about thousands of kilometers away. And how do you supply that? Well, the only way that we know to supply it is to put it on top of a rocket and send it up into space. But that costs many, many thousands of dollars per kilogram. ”

Anderson said any future lunar base will need to sustain itself without constant packages from Earth. However, that’s been impossible to do so far because of how big the equipment would need to be. Until now, that is.

“Now imagine that you can do all of that with simply an astronaut, holding a shovel, something that’s about the size of a septic tank (and) a 3D printer that is maybe the size of a countertop. And, then some slight sandblasting finishing and you’ve done everything from mining, to refining, to shaping to finishing that product,” Anderson said.

He sad the team’s goal is to be able to fit all of this inside of a living room.

Additionally, he said Utah’s win in this competition could be big for the future of aerospace in the state.

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first time that the University of Utah has been a finalist in this competition,” He said. “What it also means is that it’s brought in funding for the university and possibly could lead to other projects.”

We’ll know the results of the Utah team’s study by November.

Related: How to view a lunar eclipse, full ‘flower moon,” and meteor shower this weekend

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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U of U students hoping to help NASA get to the moon