The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) applied to Hawaii state Legislature with a request to invest the basalt technologies research. The funding is expected to be allocated as state royalties from basalt mining leases.
The US state of Hawaii is located on a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean, so the geology of the island is similar to the geology of Mars and the Moon. The basaltic regolith of other planets can be used as an on-site resource for construction and manufacturing tools on future space missions. Construction technologies based on ingenious basalt materials are being extensively developed. For instance, NASA has conducted the first phase of the competition to design and build a habitat on Mars and is doing a preliminary stage of the second phase.
But the same also could be done here on the Earth, and PISCES’ selling point to lawmakers is the research could lead to more applications for basalt in the state.
“When it comes to economic development, this is an area we are very much interested,” said the Program Manager Rodrigo Romo, adding basalt can be used to make rebar, fiberglass and can replace concrete.