Mine Cart with xTrac

NASA Break the Ice: Phase 2 – Level 2

Planetoid Mines has participated in the NASA’s Centennial Challenge program, November 2020 when NASA put out a call for submissions of designs for a lunar rover vehicle with mining and heavy transportation capabilities. The project began in November 2020 with over 40 entities registering. Only 15 groups qualified to proceed with developing and testing the system architecture.

Planetoid Mines was approved to proceed with Level 2 requirements to “manufacture and construct” a lunar excavating rover (LER) to excavate and transport 12,000 kgs of icy regolith over a 500 meter test track in continuous non-stop operations for 15-days.

CEO and Founder Kevin DuPriest submitted the Phase 1 proposal on June 2021. A year later in June 2022 NASA released Phase 2 with submission deadline November 2022. Mr. DuPriest hand selected a dedicated group of scientists and engineers to develop what he hope will become the future of lunar exploration in our submission for NASA’s Break The Ice Lunar Challenge.

Our team has defined several new products to optimize the functionality of the systems architecture. The proposed design has two cooperating subsystems: mobility and mining, each capable of independent operations. We’ve invented the xTrac system for surface mining in zero gravity by gripping onto the surface as it excavates, and have designed a heavy duty lunar Mine Cart and tractor for mobility and durability on the moon’s craggy surface. In preparation for off-world pursuits, we’ve chosen materials that can withstand lunar temperatures and terrain to successfully harvest and store the lunar regolith we’re looking to explore.

Project Timeline

  • 2014 – Lunar Analyzed Data (LAD), enterprise architect, Data Scientist
  • 2019 – PMC engineers fifteen excavation and ISRU technologies under Uniform Trade Secrets Act
  • 2020 – BHP Billiton Space Mining Challenge, Benny and the Jets
  • November 2020 – NASA Break the Ice Challenge – System Architecture proposal.
  • November 2022 – NASA Break the Ice Challenge Phase 2, Level 1 – System Architecture and Durability Demonstration Plan
  • December 14, 2022 – PHASE 2 Winners Announced
    • Team xTrac Planetoid Mines advances to Level 2 build and test full-size prototypes.
  • December 15, 2022 – Planetoid Mines, Team xTrac begins Phase 2, Level 2
    • “to Manufacture and Construct” a Lunar Excavation Rover due by July 1, 2023
  • July 4 – 20, 2023 – NASA xTrac and Mine Cart, Durability Demonstration Report – 15-day Test period in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (want to help?.. come volunteer at NASA’s Lunar Test Track)
  • August, 2023 – xTrac Operational Test, DoD Sedan Crater, Nevada
  • October 27, 2023 Level 2 submission deadline and winners announcement
  • May 2024 – Level 3, a 15-day head-to-head competition with Level 2 winners.
  • Test the prototype at a NASA-selected Facility – $1,500,000 prize money

Join Us

As Planetoid Mines engineers innovative space systems architecture and solutions to endure and survive long remote mining missions, we can’t do it alone. We currently have need in the following areas:

  • Fabrication Rapid Prototyping Laboratory – open to Joint Venture Partnership
    • Access to a large format 3D printer for metal and carbide parts.
    • 3-axis CNC machines, computer-controlled subtractive milling and turning machines
    • Printed circuit board milling or etching high precision milling in pre-clad copper boards
    • Microprocessor and digital electronics design, assembly, and test workstations
    • Cutters, for sheet material: laser welder, plasma cutter, water jet cutter
  • Assembly Warehouse
    • ~10,000 to 20,000 sq ft open floor high ceiling secure warehouse.
  • Full-time Employees
    • Robotic / Electrical Engineer
    • Robotic Software Programmer
  • Angel Investor
    • Visionary early-stage partner to support our short-term deliverables.
    • Long term space ROI, short turn mining, energy, construction market penetration.