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Kris Zacny

| HoneyBee Robotics

Dr. Kris Zacny is Vice President & Director of Exploration Technology at Honeybee Robotics. He focuses on robotic terrestrial and extraterrestrial drilling, excavation and geotechnical systems, as well as sample acquisition, transfer and processing technologies. In his previous capacity as an engineer in the South African mines, Dr. Zacny managed numerous mining projects and underground production. Zacny received a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Cape Town, an ME in Petroleum Engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Mars drilling. Dr. Zacny has over 100 publications, including an edited book, “Drilling in Extreme Environments: Penetration and Sampling on Earth and Other Planets.” He has been a Principal Investigator and a Co-Investigator of over 50 NASA and Department of Defense funded projects and participated in several drilling expeditions in Antarctica, the Atacama Desert, Mauna Kea, the Mojave Desert and the Arctic.

by   -   November 24, 2014

When Rosetta deployed its Philae probe, the first-ever vehicle to land (or rather dock) on the surface of a comet, it was cause for cheer from three intersecting communities who all have a stake in space mining: science, exploration, and commercial interests.

Over the past two decades, robotic planetary exploration has generated an incredible wealth of knowledge about our neighbors in the Solar System. We now realize that celestial bodies within our reach can provide resources such as water, minerals, and metals, essential for sustaining and supporting robotic and human exploration of the Solar System. It is only matter of time before “living off the land” exploration enabled by in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) becomes a reality.  The Solar System offers almost unlimited resources, but the difficult part is accessing them. Thus, if the cost of mining and processing can be reduced, some of the minerals that are in high demand on Earth could in fact be brought back and sold for commercial gain.