Coral is a program to demonstrate and develop the ability to use lunar regolith to produce a prototype habitat in-situ.
The purpose of the Coral program is to demonstrate and develop the ability to use lunar regolith to produce a prototype habitat in-situ. Just as the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs incrementally developed and demonstrated the ability of the United States to successfully send a crew to the lunar surface, Coral will involve a series of phases with increasing complexity and scope to raise the TRL of technologies necessary for ISRU of lunar regolith, culminating in the robotic construction of a prototype habitat structure on the lunar surface. Earlier phases of Coral will occur in terrestrial settings; later phases will require operations on the lunar surface.
The primary objective of Coral is to demonstrate additive manufacturing on the Moon’s surface using lunar regolith as feedstock. This objective informs the remainder of the program sequence. In particular, the estimated preliminary technical requirements and constraints, recognition of the existing low TRL for means of achieving these requirements, and our consideration of available financial resources drive the definition of the program sequence. With this final objective in mind, each proceeding step in essence, Coral is the answer to the question “how can Lunar regolith be used in future lunar missions?”