ISRU timeline

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The timeline for In Situ Resources Utilization (ISRU) depends on the type of colonization and missions.

The favored type of mission at this time, by SpaceX (Mars One), NASA(ISP ver.5) and the Mars Society(Mars Direct) all rely on ISRU to produce part of the products needed for their operation and success.

The resources and productions planned are listed in the following table by order of development:

Resources and products from ISRU
Source Ressource Product
Regolith Water Water, CH4, O2 and H2, food*.
Atmosphere CO2 Propellant, Carbon, Oxygen, food.
Atmosphere Nitrogen Settlement air, cold thruster gas, food.
Regolith Regolith Radiation shielding, roads.
Regolith To be determined** Cement, Marscrete, Compressed Regolith Blocks.
Regolith Iron Oxyde Fe2O3 Iron, steel
Regolith Calcium Carbonate Cement
Regolith SiO2, Sodium Carbonate Glass
Basalt Rock Construction stone, roads
Clay Very fine separated ores Ceramics
Salt deposits Sodium chloride Salt

*Although food will be produced rapidly for experimental and morale purposes, large scale production will probably wait for the colony population to grow substantially before it becomes economical.

**The best construction material made from regolith will be the subject of some of the first materials research done on Mars and an important scientific objective of initial missions.