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When early explorers crossed vast oceans to reach new worlds, they traveled with only what they needed to get there. After arriving at their destination, the pioneers planned to live off the land. NASA engineers and scientists now are developing capabilities needed once astronauts reach destinations such as an asteroid, the moon or Mars.

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, researchers are studying how to best practice in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), that is, harvesting and relying on available raw materials as astronauts visit deep-space destinations. Josephine Burnett, director of Kennedy's new Exploration Research and Technology Programs organization, points out the significance of creating new capabilities.

"Pioneering space will require several game changing technologies, some of which are being developed here at Kennedy," said Burnett. "These new technological capabilities will enable NASA to become less dependent on Earth-based logistics and instead use local resources to maintain a sustained human presence in space."

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