Zip Line Concept
A robotically deployed zip line is one example of a concept for pit access students may pursue from scaled models through full scale prototype build and deployment at an analog test site.
Lunar Pit Access Challenge
Check out our initial STEM challenge for students to focus on ideas and solutions for robotic reconnaissance access to enter and exit a lunar pit in an unobtrusive way for a simulated science instrument measurement mission.

Lunar Ecosystem and Architectural Prototype

STEM Education Framework

The WEXF LEAP2 STEM Education program is the educational outreach component of the commercial LEAP2 lunar site development program being developed by an international consortium of aerospace industry organizations. The commercial LEAP2 program is led by San Antonio, Texas based XArc Exploration Architecture Corporation.


 WEXF uses LEAP2 as a framework for offering STEM experience to gifted and talented students using real world project challenges to help solve various technology solutions needed. LEAP2 STEM challenges' provide students with a real world connection to a compelling need with direct tie to industry and aerospace professionals. The objective is to offer students project-based learning with a meaningful product at the end.
LEAP2 is a commercial lunar settlement program that addresses space architecture issues in lunar exploration, economic development, mining, and sustainment at a specific lunar site identified as the Marius Hills Skylight. Projects within the LEAP2 program address various technology solutions and missions for achieving multi-generational program goals to develop the site for human settlement.
The Marius Hills Skylight is a large deep pit,  approximately 48m x 57m wide x  45m deep, formed from a lava tube ceiling collapse. 
The entrance to a lava tube cave is indicated by a large overhang at the pit’s northeast side. Mineral resources in the surrounding area have been postulated for surface mining. The potential for long term habitation and settlement within the protection of the lava tube form the basis for economic development of the site.

Images: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State Univ.

Robot Kits 
​Robotics kits provided by VEX IQ will be used by student challenge teams.

Lunar site development phases of the Marius Hills Skylight for human settlement

Future Technology Areas for the LEAP2 STEM Program
Scaled Table Top Lunar Pit Model
Initial challenge platform will be a 1/64th scale terrain replica of the Skylight with built-in intelligent sensors for temperature, pressure and optics measurements.

The discovery of large cave features on both the moon and Mars are significant for human settlement  on distant planets . Caves offer protection from the extreme harsh environments on these planetary bodies.

Space Environment Simulation

WEXF Board Member and Planetary Research Scientist Ed Patrick,  providing students the opportunity to handle real laboratory “rocket plumbing" in a classroom. Simulation demonstrates how the vacuum environment requires a suitable vessel. Students donning disposable gloves and goggles were thrilled at the chance to implode various “unsuitable” vessels in the search for the one of stainless steel that failed to implode.
Typical Curriculum for Student Objectives
  • Engineering process- creating a robotic solution

  • Math- Scale conversions, angles, vectors, measurement, coordinates

  • Science- force, speed, momentum, geology

  • Technology- programming, presentation software

  • Team work, communication/speaking, problem solving, time management

  • Career and College Readiness- career awareness, degree pathways

  • Entrepreneurship