By R. Eguia
Last month, WEX Founda- tion’s founder Sam Ximenes accepted the first place award for the Interactive Poster pre- sentation at the 70th Interna- tional Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington DC. The poster is titled “From Dust to Gas: LEAP2 Technologies for Lunar Site Development at the Marius Hills Skylight”.

Ximenes placed first among presenters from Norway, Ja- pan and Sweden, emphasizing the work of San Antonio’s own Space community. The presentation discussed Col- laborative research projects with the WEX Foundation and Exploration Architecture Corp (XArc).
The IAC is the largest an- nual gathering of the global space community of inter- national government space agencies, industry, and aca- demia. The Interactive Poster can be viewed at this link: “From Dust to Gas: LEAP2 Technologies for Lunar Site Development at the Marius Hills Skylight”. (Warning it is about a 15 minute read if you view all the various videos that are included.)

The poster highlights the consortium approach to the research projects focused on site development of the Mar- ius Hills Skylight lava tube caves explored in the LEAP2 program. The WEXF LEAP2 STEM Education program is the educational outreach component of the commercial LEAP2 lunar site develop- ment program being devel- oped by an international con- sortium of aerospace industry organizations. The commer- cial LEAP2 program is led by San Antonio, Texas based XArc Explora- tion Architecture Corporation and addresses space architec- ture issues in lunar explora- tion, economic development, mining, and sustainment in a large deep pit on the moon formed from a lava tube ceil- ing 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 min- ing. The potential for long term habitation and settlement within the protection of the lava tube form the basis for the economic development of the site.

The next cohort of students to participate in this research will open next summer. For more information on how to get involved with WEXF, visit

The WEX Foundation (WEXF) was established to promote, encourage and support the convergence of technology and education as applied to new visions for human space exploration and its long-term implications for the educational development of the nation’s next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technologists, beginning with K-12 education. Its focus is to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for K-12 curriculum development; improving STEM teaching and student comprehension in school districts and areas where students have been traditionally under-served and under- represented in institutions of higher education; to prepare and encourage low-income, first-generation college-bound students and students with disabilities to pursue higher education and careers in human space exploration.

The goal is to foster an education path for special needs students and historically under-represented constituents into the aerospace community with the development of curriculum lesson and activity plans with the latest information available in space science and space exploration with a focus on space exploration goals to inform students about STEM careers.
WEXF objectives include providing the student with the latest information on the universe, manned and unmanned space exploration, advances in space technology and help special needs students and Hispanic students in low-income school districts to understand the concepts surrounding spaceflight, space vehicles, launch systems, space operations, and space missions as well as the history of astronomy and the study
of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the Solar System, and the terrestrial and outer planets.

The foundation will serve diverse populations in fulfilling its purposes, and participate in activities reasonably necessary to carry out such purposes.

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