NASA has a fancy term for using materials it finds in space to help propel its missions forward, "in-situ resource utilization" (ISRU). ISRU is the process of collecting, storing, processing, and using objects to replace those brought from Earth.
Let's say NASA wanted to visit Mars and knew there are building materials on the planet. Instead of wasting resources flying the materials from Earth, the astronauts could harvest them on Mars instead.
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