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Thread: Asteroid mining

  1. #61
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    SLS is the only hope for NTR. Delta IV doesn't have enough of it. LOX and kerosene--or methane--might be more easily stored for chemical depots of large size. I want overbuilt tankage up there for wet/stage stations.

  2. #62
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    ASTEROID MINING, boys, NOT pros and cons of SLS.
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  3. #63
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    Here is a recent presentation of the asteroid baggy approach:
    https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/in...?topic=43614.0

    You know--with that design...Disney really needs to get into space documentaries again

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Here is a recent presentation of the asteroid baggy approach:
    https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/in...?topic=43614.0

    You know--with that design...Disney really needs to get into space documentaries again
    Hi publiusr,

    I liked this presentation. I agree with some of the notions. ISRU will be key to space development and a transportation architecture with propellant depots makes sense.

    For their proposed hardware for mining, engines, vehicles and bases, they will need deep, deep pockets (and they recognize this). But it seems to me they want to do too much. There are a handful of American companies already ahead in some areas and surely many international competitors will soon join the fray.

    Cheers

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Hi publiusr,

    I liked this presentation. I agree with some of the notions. ISRU will be key to space development and a transportation architecture with propellant depots makes sense.

    For their proposed hardware for mining, engines, vehicles and bases, they will need deep, deep pockets (and they recognize this). But it seems to me they want to do too much. There are a handful of American companies already ahead in some areas and surely many international competitors will soon join the fray.

    Cheers
    I think they try to do too much with solar thermal, and too soon. Solar thermal steam rockets give quite poor performance (<200 s Isp) and are awkward to use, you're much better off cracking the water to make LOX/LH2 propellant. Plus any solar thermal spacecraft will be limited to a relatively narrow range of distances from the sun, and operations away from low planetary orbits.

    For processing, solar thermal systems have the advantage of being easier to fabricate in orbit (aluminum mirrors as opposed to large areas of highly refined and precision doped semiconductor), but that's something that will become important much further down the line...they're not building these asteroid processing facilities from mined materials. For future expansion, those technologies might be very useful, but they're not necessary or particularly beneficial for just getting established...they're a few generations early, and making the immediate, already extremely complicated task even more complicated than it needs to be.

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    Did I miss a cost/benefit analysis?

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    Did I miss a cost/benefit analysis?
    Cost Benefit Analysis? I don't really understand.

    He did mention advantages of his proposed solutions. Otherwise, there was a limited amount of handwavium and no unobtanium that I detected.

    There were questions but CBA likely would not come up as the audience seemed to be space geeks. Space geeks believe that space resources are limitless and, within decades, when AI, robotics, rocketry, etc, converge, cost/benefit analysis will be moot and so it is today.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Cost Benefit Analysis? I don't really understand.

    He did mention advantages of his proposed solutions. Otherwise, there was a limited amount of handwavium and no unobtanium that I detected.

    There were questions but CBA likely would not come up as the audience seemed to be space geeks. Space geeks believe that space resources are limitless and, within decades, when AI, robotics, rocketry, etc, converge, cost/benefit analysis will be moot and so it is today.
    Yes, those blanket stereotypes are so helpful to rational discussions. way to keep it real!
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  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Yes, those blanket stereotypes are so helpful to rational discussions. way to keep it real!
    Hmm...

    The fellow mentioned they were going to a second round of funding soon. If they get the money, the investors will have done their own due diligence or CBA. Just like every other startup. And many startups are longshots. Beyond hopeful long term revenue projections (which he provided), everybody knows the seed money could be lost.

    My characterization of space geeks is accurate. Most believe and do not need a CBA to understand that our future is in space. Most believe we are on the verge of ISRU. I believe these things. The future details are blurry and I am here to gain insight on these.

    I get there are people who think space is mostly a waste of time. They should want a rigorous CBA. I assume they do not participate on this site. So that is why I find the post I replied to and your further comment odd.

    Cheers

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Cost Benefit Analysis? I don't really understand.

    He did mention advantages of his proposed solutions. Otherwise, there was a limited amount of handwavium and no unobtanium that I detected.

    There were questions but CBA likely would not come up as the audience seemed to be space geeks. Space geeks believe that space resources are limitless and, within decades, when AI, robotics, rocketry, etc, converge, cost/benefit analysis will be moot and so it is today.
    Is the material obtained worth the effort to get it?

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    Is the material obtained worth the effort to get it?
    Well then, yes. You did miss it. There were specific dollar figures tied to mined propellant vs launch cost (or some such).

    Again, the precept is to get the automated solution in place.

    Cheers

  12. #72
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    My characterization of space geeks is accurate. Most believe and do not need a CBA to understand that our future is in space.
    IMO, your characterization of space geeks is overly broad and generalized, and largely inaccurate. My initial thought on reading it was that it was intended as insult. I now just think you don't know any better.

    To make a "everybody in group X believes Y" statement is the very definition of a stereotype, whether you are inside the group or outside. Unless you interview them all and actually find out what they think, you're just guessing. The broader the group or cause, the more varied personal beliefs and motives it will have.

    I am a space geek, and as optimistic as I try to be, I know that costs and benefits will always need to be weighed. I just think that the specifics and metrics weighed will vary over time, as they always have and continue to do.

    Frankly your description in post #67 makes us all sound like impractical dreamers who don't count the cost. And some are, to be sure. But there are plenty of engineers, accountants, and other practical, hard-number-crunching people who also fervently believe we humans have a future off Earth, and have done and continue to do the relevant calculations, measures, and yes, cost-benefit analyses to make that future happen.

    ADDED: I'm sorry for the sidetrack. I'm dropping the subject now.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2017-Sep-04 at 09:35 PM.
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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Yes, those blanket stereotypes are so helpful to rational discussions. way to keep it real!
    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    <snip>
    I get there are people who think space is mostly a waste of time. They should want a rigorous CBA. I assume they do not participate on this site. So that is why I find the post I replied to and your further comment odd.
    OK, both of you knock it off. The discussion of space geeks is completely off topic.
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  14. #74
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    I apologize. I will stick to discussing asteroid mining in this thread.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  15. #75
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    The 1st transaction for resources mined is space is about 10 years away according to the director of the Australian Center for Space Engineering Research, Andrew Dempster. And it will most probably be water.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Au...years_999.html

    The first transaction in space mining could only be 10 years away, the director of the Australian Center for Space Engineering Research, Andrew Dempster, told Xinhua on Wednesday, at the third Off Earth Mining Forum in Sydney.

    With some of the sharpest minds on hand to represent the world's leading institutions including NASA, the European Space Agency and the Hague Space Resources Governing Group, the two-day event aims to give researchers, developers and investors a window into what will soon be possible.

    Although once thought of as pure science fiction, space is set to become the new economic frontier and the future of space mining will become a huge part of that.

    "Initially we are not looking at replacing mining on earth," Dempster explained. "We are replacing stuff in space."

    Surprisingly, it seems the first commodity that will likely be mined in the cosmos, is water.

  16. #76
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    In the past, I mentioned an asteroid bola.

    Looks like nature beat me to the punch:
    http://www.sciencealert.com/astronom...-it-s-gorgeous

    A tether between them--and you might have something....

    https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=7431
    https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...Nanosatellites
    Last edited by publiusr; 2017-Sep-22 at 10:25 PM.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post

    A tether between them--and you might have something....
    Interesting.

    I think if they were two masses, it should make no difference to the trajectory but internally, the rotation would no longer be elliptical. If there were an accompanying cloud of debris and gases, then new collisions between same and the two masses would change the trajectory.

    Cheers

    Edit: Actually, as I think of it, if you tethered 2 gravitationally locked bodies and release at the right time, they could slingshot away.

    Cheers again
    Last edited by 7cscb; 2017-Sep-23 at 12:07 PM.

  18. #78
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    Yet another article on asteroid mining for water.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/asteroid-mining-1.4300783

    A team of researchers are planning to send robotic spacecraft into outer space, land near asteroids hurtling through the abyss and mine them for water, metals and other elements that will make colonizing space that much easier. Science columnist Torah Kachur explains.

    Why do we need to mine asteroids?

    Quite simply because the current economics of space flight are untenable. It costs approximately $10,000 US per kilogram every time we want to send something up to the International Space Station. Imagine $10,000 for a litre of water. Elon Musk and Space X are trying to cut those costs down by having reusable rockets, but still, the price is exorbitant.

    The reason why it is so expensive is because of the gravity of Earth; we have to propel a rocket with its payload away from Earth and out of the atmosphere and that takes a lot of energy. But once you are in outer space, there are smaller space bodies with less, if any, gravity that may contain stuff that we need for human habitation or just visits to space.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Interesting.

    I think if they were two masses, it should make no difference to the trajectory but internally, the rotation would no longer be elliptical. If there were an accompanying cloud of debris and gases, then new collisions between same and the two masses would change the trajectory.

    Cheers

    Edit: Actually, as I think of it, if you tethered 2 gravitationally locked bodies and release at the right time, they could slingshot away.

    Cheers again

    I was thinking bag material--and tighten the tether for some gravity--sling off material in a certain direction.

  20. #80
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    Solar thermal looks to be back in the news:
    Nice robot prospector here:

    https://toughsf.blogspot.com/2017/10...33926373268660

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Though many in this forum are pessimistic on the near future of space mining, there is one American company that see a bright future in it. The first resource they are targeting is water for use as drinking water, cosmic ray protection or rocket fuel. That company is Planetary Resources. Read what they are up to.
    Planetary Resources is taking another small step towards their goal.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/planet...liftoff-india/

    Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources’ technology demonstrator satellite for asteroid prospecting is due for launch in early January, along with more than two dozen other satellites, aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

    The latest word on the schedule for the PSLV-C40 mission came today from Seattle-based Spaceflight, which is providing launch and mission services for Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 and 10 other satellites.

    Arkyd-6 is only about the size of an inkjet printer, but it’s designed to capture images in midwave infrared wavelengths and send them back to Earth. The imaging technology is destined to be used in future generations of Planetary Resources’ asteroid-surveying spacecraft.

  22. #82
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    NASA is a believer in ISRU and putting R&D money into it.

    http://spacenews.com/nasa-seeks-prop...-technologies/

    NASA is seeking proposals for studies and technology development efforts related to the use of space resources, particularly as they apply to future human missions to the moon and Mars.

    NASA issued Dec. 4 an appendix to its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2 (NextSTEP-2) program, calling for proposals on studies and technology development efforts related to what’s known as in situ resource utilization, or ISRU.

    The program will cover both trade studies as well as development of key components and subsystems needed to extract water, carbon dioxide and other volatiles from the Martian atmosphere and the soils of Mars, the moon, and asteroids. Such resources can then be used for life support and as propellants, reducing the reliance future expeditions have on resources transported, at significant expense, from Earth.

    NASA plans to make the bulk of the awards in one of three tracks, devoted to the development and testing of components for ISRU systems. In its solicitation, the agency said it expects to make between one and three such awards, valued at $250,000 to $500,000 per year for up to three years.

    NASA also plans to make a similar number of awards for trade studies that will examine architectures for ISRU systems and technology gaps, with each valued at about $50,000. NASA expects to make one award for both component and subsystem development worth $250,000 to $750,000 a year for up to three and a half years. As with other NextSTEP projects, NASA expects companies to share in the costs of the projects.

  23. #83
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    Planetary Resources has run into $$$$ problems and has to cut back on what they wanted to do.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2018/planet...cing-cutbacks/

    Planetary Resources, a Redmond, Wash.-based venture that aims to make a fortune mining asteroids, is facing a more down-to-earth challenge: a fundraising shortfall.

    Just last month, the company had its Arkyd-6 prototype space telescope launched into orbit by an Indian PSLV rocket, and that spacecraft has been undergoing testing.

    Arkyd-6 is designed to provide midwave infrared imagery of Earth, as a technological tryout for future asteroid-observing probes.

    A spokeswoman for Planetary Resources, Stacey Tearne, told GeekWire that financial challenges have forced the company to focus on leveraging the Arkyd-6 mission for near-term revenue — apparently by selling imagery and data.

    “Planetary Resources missed a fundraising milestone,” Tearne explained in an email. “The company remains committed to utilizing the resources from space to further explore space, but is focusing on near-term revenue streams by maximizing the opportunity of having a spacecraft in orbit.”

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Planetary Resources has run into $$$$ problems and has to cut back on what they wanted to do.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2018/planet...cing-cutbacks/
    Looks like they have overcome the $$$ shortage by being backed by Luxembourg.

    The following article highlights what the American and a Japanese doing in space mining. Looks like mining for water followed by minerals that can be used in space. I also think China will be a serious contender in this area.

    https://www.theceomagazine.com/busin...nar-resources/

    From Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo to Stephen Hawking, the moon has long held a fascination for astronomers, philosophers, scientists and stargazers. Now it is also becoming a focus for a growing number of companies as rapid technological progress makes lunar mining more viable. The potential upside for space start-ups is clear, with lunar resources including water, helium-3 and rare-earth minerals estimated to be worth quadrillions of dollars.

  25. #85
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    Picked this thread to expand with science/tech papers from 2017-2018 on asteroid and space mining, if no one minds.

    ====================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018P%26SS..159...28J

    Availability and delta-v requirements for delivering water extracted from near-Earth objects to cis-lunar space

    Jedicke, Robert; Sercel, Joel; Gillis-Davis, Jeffrey; Morenz, Karen J.; Gertsch, Leslie
    09/2018

    We have calculated the number of water-bearing near-Earth objects as a function of return-trip delta-v (DeltavRT). First, we combined a model of the near-Earth object's (NEO) orbit and size-frequency distribution with other measurements of their provenance, and the taxonomic distribution of asteroids in the NEO's main belt sources, to calculate the taxonomic distribution of NEOs as a function of their orbital elements and size. Our calculations are in agreement with recent measurements of the ratio of C- and S-complex bodies within the population of small NEOs. Then we developed a simplified mission model to calculate an upper limit on DeltavRT for a mission from an NEO to distant retrograde lunar orbit (DRLO) in cis-lunar space. Combining the first two steps allowed us to develop a synthetic population of low DeltavRT NEOs that includes their taxonomic distribution. Finally, we used measurements of the water-bearing content of the taxonomic classes based on their assumed meteorite associations to calculate the number of water-bearing NEOs as a function of DeltavRT. We find that there are likely thousands of H2O-rich NEOs larger than about 5 m diameter with DeltavRT ≲ 3kms-1 and the number of objects increases as DeltavRT3. The rapid increase in the number of objects with DeltavRT suggests that in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) of asteroid-derived water can expand quickly throughout the solar system. NEOs with DeltavRT ≲ 3kms-1 tend to be on Earth-like orbits with semi-major axes a ~ 1au , eccentricities e ≳ 0 , and inclinations i≳0o. The small, dark, low DeltavRT NEOs are difficult or impossible to detect with Earth-based telescopes because many orbit the Sun interior to Earth's orbit and others have such long synodic periods that they are rarely visible.

    =========================

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1808.05099

    Asteroid mining with small spacecraft and its economic feasibility

    Pablo Calla, Dan Fries, Chris Welch
    (Submitted on 15 Aug 2018)

    Asteroid mining offers the possibility to revolutionize supply and availability of many resources vital for human civilization. Analysis suggests that Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA) contain enough volatile and high value minerals to make the mining process economically feasible. Considering possible applications, specifically the mining of water in space has become a major focus for near-term options. Most proposed projects for asteroid mining, however, involve spacecraft based on traditional designs resulting in large, monolithic and expensive systems. An alternative approach is presented in this paper, basing the asteroid mining process on multiple small spacecraft, i.e. a decentralized architecture. To the best knowledge of the authors, limited thorough analysis of the asteroid mining capability of small spacecraft has been conducted. This paper explores the lower limit of spacecraft size for asteroid mining operations. After defining a feasible miniaturized spacecraft design, capable of extracting water from asteroids and transporting it to an appropriate orbit, a high-level economic analysis is performed. This analysis reveals several key constraints in making near-term asteroid mining financially sustainable under the assumptions given in this study.

    ===========================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018PhyW...31g..19M

    Moon miners

    McDowell, Alex
    07/2018

    In response to the feature article ``The asteroid trillionaires'' by Andrew Glester (June, pp33--35), which looked at the private companies vying for funding to become the first space miners.

    ============================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018RScI...89f4502D

    A new experimental capability for the study of regolith surface physical properties to support science, space exploration, and in situ resource utilization (ISRU)

    Dreyer, Christopher B.; Abbud-Madrid, Angel; Atkinson, Jared; Lampe, Alexander; Markley, Tasha; Williams, Hunter; McDonough, Kara; Canney, Travis; Haines, Joseph
    06/2018

    Many surfaces found on the Moon, asteroids, Mars, moons, and other planetary bodies are covered in a fine granular material known as regolith. Increased knowledge of the physical properties of extraterrestrial regolith surfaces will help advance the scientific knowledge of these bodies as well as the development of exploration (e.g., instrument and robotic) and in situ resource utilization (ISRU) systems. The Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines as part of the Institute for Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres, and Cosmic Dust of NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute has developed a novel system, called the ISRU Experimental Probe (IEP) that can support studies of dry and icy regolith from -196 to 150 °C and pressure from laboratory ambient pressure to 10-7 Torr. The IEP system and proof-of-concept results are presented in this paper.

    =====================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018PrAeS.100....1A

    Asteroid engineering: The state-of-the-art of Near-Earth Asteroids science and technology

    Anthony, Niklas; Emami, M. Reza
    06/2018

    This paper presents a comprehensive review of the science and technology of accessing near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), or making them accessible, for obtaining both information and resources. The survey is divided into four major groups of NEA study, namely a) discovery (population estimation and detection), b) Exploration (identification and characterization), c) deflection and redirection, and d) mining (prospecting, excavation, processing, refining, storage.). Recent research and development advancements from both industry and academia are discussed in each group, and certain specific future directions are highlighted. Some concluding remarks are made at the end, including the need for creating new educational programs to train competent engineers and researchers for the taskforce in the new field of asteroid engineering in near future.

    ====================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018PhyW...31f..33G

    The asteroid trillionaires

    Glester, Andrew
    06/2018

    The race to the riches of asteroids is on, with several private companies vying for funding to become the first space miners. Andrew Glester digs into the issues involved in making money from asteroids.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

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    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018ysc..conf...65S

    Elements of planetary protection against asteroid and comet hazard

    Steklov, A. F.; Vidmachenko, A. P.; Dashkiev, G. N.; Zhilyaev, B. E.
    05/2018

    The principles of protection against asteroid-comet hazard should constitute the main priority of the modern Proto-cosmic civilization on the planet Earth. Any impact of a fairly large asteroid or cometary nucleus with a size of 1 to 20 or more kilometers will lead to a global catastrophe and, perhaps, to the death of Mankind. Forces in order to withstand such a blow of the cosmic body during large space invasions, we do not have and, most likely, will not be for a long time. We need as soon as possible to create technical facilities and systems for long-term comfortable living of large colonies of people on the Moon, Mars, Venus and Mercury, having arranged there some elements of the biosphere. In these colonies people should live in extraterrestrial space settlements, and should periodically and constantly "outplay" scenarios of reliable and guaranteed re-population of the planet Earth by people. Such periodic "exercises" on the actual modeling of the return to the "post-catastrophic" Earth should ensure the survival of humanity even in the worst versions of the consequences of possible dangerous space invasions. That is, we should always be ready for the repopulation on the Earth by people and for the reconstruction of the basic elements of the man's biosphere.

    ====================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018ysc..conf...63S

    On possible colonization of Ceres

    Steklov, A. F.; Vidmachenko, A. P.
    05/2018

    Ceres is located between the planets of the terrestrial group, which are potentially amenable to terraforming, and the giant planets with their large satellites; to the latter we attribute Galilean satellites, Titan, Triton. These objects can be considered as permanent or transshipment bases for mastering the corresponding giant planets. Therefore Ceres can be considered as an intermediate base for interplanetary flights. Staying in the asteroid belt, Ceres can also become a base for the development of other asteroids and mining of mineral raw materials and ore minerals on them. It is believed that before settling of Ceres, it will be necessary to colonize the Moon and/or Mars.

    ==============================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018AcAau.146...73T

    A Delta-V map of the known Main Belt Asteroids

    Taylor, Anthony; McDowell, Jonathan C.; Elvis, Martin
    05/2018

    With the lowered costs of rocket technology and the commercialization of the space industry, asteroid mining is becoming both feasible and potentially profitable. Although the first targets for mining will be the most accessible near Earth objects (NEOs), the Main Belt contains 106 times more material by mass. The large scale expansion of this new asteroid mining industry is contingent on being able to rendezvous with Main Belt asteroids (MBAs), and so on the velocity change required of mining spacecraft (delta-v). This paper develops two different flight burn schemes, both starting from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and ending with a successful MBA rendezvous. These methods are then applied to the ~700,000 asteroids in the Minor Planet Center (MPC) database with well-determined orbits to find low delta-v mining targets among the MBAs. There are 3986 potential MBA targets with a delta-v < 8 km s-1 , but the distribution is steep and reduces to just 4 with delta-v < 7 km s-1. The two burn methods are compared and the orbital parameters of low delta-v MBAs are explored.

    ================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018Icar..303..234D

    Internal gravity, self-energy, and disruption of comets and asteroids

    Dobrovolskis, Anthony R.; Korycansky, D. G.
    03/2018

    The internal gravity and self-gravitational energy of a comet, asteroid, or small moon have applications to their geophysics, including their formation, evolution, cratering, and disruption, the stresses and strains inside such objects, sample return, eventual asteroid mining, and planetary defense strategies for potentially hazardous objects. This paper describes the relation of an object's self-energy to its collisional disruption energy, and shows how to determine an object's self-energy from its internal gravitational potential. Any solid object can be approximated to any desired accuracy by a polyhedron of sufficient complexity. An analytic formula is known for the gravitational potential of any homogeneous polyhedron, but it is widely believed that this formula applies only on the surface or outside of the object. Here we show instead that this formula applies equally well inside the object. We have used these formulae to develop a numerical code which evaluates the self-energy of any homogeneous polyhedron, along with the gravitational potential and attraction both inside and outside of the object, as well as the slope of its surface. Then we use our code to find the internal, external, and surface gravitational fields of the Platonic solids, asteroid (216) Kleopatra, and comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as well as their surface slopes and their self-gravitational energies. We also present simple spherical, ellipsoidal, cuboidal, and duplex models of Kleopatra and comet 67P, and show how to generalize our methods to inhomogeneous objects and magnetic fields. At present, only the self-energies of spheres, ellipsoids, and cuboids (boxes) are known analytically (or semi-analytically). The Supplementary Material contours the central potential and self-energy of homogeneous ellipsoids and cuboids of all aspect ratios, and also analytically the self-gravitational energy of a "duplex" consisting of two coupled spheres. The duplex is a good model for "contact binary" comets and asteroids; in fact, most comets seem to be bilobate, and might be described better as "dirty snowmen" than as "dirty snowballs".

    =====================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018oeps.book...13A

    Space and Planetary Resources

    Abbud-Madrid, Angel
    02/2018

    The space and multitude of celestial bodies surrounding Earth hold a vast wealth of resources for a variety of space and terrestrial applications. The unlimited solar energy, vacuum, and low gravity in space, as well as the minerals, metals, water, atmospheric gases, and volatile elements on the Moon, asteroids, comets, and the inner and outer planets of the Solar System and their moons, constitute potential valuable resources for robotic and human space missions and for future use in our own planet. In the short term, these resources could be transformed into useful materials at the site where they are found to extend mission duration and to reduce the costly dependence from materials sent from Earth. Making propellants and human consumables from local resources can significantly reduce mission mass and cost, enabling longer stays and fueling transportation systems for use within and beyond the planetary surface. Use of finely grained soils and rocks can serve for habitat construction, radiation protection, solar cell fabrication, and food growth. The same material could also be used to develop repair and replacement capabilities using advanced manufacturing technologies. Following similar mining practices utilized for centuries on Earth, identifying, extracting, and utilizing extraterrestrial resources will enable further space exploration, while increasing commercial activities beyond our planet. In the long term, planetary resources and solar energy could also be brought to Earth if obtaining these resources locally prove to be no longer economically or environmentally acceptable. Throughout human history, resources have been the driving force for the exploration and settling of our planet. Similarly, extraterrestrial resources will make space the next destination in the quest for further exploration and expansion of our species. However, just like on Earth, not all challenges are scientific and technological. As private companies start working toward exploiting the resources from asteroids, the Moon, and Mars, an international legal framework is also needed to regulate commercial exploration and the use of space and planetary resources for the benefit of all humanity. These resources hold the secret to unleash an unprecedented wave of exploration and of economic prosperity by utilizing the full potential and value of space. It is up to us humans here on planet Earth to find the best way to use these extraterrestrial resources effectively and responsibly to make this promise a reality.

    =======================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018AcAau.143..372C

    Earth-Mars transfers through Moon Distant Retrograde Orbits

    Conte, Davide; Di Carlo, Marilena; Ho, Koki; Spencer, David B.; Vasile, Massimiliano
    02/2018

    This paper focuses on the trajectory design which is relevant for missions that would exploit the use of asteroid mining in stable cis-lunar orbits to facilitate deep space missions, specifically human Mars exploration. Assuming that a refueling "gas station" is present at a given lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO), ways of departing from the Earth to Mars via that DRO are analyzed. Thus, the analysis and results presented in this paper add a new cis-lunar departure orbit for Earth-Mars missions. Porkchop plots depicting the required C3 at launch, v∞ at arrival, Time of Flight (TOF), and total Delta V for various DRO departure and Mars arrival dates are created and compared with results obtained for low Delta V Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Mars trajectories. The results show that propellant-optimal trajectories from LEO to Mars through a DRO have higher overall mission Delta V due to the additional stop at the DRO. However, they have lower Initial Mass in LEO (IMLEO) and thus lower gear ratio as well as lower TOF than direct LEO to Mars transfers. This results in a lower overall spacecraft dry mass that needs to be launched into space from Earth's surface.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  27. #87
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    814
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018AcAau.143...76L

    Meteorite as raw material for Direct Metal Printing: A proof of concept study

    Lietaert, Karel; Thijs, Lore; Neirinck, Bram; Lapauw, Thomas; Morrison, Brian; Lewicki, Chris; Van Vaerenbergh, Jonas
    02/2018

    Asteroid mining as such is not a new concept, as it has been described in science fiction for more than a century and some of its aspects have been studied by academia for more than 30 years. Recently, there is a renewed interest in this subject due the more and more concrete plans for long-duration space missions and the need for resources to support industrial activity in space. The use of locally available resources would greatly improve the economics and sustainability of such missions. Due to its economy in material, use of additive manufacturing (AM) provides an interesting route to valorize these resources for the production of spare parts, tools and large-scale structures optimized for their local microgravity environment. Proof of concept has already been provided for AM of moon regolith. In this paper the concept of In-Situ Resource Utilization is extended towards the production of metallic objects using powdered iron meteorite as raw material. The meteorite-based powder was used to produce a structural part but further research is needed to obtain a high density part without microcracks.

    ========================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018arXiv180109482K

    Mobility and Science operations On An Asteroid Using a Hopping Small Spacecraft on Stilts

    Kalita, H.; Schwartz, S.; Asphaug, E.; Thangavelautham, J.
    01/2018

    There are thousands of asteroids in near-Earth space and millions in the Main Belt. They are diverse in physical properties and composition and are time capsules of the early solar system. This makes them strategic locations for planetary science, resource mining, planetary defense/security and as interplanetary depots and communication relays. Landing on a small asteroid and manipulating its surface materials remains a major unsolved challenge fraught with high risk. The asteroid surface may contain everything from hard boulders to soft regolith loosely held by cohesion and very low-gravity. Upcoming missions Hayabusa II and OSIRIS-REx will perform touch and go operations to mitigate the risks of landing on an asteroid. This limits the contact time and requires fuel expenditure for hovering. An important unknown is the problem of getting stuck or making a hard impact with the surface. The Spacecraft Penetrator for Increasing Knowledge of NEOs (SPIKE) mission concept will utilize a small-satellite bus that is propelled using a xenon-fueled ion engine and will contain an extendable, low-mass, high-strength boom with a tip containing force-moment sensors. SPIKE will enable contact with the asteroid surface, where it will perform detailed regolith analysis and seismology as well as penetrometry, while keeping the main spacecraft bus at a safe distance. Using one or more long stilts frees the spacecraft from having to hover above the asteroid and thus substantially reduces or eliminates fuel use when doing science operations. This enables much longer missions that include a series of hops to multiple locations on the small-body surface.

    =====================================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017Ap%26SS.362...45S

    Multiple-hopping trajectories near a rotating asteroid

    Shen, Hong-Xin; Zhang, Tian-Jiao; Li, Zhao; Li, Heng-Nian
    03/2017

    We present a study of the transfer orbits connecting landing points of irregular-shaped asteroids. The landing points do not touch the surface of the asteroids and are chosen several meters above the surface. The ant colony optimization technique is used to calculate the multiple-hopping trajectories near an arbitrary irregular asteroid. This new method has three steps which are as follows: (1) the search of the maximal clique of candidate target landing points; (2) leg optimization connecting all landing point pairs; and (3) the hopping sequence optimization. In particular this method is applied to asteroids 433 Eros and 216 Kleopatra. We impose a critical constraint on the target landing points to allow for extensive exploration of the asteroid: the relative distance between all the arrived target positions should be larger than a minimum allowed value. Ant colony optimization is applied to find the set and sequence of targets, and the differential evolution algorithm is used to solve for the hopping orbits. The minimum-velocity increment tours of hopping trajectories connecting all the landing positions are obtained by ant colony optimization. The results from different size asteroids indicate that the cost of the minimum velocity-increment tour depends on the size of the asteroids.

    ==========================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017AGUFMED53H0227V

    Hazards in the Solar System: Out-of-School Time Student Activities Focused on Engineering Protective Space Gloves

    Vaughan, R. G.; Meyer, N.; Anderson, R. B.; Sokol, K.; Nolan, B.; Edgar, L. A.; Gaither, T. A.; Milazzo, M. P.; Clark, J.
    12/2017

    "In Good Hands: Engineering Space Gloves" is a new Engineering Adventures curriculum unit created for students in grades 3-5 in out-of-school time programs. It was designed and created by the Engineering is Elementary® team at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA, in collaboration with subject matter experts at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and teacher professional development experts at Northern Arizona University's Center for Science Teaching and Learning. As part of the NASA-funded PLANETS (Planetary Learning that Advances the Nexus of Engineering, Technology, and Science) project, the goals for this unit are to introduce students to some of the potential hazards that would be faced by astronauts exploring planetary bodies in the solar system, and to engage students in thinking about how to engineer solutions to these challenges. Potential human health hazards in planetary exploration include: little to no breathable oxygen, exposure to extreme temperatures and pressures, radiation, dusty or toxic environments, and/or high velocity debris. First, students experiment with gloves made of different materials to accomplish tasks like picking up paper clips, entering numbers on a calculator, and using simple tools, while also testing for insulating properties, protection from crushing forces, and resistance to dust contamination. Students explore the trade-offs between form and multiple desired functions, and gain an introduction to materials engineering. Students are then presented with three different missions. Mission 1 is to collect and return a sample from Saturn's moon, Titan; Mission 2 is mining asteroids for useful minerals; and Mission 3 is to build a radio tower on the far side of Earth's moon. Each of these missions exhibits different potential hazards. Based on their previous experiments with different types of glove materials, students develop and test glove designs that will protect astronauts from mission-specific hazards, while still retaining basic dexterity and functionality. Educators are given background information and links to in-depth descriptions of the science content, and students are guided through the engineering design process as well as given scientific background on hazards in the solar system in a fun and engaging series of activities.

    ===========================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017AcAau.141..209E

    Establishing a framework for studying the emerging cislunar economy

    Entrena Utrilla, Carlos Manuel
    12/2017

    Recent developments from the New Space industry have seen the appearance of a number of new companies interested in the creation of a self-sustained economy in cislunar space. Industries such as asteroid mining, Moon mining, and on-orbit manufacturing require the existence of a developed economy in space for the business cases to close in the long term, without the need to have the government as a permanent anchor customer. However, most studies and business plans do not consider the global picture of the cislunar economy, and only work with Earth-based activities when evaluating possible customers and competition. This work aims to set the framework for the study of the cislunar economy as a whole by identifying the market verticals that will form the basis of the economic activities in cislunar space, focusing on activities that create value in space for space. The prospective cislunar market verticals are identified based on a comprehensive review of current space activities and of proposed future business cases. This framework can be expanded in the future with evaluations of market sizes and relationships between verticals to inform business plans and investment decisions. The study was performed during the first two months in the summer of 2016 as part of the author's internship at NASA's Space Portal Office to complete the International Space University Master of Space Studies.

    ===========================

    https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2017/pdf/5091.pdf

    The 2017 Space Resources Roundtable and New Space Resources Graduate Program at Colorado School of Mines

    Abbud-Madrid, A.
    10/2017

    For eighteen years, SRR has brought together interested individuals from the space exploration community, the mining and minerals industries, and the financial sector to discuss issues related to the ISRU of lunar, asteroidal, and martian resources.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  28. #88
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    http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.o...SC2017-985.pdf

    ASIME 2016 White Paper: Answers to Questions from the Asteroid Miners

    Galache, Jl; Graps, A. L.; Asime 2016 Contributors, 30
    09/2017

    The aim of the Asteroid Science Intersections with In-Space Mine Engineering (ASIME) 2016 conference on September 21-22, 2016 in Luxembourg City was to provide an environment for the detailed discussion of the specific properties of asteroids, with the engineering needs of space missions that utilise asteroids. The ASIME 2016 Conference produced a layered record of discussions from the asteroid scientists and the asteroid miners to understand each other's key concerns and to address key scientific questions from the asteroid mining companies: Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries and TransAstra. These Questions were the focus of the two-day conference, were addressed by scientists inside and outside of the ASIME 2016 Conference and were the focus of this White Paper. The answers in this White Paper point to the Science Knowledge Gaps (SKGs) for advancing the asteroid in-space resource utilisation domain.

    ===================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017EPSC...11..436M

    Figure of Merit for Asteroid Regolith Simulants

    Metzger, P.; Britt, D.; Covey, S.; Lewis, J. S.
    09/2017

    High fidelity asteroid simulant has been developed, closely matching the mineral and elemental abundances of reference meteorites representing the target asteroid classes. The first simulant is a CI class based upon the Orgueil meteorite, and several other simulants are being developed. They will enable asteroid mining and water extraction tests, helping mature the technologies for space resource utilization for both commercial and scientific/exploration activities in space.

    ====================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017EPSC...11..398R

    How Many Ch-Class NEOs Do We Expect?

    Rivkin, A. S.; DeMeo, F. E.
    09/2017

    The Ch spectral class is thought to contain objects that have water in their minerals, and they are of great interest to scientists and the nascent asteroid mining industry. We use models of asteroid delivery to near-Earth space and measurements of the different compositions of asteroids to estimate there should be at least 20 Ch asteroids larger than 100 m that are more accessible than the Moon, though we note that there are some untested assumptions that lead to that number. Further work must be done to identify the specific Ch asteroids.

    ========================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017EPSC...11...94E

    Astronomical Prospecting of Asteroid Resources

    Elvis, M.
    09/2017

    To make asteroid mining profitable will require professional astronomers using some of the largest telescopes on Earth to make precision measurements. This "astronomical prospecting" information is cheaper to obtain than flying even one or two spacecraft and will drastically cut the number of space probes that have to be sent to find an ore-bearing rock in space. Astronomical prospecting could make the business case for asteroid mining a solid one.

    ==========================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017EPSC...11...37M

    Asteroid Impact Mission: relevance to asteroid mining

    Michel, P.; Kueppers, M.; Carnelli, I.
    09/2017

    The Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) is the European (ESA) component of the AIDA mission in collaboration with NASA. The objectives of AIDA are: (1) to perform a test of asteroid deflection using a kinetic impactor with the USA (NASA) component DART, and (2) with AIM, to investigate the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos, in particular its secondary and target of DART, with data of high value for mining purposes.

    ====================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017ITPS...45.1327E

    Asteroid Mining and Deflection Using Electromagnetic Launchers

    Engel, Thomas G.; Prelas, Mark A.
    07/2017
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  29. #89
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    South Carolina
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    814
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017AdSpR..59.1921Z

    Rotational and translational considerations in kinetic impact deflection of potentially hazardous asteroids

    Zhang, Fei; Xu, Bo; Circi, Christian; Zhang, Lei
    04/2017

    Kinetic impact may be the most reliable and easily implemented method to deflect hazardous asteroids using current technology. Depending on warning time, it can be effective on asteroids with diameters of a few hundred meters. Current impact deflection research often focuses on the orbital dynamics of asteroids. In this paper, we use the ejection outcome of a general oblique impact to calculate how an asteroid's rotational and translational state changes after impact. The results demonstrate how small impactors affect the dynamical state of small asteroids having a diameter of about 100 m. According to these consequences, we propose using several small impactors to hit an asteroid continuously and gently, making the deflection mission relatively flexible. After calculating the rotational variation, we find that the rotational state, especially of slender non-porous asteroids, can be changed significantly. This gives the possibility of using multiple small impactors to mitigate a potentially hazardous asteroid by spinning it up into pieces, or to despin one for future in-situ investigation (e.g., asteroid retrieval or mining).

    ============================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017LPICo1989.8119L

    Prospecting and Mining Space Resources: Planetary Resources' Outlook and the Planetary Science Impact

    Lewicki, C.; Bradford, K. J.; Frank, E. A.; Beasley, M.
    02/2017

    Planetary Resources is leading the way in bringing private finance to planetary science with the aim of prospecting and mining Near-Earth Asteroids.

    ============================

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017arXiv170200335T

    Control of a Bucket-Wheel for Surface Mining of Asteroids and Small-Bodies

    teja Nallapu, Ravi; Asphaug, Erik; Thangavelautham, Jekan
    02/2017

    Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are thought to contain a wealth of resources, including water, iron, titanium, nickel, platinum and silicates. Future space missions that can exploit these resources by performing In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) gain substantial benefit in terms of range, payload capacity and mission flexibility. Compared to the Moon or Mars, the milligravity on some asteroids demands a fraction of the energy for digging and accessing hydrated regolith just below the surface. However, asteroids and small-bodies, because of their low gravity present a major challenge in landing, surface excavation and resource capture. These challenges have resulted in adoption of a "touch and go techniques", like the upcoming Osiris-rex sample-return mission. Previous asteroid excavation efforts have focused on discrete capture events (an extension of sampling technology) or whole-asteroid capture and processing. This paper analyzes the control of a bucket-wheel design for asteroid or small-body excavation. Our study focuses on system design of two counter rotating bucket-wheels that are attached to a hovering spacecraft. Regolith is excavated and heated to 1000 C to extract water. The water in turn is electrolyzed to produce hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel. We analyze control techniques to maximize traction of the bucket-wheels on the asteroid surface and minimize lift-off the surface, together with methods to dig deeper into the asteroid surface. Our studies combine analytical models, with simulation and hardware testing. For initial evaluation of material-spacecraft dynamics and mechanics, we assume lunar-like regolith for bulk density, particle size and cohesion. Our early studies point towards a promising pathway towards refinement of this technology for demonstration aboard a future space mission.

    ============================

    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10...-319-46179-3_5

    Asteroid Mining: Mineral Resources in Undifferentiated Bodies from the Chemical Composition of Carbonaceous Chondrites

    Martínez-Jiménez, Marina; Moyano-Cambero, Carles E.; Trigo-Rodríguez, Josep M.; Alonso-Azcárate, Jacinto; Llorca, Jordi
    00/2017

    Humanity has been mining Earth deposits for decades in order to extract tiny amounts of economically valuable metals and thereby, producing huge natural devastations of our planet. Recently, asteroids have grabbed our attention since they are fascinating objects carrying the hints of Solar System origin and, at the same time, containing large amounts of valuable resources including platinum group metals (Mining the sky: untold riches form the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets, Reading, 1996), iron, nickel, rare earth elements (REE), and water (Mining the sky: untold riches form the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets, Reading, 1996; The technical and economic feasibility of mining the Near Earth Asteroids. PHD thesis, 1997). At present, 14,036 near-Earth objects (NEOs) are known to travel around an orbit close to the Earth, from which 1684 are considered potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs). In this scenario, may not be surprising that some private companies start considering asteroid mining. In the present study, we report the bulk rare-earth element (REEs, La-Lu) compositions of 38 carbonaceous chondrites as well as 2 R-chondrites, including 5 falls and 35 finds, by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) technique. The CI-chondrite-normalized REE patterns show enormous Ce anomalies and large LREE enrichments never described before, attributed to the small sample size and terrestrial contamination. We have also found the characteristic Tm anomalies described by some authors (Acta 163:234-261, 2015; Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 176:1-17, 2016) attributed to type II CAIs. We conclude that from the point of view of abundances, REEs are not worth mining yet for PGEs may be reasonable. In any case, the current inequality between supply and demand of rare earths is a real problem that will result in large price instabilities for many sectors of the economy, also having negative effects in new technologies and development. Consequently, we envision that space exploration will be a way to find the new resources required to sustain market economy over longer timescales.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  30. #90
    Join Date
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    Posts
    814
    A couple of articles mentioned in this forum earlier...



    http://www.astronomycast.com/2018/05...s-update-2018/
    Astronomy Cast: Ep. 494: Icy Moons Update 2018

    http://thehill.com/opinion/technolog...e-21st-century
    The Hill: Two asteroid missions will help shape the economy of the 21st century

    https://www.universetoday.com/138266...just-launched/
    Asteroid Mining is Getting Closer to Reality. Planetary Resources Arkyd-6 Satellite Just Launched
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

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