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#26 2022-09-15 17:00:49

From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,619

Re: Harvesting Asteroids - Economics and Practice of

If the rubble pile is a few hundred metres in diameter, then it could be encased in a single bag, or two hemispheric bags which are connected together around the equator.

But I prefer the idea of having an equatorial rotating ring that has no direct contact with the surface.  Opposable shovels attached to manipulator arms mounted on the ring can take bites out of the surface, without needing to exert very much parallel pressure.  As this progresses, the volume of the asteroid will shrink.  But in a loose rubble pile, which behaves like a liquid, gravity will draw its shape back to a sphere.

"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."


#27 2022-09-15 18:05:04

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,659

Re: Harvesting Asteroids - Economics and Practice of

I remember the topic but a quick look for it only turned up the "Compressed gas balloon rocket for Mars launch" which was a woven basalt bag for mars.


#28 2022-09-16 12:46:18

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 5,821

Re: Harvesting Asteroids - Economics and Practice of

I will continue to intrude here.

I consider Calliban's notions as good, at least for small objects.  Of course, I am myself interested in objects that may be larger, so the solutions may be different, or perhaps may borrow from other solutions for other objects.

In my case Phobos and Deimos, even if they are moons, to some extent resemble asteroids, quite a lot, but they may be a bit more porous.

Here might be a basis for a useful tool: Query: "corkscrew yard anchor for dogs" … 540FE1303B
These will need to be used in counter orientations, as at least pairs.  In other words, one designed to spin in one direction clockwise, and the other in counterclockwise.

In this manner they may be able to attach to a rubble pile.  They would have to be presented to the rubble pile perhaps a first action would be to spear the rubble pile using the inertia of the mining vessel.  Then the spin to get an anchorage.

Additional anchors might be used subsequently to provide additional anchoring.

If a rubble asteroid were subjected to a strong magnetic field, this would both attract to both the projector of magnetism, and the ship itself if it had magnetic qualities.  This would also cause the rubble asteroid to clinch together like a fist, as the magnetic particles in the rubble asteroid would be attracted to the field and each other.

If you vibrated the ship, then a fluidization process may be induced, and it may even be that the mining ship might become enveloped in particles with some magnetic portions in them.  I don't know if that is useful or a problem.  It could be useful as to provide some radiation shielding.

Phobos and Deimos being where I think that this type of mining might be pioneered, I don't really know how much magnetic materials are in them.  There are probably some.
Query: "Magnetic iron in rubble asteroids" … -the-moon/ … etic-field

I think that in any case that Phobos and Deimos were created, there should be at least some magnetic Iron, maybe Nickle?

The mining vessel could have a very powerful magnet, similar to those contemplated for magnetic plasma bubble space drives.

My posts #23 and #24 can be referenced for additional things that might be done.

If it turns out that somehow Phobos and Deimos have some kind of Hydrogen resources, then Eureka!

You may have already established a set of holdfasts on the surface of the objects and might then access these Hydrogen resources.

It seems likely that Deimos at least has some Carbon on its surface.  The interior, we cannot be sure of.

This is simply of interest: … olar-wind/

I will make the point that if materials of Phobos and Deimos contain anything of value to Earth/Moon, that may be possible to carry back in a returning Starship(s).


Last edited by Void (2022-09-17 11:08:29)



#29 2023-03-16 06:07:57

Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 6,244

Re: Harvesting Asteroids - Economics and Practice of

Didymos is Spinning So Quickly That Rocks are Detaching at its Equator and Going Into Orbit … nto-orbit/

Last fall, when NASA’s DART mission impacted Didymos’ moon Dimorphos in a dramatic (and successful) attempt to change the object’s orbit, DART got a quick look at the Didymos system before the probe was purposefully smashed to pieces.

Alongside demonstrating the capability to prevent future asteroid strikes on Earth, DART also gathered new information about the dynamics of the pair of asteroids. The data collected suggests that Didymos is actively throwing material out into space, and there are likely millions of other small asteroids doing the same across the Solar System, all the time.


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