Space Cowboy

THE CHALLENGE: Asteroid Mining
Solar System

Develop an approach for characterizing the composition of asteroid for mining potential and a process for mining different compositions. Explore a possible division of labor involving different types of vehicles (e.g. sensor units, drilling units, power gathering and distribution, extracted resources handling and transferring). Consider solutions for moving said asteroids between different orbits and/or consequently make periodical adjustments to keep them in place. Analyze how your idea would cope in some of the given scenarios or outline a scheme of your own.


Project: Space Cowboy Asteroid Mining 2016


Trying to find a solution that integrates everything required for this challenge, that includes: deflection of the asteroid to a new position, sensors that determine the composition of the asteroid tracking signal in space, robots landing on the asteroid to begin mining, solve the receiving extracted material from the asteroid and sent it to earth and other possible additional challenges, I have found the solution.

Take for example an asteroid a little larger than "2005 YU55" or "asteroid 2004 bl86" or the famous asteroid "Apophis" this new asteroid course is directed towards the earth and this time will impact earth, but calm down!!!, this will happen within a few years.

The first and most important is to re-direct the asteroid into a new static position, this new position should be as fundamental requirements that must be far enough from the earth to avoid alarming humanity and close enough to extract "from the asteroid" valuable mineral resources.

The first is to send a space charge that carries within it a huge "canvas" that support high tension or stretching (such as Kevlar or any other super-resistant fabrics) and resistance to everything the space has to offer (changes in temperature, radiation, etc.), now suppose that this "canvas" shaped is "octagonal" indicating that has 8 "corners" of each corner come out 8 "ropes" whose length is determined by the size of the asteroid, for an asteroid of a size of 558 meters long by 227 meters wide, we need a huge "canvas" and about 7 ropes of one kilometer and a half long and one last rope 2 and a half kilometers long (this is the most important rope No.8) and at the end each "rope" there will be a "emitter" that later I will explain its functions and features. This "canvas" is directed perpendicularly to its rotation angle and trying to land at the center of rotation of the asteroid. (This concept can also be used in "small asteroids", just to add some drama I use a huge asteroid)

At the end of each rope will be 1 emitter, emitter have the function of transmitting the location of the asteroid, from time to time, they will issue a trackable signal to determine its location in space, are also composed with a propulsion system as "space backpacks" used by astronauts to move in their spacewalks, this is in order to maintain the "canvas" stretched and direct it towards the center of rotation of the asteroid, also must synchronize the rotation of the asteroid. (one of the main advantages of this method is that you do not need to be precise on the landing point, only must try to put the canvas in the center of rotation of the asteroid, a few meters more or less will not make a difference

When the "canvas" contacts the surface of the asteroid, the "emitter" continue their way to cover the "asteroid" and leave as straight as possible the "ropes" on its back, once this process is complete, the 7 " ropes "began to rotate around the No.8 (the longest) in order to make a noose" knot "when the 7" ropes "can no longer continue to rotate around the" rope "No.8, it is when concludes this phase.

Simultaneously to all of the above, the "Space Shuttle External tank" (or any other rocket that have the capacity to move heavy objects) will be located at the rear of the axis of rotation of the asteroid with synchronized rotation of the asteroid, waiting for the 7 "ropes" are knotted around the "rope" No.8

When all this is done, the "Space Shuttle External Tank" coupled to the "sender" of the "rope No.8" (the longest of all), once coupled to the "Space Shuttle External Tank" this would ignite engines "BUT"only a small fraction of the total power, because what you want is to "gradually change the asteroid position without breaking the rope” to the new desired or set position.

When the "asteroid" is in the desired position, the "sensors" located across the "canvas" in the previous stage caught the asteroid, most will be in full direct contact with the surface of the asteroid, because it would be like stretching a sheet over the surface of the bed or put a blanket over a car (no matter its irregular shape, the canvas imitates it), they will not move from its position and will cover a vast area of the asteroid. Being in full contact with the surface of the asteroid may determine its mineral composition accurately. And in terms of "energy production" the "canvas" will feature regions or sectors covered with "flexible solar cells" which will be connected directly with the sensors the periphery of the "canvas" so that when the robot miners arrive, do not pass over the "flexible solar cell" and damaged or soiled with dust and reduce its ability to produce energy.

By this point, it is possible to send and arrival of the robots in charge of mining, at the time of arrival can be connected to the external sensors on the "canvas" to receive energy produced by the "flexible solar panels" and thereby not depend on power sources based batteries at the same time, the cable serves as a lifeline in the event that comes away from the surface of the asteroid robot due to its low gravity of the asteroid.

These robots must collect material from the asteroid's surface and deposited in special containers and once filled, they took off from the asteroid and will engage to the Space Shuttel External Tank "which is coupled to the" rope No.8”, once coupled to "Space Shuttel External tank "will undock from the rope No.8" and began its return to a nearby safe orbit on earth, this structure will not enter the earth, only will the tanks containing the material from the asteroid will return to earth and it will be replaced by new empty containers, at the same time the Space Shuttel External Tank again be loaded with fuel and return to engage the "rope No.8” for the whole process again start


This idea can even be used for mining it in the "Moon", since only be needed:

1- Identify a field on the "moon" with resources that are valuable for extraction, or settlement of a future lunar base .

2- Send the "canvas" and that this deployment and landing on the surface of the "Moon" it is as straight as possible. (as mentioned previously do not need to be precise in the landing, a few meters away will make no difference)

3- As the "convas" is covered largely by "flexible photovoltaic cells", upon arrival of the robots in charge of mining, they only need to connect to the "canvas" and automatically begin to receive power from photovoltaic cells.

4- in the period of 2 weeks of the "moon night", the work of the robots will stop due to lack of sunlight, but in the "sunny period" lasting 2 weeks, the robot will work tirelessly because they will work 15 days x 24 hours.

5- And this is easier, safe and economical than to catch an asteroid!!!

If you want to know more about this concept, search on youtube the video: "Space Cowboy Canvas on the Moon"

Resources Used
Made inPanama Panama
from the minds of
How they did it