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.
- Our goal is to design an autonomous distributed asteroid mining system that utilizes swarm robotic miners called "termites" to extract materials and manipulate asteroids.
Such a system mainly addresses the needs of orbital construction allowing to use raw materials and manufacturing in orbit.
The system comprises of two major elements:
- The Hives. A hive is a long range carrier spacecraft that hosts the Termite mining robots.
- Survey robots. These robots form a full size asteroid scanner that accurately maps the surface using hyperspectral imaging and the interior of the asteroid using narrow beam X-Ray tomography.
Once the structure of the asteroid is known, AI algorithms provide the mining strategy.
- Termite robots. Each termite can extract either water or solid materials from the asteroid. Collected water is returned to the hive in order to create oxygen and hydrogen. These gasses are stored in high pressure vessels allowing both increased storage as well as utilization as fuel. Solid material is stored in the termite "abdomen", a storage space at the rear of the robot. Once full, a termite return to the hive to deposit collected materials and refuel for the next run.
Once the Hive's mission is complete, it will return to the material exploitation points (Earth/Moon/Mars orbit)