Surface Mine Design and Planning for Lunar Regolith Production
Terrestrial surface mine design and planning techniques are applied to the production of lunar regolith for manufacturing makeup gases for the life-support system of a lunar base. Two scenarios are examined, due to the uncertainty of whether bound hydrogen sensed near the lunar poles is from cometary ice deposited in cold traps (#1), or to hydrogen implanted within regolith grains by the solar wind (#2). Scenario #1, with a total production requirement of 44 tonne/day of regolith, could be handled with four groups of four 6-m³ capacity slushers (drag scrapers), each group extending 100 m around a single processing module. Scenario #2 (4.382 tonne/day) could be accomplished with three powered bowl-type scrapers (capacity 24 m³) gathering the regolith into long windrows feeding a large processor. The present orebody model is extremely thin (1 m), although broad in extent: this prevents usage of high production-rate systems such as large draglines.
L. S. Gertsch and R. E. Gertsch, "Surface Mine Design and Planning for Lunar Regolith Production," AIP Proceedings, American Institute of Physics (AIP), Jan 2003.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1541408
Space technology and Applications International Forum 2003
Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering
Article - Conference proceedings
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