Title

Optical Mining Subscale Testing

Abstract

Optical mining is an approach to simultaneously excavate carbonaceous chondrite asteroid surfaces and drive water and other volatiles out of the excavated material. Optical mining is part of an in situ resource utilization (ISRU) propellant and mission consumable mission architecture called Apis (asteroid provided in situ systems). The asteroid is captured in an inflatable bag without the need for complex robotics. Highly concentrated sunlight is delivered to the surface of the asteroid using reflective non-imaging optics. Concentrated sun light ablates the surface, continually exposing new material and forcing water and other volatiles out of the ablated material. This paper presents results of an experimental program to support optical mining. We show evidence that when exposed to intense light asteroid simulants spall and surfaces disaggregate.

Meeting Name

15th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments, Earth and Space (2016: Apr. 11-15, Orlando, FL)

Department(s)

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Earth (planet); Light; Meteorites; Ablated materials; Carbonaceous chondrites; Concentrated sunlights; Excavated materials; Experimental program; In-situ resource utilizations; Mission architectures; Non-imaging optics; Asteroids

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

9780784479971

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

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