Spiral Mining for Lunar Volatiles

by H. H. Schmitt, Wisconsin Cent for Space Automation, and Robotics, Madison, United States,
G. L. Kulcinski, Wisconsin Cent for Space Automation, and Robotics, Madison, United States,
I. N. Sviatoslavsky, Wisconsin Cent for Space Automation, and Robotics, Madison, United States,
W. D. Carrier, III, Wisconsin Cent for Space Automation, and Robotics, Madison, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III

Abstract: Lunar spiral mining, extending outward from a periodically mobile central power and processing station represents an alternative for comparison with more traditional mining schemes. In this concept, a mining machine would separate regolith fines and extract the contained volatiles. Volatiles then would be pumped along the miner's support arm to the central station for refining and for export or storage. The basic architecture of the central processing station would be cylindrical. A central core area could house the power subsystem of hydrogen-oxygen engines or fuel cells. Habitat sections and other crew occupied areas could be arranged around the power generation core. The outer cylinder could include all volatile refining subsystems. Solar thermal power collectors and reflectors would be positioned on top of the central station. Long term exploitation of a volatile resource region would begin with establishment of a support base at the center of a long boundary of the region. The mining tract for each spiral mining system would extend orthogonal to this boundary. New spiral mining systems would be activated along parallel tracts as demand for lunar He-3 and other solar wind volatiles increased.

Subject Headings: Mines and mining | Moon | Power plants | Equipment and machinery | Solar power | Thermal power | Domain boundary | Space stations

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