Space Mining Vehicles

  1. AlexanderSen

    AlexanderSen Cosmic Ghost

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    Lately, I have been working on some designs for Space Mining Vehicles(SMVs).

    The first of these designs is an Asteroid Grinder. It uses a saw with diamond hard acorn-like teeth to cut rocks/asteroids into smaller pieces. In regards to the design I was debating on whether it should have one or two drill arms. IRL from my observations on there is usually only one arm. Correct me if I am wrong(are there any physics experts here?), but I figure probably having two weakens the amount of torque that can be deliver to that arm, probably because if the power generated by the motor/engine is of the same source, then with two arms it means the available energy is divided in two which is why usually it is only one arm. But, two arms look cooler and can better communicate/express the main purpose and function of this machine. So, which one should I choose to go with?

    SMV-AsteroidGrinder-1b.jpg SMV-AsteroidGrinder-1c.jpg


    The second vehicle I have designed is an Asteroid Crusher which using it's multiple small arms to feed the mouth of the vehicle, which is in the middle of a cone scoop, crushers the small asteroids into finer pebbles and dust. The piece not finished yet as I am doing this piece in a setting - I blocked in the asteroids but I still have to paint them... :p

    SMV-AsteroidCrusher-2.jpg

    The Crusher can either have a container attached to the back of the Crusher or paired with another SMV that is a container-type vehicle to collect the crusher rock and refined pebble dust.

    My next designs would probably be the cargo type vehicle that carries the crushed rock/space pebbles to a refinery for processing and maybe even a giant refinery-type vehicle.
     
  2. EJ Heijnis

    EJ Heijnis Inscribinator

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    I like your designs. As far as the one/two arms issue, if this thing is working on asteroids about its own size, two arms would let the craft hold on to its target and keep it stationary while the grinders break it up. One arm applying pressure would cause the asteroid to float away, forcing the craft to pursue to maintain pressure. And I agree that having two arms makes the craft's purpose easier to recognize. Good stuff!
     
  3. AlexanderSen

    AlexanderSen Cosmic Ghost

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    Thanks for the comments EJ. Here is a redesign of the original SMV Grinder, but this time with a grappling-type arm which the SMV can use to grab onto the asteroid it wants to cut.
     

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  4. EJ Heijnis

    EJ Heijnis Inscribinator

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    I think you've made the vehicle's purpose even more clear. I can clearly picture the SMV at work with its arms moving. Plus, it just looks cool. Great job!
     
  5. AlexanderSen

    AlexanderSen Cosmic Ghost

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    I have done another design this time in a setting. It is a grinder with four legs to clamp and crawl along on a moon or asteroid. JFYI if anyone is wondering I design the ships with yellow/orange and black because they are highly visible colors to warn people of danger (it is why it is common to see construction vehicles on Earth are those colors - they mimic bees and other dangerous animals).

    SMV-AsteroidGrinder-3e2.jpg
     
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  6. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental

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    What size asteroids will be handled by what methods? What if a net can surround the entire asteroid? Then set off explosives inserted down holes drilled into the mass. Break it up into smaller pieces than sort the pieces on the basis of the value of the content. Leave the rock in the net, pull out the valuable metals.

    But it may be entirely done by autonomous robots, or remotely with the pilot(s) safely in a nearby ship using radio control. We should be prospecting the Moon with robot pilots on Earth.

    psik
     
  7. AlexanderSen

    AlexanderSen Cosmic Ghost

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    Of course like IRL there are different vehicles for different purposes. The a range of vehicles with a shovel, from the 800-900 tonne giant Striping Shovel Excavators to the small 1tonne Bobcat Compact Excavators, are all viable in their respective roles. In a free market there are different products on the market to suit different demands. I am only presenting a few ideas with my work, but there are a lot more possibilities that could also be viable.

    I'll try to do some SMVs with robots next(after I finish what I am working on presently, some space cargo transports), but in the mean time, here is another manned SMV/SCV(Space Construction Vehicle) this time with a grapple arm and a laser torch arm for wielding and cutting. :D

    SCV-ClawWielderLaserTorch-2.jpg
     
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  8. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental

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    This is the problem with science fiction versus science fiction. Some authors imagine things that are "cool" but totally unrealistic and some design things that are realistically practical but regarded as "boring" by others. Lots of people say Robinson's Red Mars is boring.
     
  9. dannymcg

    dannymcg Yan Tan Tethera

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    Is there some tech firm making robot pilots now?
    Cool!
    Something a bit more developed than an Amazon drone then?
     
  10. Lumens

    Lumens Lesser Known Member

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    I like these. :)

    Also, you would want to drill into an asteroid instead of blowing it up, if you intend to stay inside it. Could be useful as protection from radiation.
     
  11. AlexanderSen

    AlexanderSen Cosmic Ghost

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    I was working on some Space Cargo Vehicles but they seem quite generic, probably because most cargo haulers are quite simple - there are only so many ways you can carry stuff in a container. Although simple, it was interesting thinking and studying about space cargo containers. I learned that gas containers are round or cylindrical to prevent pressure from forming in a corner. When filling gases up in containers with sharp corners pressure builds up and breaks through the weak point of the sharper angles, thus rupturing. So liquid and gas containers have rounded corners but to get the best use of space a square is better at maximizing carrying area. Triangles are the most stable when placed with on of the points facing up, but is somewhat awkward in area for placing things and has a lot less carrying area compared to boxes and cylinders.

    Also another question is how would we get the load into the so container? There is little to no gravity in space thus just dumping dirt wouldn't work because it would just float away. I thought maybe we could use a vacuum of some sort, but as I read up on vacuums it seems that might also have challenges. A vacuum is made from a fan which creates a vacuum from the displacement in the air thus creating suction, but space itself is a vacuum and there is no air in space so vacuums probably wouldn't work very well.

    While I am still pondering on how to design an interesting yet believable shipping container ship, in the meantime, I have uploaded some thumbnail sketches of different Space Refineries designs that I have done for people to enjoy. I have some Mobile Space Refineries (why haul all that load around when you can move the refinery close to the point of extraction?) as well as some static refineries built on asteroids and or as orbital satellites. I imagine that the vehicles would be covered with pipes and other machinery that would be used for distilling the gases and minerals.

    SMV-MobileRefinery-2.jpg
     
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