Thursday, September 22, 2011

(in work)HABITATS CAN EXTRACT ELEMENTS from the Gas Giant Region

Future habitats might well occupy orbits 
too far from Sol for sunlight 
to be a viable energy source.  
These habitats might use fusion reactors 
fueled with Helium-3 (3He) 
mined from the gas giants. 

BACKGROUND: Atmospheres of the Outer Planets
Sheer abundance of gases and their locations make the gas giants good way stations beyond Mars.
TABLE I. Atmospheric Gases
by volume percentage (%)
C H4
Uranus 82.5%15.2%2.3%1.0%
Fuel for Propulsion Systems
Hydrogen and methane are excellent fuels for chemical rockets for travel to/from the local moons. Also, hydrogen can power both fission and fusion rockets. ³He is an excellent fusion reactor fuel to power internal systems.
Why Mine There?
Mining operators could gather many metric Tonnes (mTs) of fusion fuel.  ³He is an attractive candidate.  The ³He-³He fusion process emits no neutrons (aneutronic). This eliminates neutron radiation to greatly extend the life of the vessel's fusion reactors.
BACKGROUND:  Mining gas giants for 3He has been widely studied for many yearsEXAMPLE: More than 50 years ago, the British Interplanetary Society proposed a Project Daedalus interstellar probe, fueled by 3He from the atmosphere of Jupiter. Further study has caused many scientists to also consider extracting 3He from the other gas giants because Jovian gravity might prove problematic. (see excellent paper by Bryan Palaszewski)).

Daedalus project used an unmanned spacecraft  to go one-way to Barnard's Star. At an average speed of 0.15c  (15% light speed), the vessel would take about 50 years to travel the 6 light years distance. Before starting the long journey, the vessel would need a lengthy stay in orbit around a gas giant. 
BACKGROUND: Atmospheric Mining Concepts for Gas Giants
AEROBOT could drift through atmospheres of Jupiter and other gas giants.  It could launch video probes to the surface to record images in various wavelengths.

On-board robot could gather gas samples, analyze them, and send results to orbiting habitats.
Aerostat Vehicle could persist in the atmosphere to continually process atmospheric gases.

Aerostat will periodically transfer the final product to nearby habitat either orbiting the planet or one of its moons.
Scooper “scoops” a portion of the planet’s atmosphere inside the vehicle for later processing.

After hundreds of missions, the scooper may show considerable strain from icy particles and potentially reactive materials (hydrogen, methane, etc.).
Cruiser gathers atmospheric gases as it flies in the atmosphere for an extended period.

To deploy many cruisers, in-situ manufacture and assembly of parts as well as vehicle maintenance may prove essential.
Atmospheric mining devices  can send their products into orbit to rendezvous with an orbiting habitat.
TE PROPOSES Space Tugs and Habitats 
to transport equipment and/or payloads among celestial objects among the gas giants as well as the inner Solar System.
On habitats, thousands of humans can enjoy all the comforts of Mother Earth such as: gravity simulated by spinning hull's centrifugal force, energy via ³He fusion reactors, on-board water supply for many uses, terraformed interior for plentiful flora and fauna.  Habitats can even use in situ materials to expand their size or even replicate other habitats.

For mining operations, these huge cylindrical habitats have plenty of volume to manufacture and/or transport numerous devices to mine the gas giants.

After successful orbit change, space tug will likely separate to support other habitats; these might be orbiting same planet or even orbiting moons around same planet.  Tugs will transport habitats and payloads to/from all the gas giants.
Mining Challenges
  • Access Energy.  "Delta V" required to closely approach any gas giant for atmospheric access and return can be quite high.
  • Radiation.  These planets typically have powerful magnetic fields; thus, the vehicle will need heavy shielding to block radiation.  This added mass will further increase energy requirements.
  • Atmospheric Wind Speeds. Gas giant atmospheres have very high wind speeds and wind shears. Given the typical lightweight nature of aerospace vehicles, the predictability of wind speed in the atmosphere will impact the factory design of the related aeronautical vehicles.
    • Jupiter and Saturn have intense wind shears;  thus, stresses may be too much for a conventional aerostat ("balloon"). Jupiter and Saturn will likely need an aggressive aerodynamic option such as high speed cruisers. 
    • Uranus and Neptune probably have calmer wind profiles. Due to more predictable atmospheric conditions and wind speeds, mining with aerostat borne stations seems more practical.
Mining the atmospheres of the outer planets will prove essential. Using specialized factories, the energy of hydrogen, helium, and helium 3 gases can power nuclear fusion propulsion systems.
Many issues complicate the harvesting of these valuable resources. The dynamics of the atmosphere, radiation, and the energy for orbital transfer all call for very energetic and reliable propulsion systems to allow for rapid, reliable, and repetitive visits to the planets and their moons. For example, more predictable atmospheric conditions at Uranus make mining with aerostat borne stations more applicable for use there, while more dynamic winds at Jupiter require more aggressive aerodynamic options (high speed cruiser aircraft).
The numerous maneuvers and extended vehicle lifetimes required for wresting the resources from the outer planets will likely lead through a learning curve. Mining of outer planet moons, especially if water is detected there, will be an excellent option. Initial experiments to prove the efficacy and lifetime of atmospheric scoopers need to be conducted before committing to such ambitious vehicles.
These are great possibilities for human exploration throughout and beyond the solar system. Effective harvesting of these resources will control the timetables for human exploration. Indeed, the outer planets' resources will lead to the stars.

Google "mining gas giants" yields 821,000 results.
First 20 links are below.

Atmospheric mining - Wikipedia

Atmospheric mining is the process of extracting valuable materials or other non-renewable resources from the atmosphere. Due to the abundance of hydrogen and helium in the outer planets of the Solar System, atmospheric mining may ... A Thought Experiment: Mining Gas Giants for Helium-3 · Crowlspace | Outer Planet ...

Which gas giant of the solar system could humanity mine and for what ...

Dec 8, 2016 - Anyone trying to mine 3He from the atmosphere of Jupiter will be battling .... All gas giantsare good sources of hydrogen because the closest ...

Mining the Gas Giants: How to Maximize Profit? | Eclipse Phase › Forums › General Discussion

Jan 11, 2013 - 19 posts - ‎5 authors
Here's the thing: The gas giant closest to the Inner System (Jupiter) is also the ... Getting to orbit from "mining height" should require roughly the ...

[PDF]Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System - NASA Technical ...

by BA Palaszewski - ‎2014 - ‎Cited by 3 - ‎Related articles
the excess hydrogen or helium 4 may be designed to probe the higher density regions of the gas giants. Outer planet atmospheric properties, atmospheric storm ...

Project Icarus: The Gas Mines of Uranus : Discovery News - Seeker

May 31, 2011 - Guest contributor Adam Crowl looks at the fuel required for an interstellar trip and finds agas giant with huge mining potential. Project Icarus is ...

A Thought Experiment: Mining Operations

Sep 22, 2011 - These habitats might use Helium-3 (3He) mined from the gas giants. Mining gas giantsfor 3He has been widely studied for many years.

Mining the Gas Giants – Crowlspace

Feb 10, 2008 - Mining the Gas Giants. Helium-3 is often seen as a profitable material to “mine” the Lunar regolith for – it's a potential fusion fuel, but currently a ...

Starship Fuel from the Outer System - Centauri Dreams

Jun 1, 2011 - That leads us back to the gas giants — Project Daedalus focused on Jupiter for helium-3 extraction, conceiving of a giant mining operation ...

How would we extract resources from gas giants? - Quora

It wouldn't be practical for any Earth based industrial application. With the current space ... Since theseplanets have extreme atmospheric pressure and crazy storm systems, the mining machinery would need to be set up in floating aerostats ...

Mining a gas giant - Orbiter-Forum

Apr 26, 2011 - Lately I've been wondering about 'mining' hydrogen, as well as other gases, from the atmosphere of a gas giant. My vague idea would be some ...

Could we use gas giants as resources and mine them for energy ...

Dec 7, 2014 - 9 posts - ‎7 authors
Could we use gas giants as resources and mine them for energy?

Space Engineers Planet Hype: Gas Giants - YouTube

Jul 2, 2015 - Uploaded by Xocliw
Personally, I would love to see gas giants (along with other wonders/dangers of .... I want to be able to mine gas ...

Mining - AuroraWiki

Apr 10, 2016 - Mining in Aurora refers to the extraction of TN Minerals. Mining ... Minerals can be found on Asteroids, Comets, Moons, Gas Giants and Planets.

Sorium Harvester - AuroraWiki

Apr 6, 2016 - Once stationed at a pre-surveyed Gas Giant or Super Jovian with ... need to give the ships any special orders, just place them at the mining site.

Mining Gas Giants for Special Liquids. · Issue #387 · zmaster587 ...

Space mod for minecraft. Contribute to AdvancedRocketry development by creating an account on GitHub.

Space-Mining For Our Fastest Depleting Resource: Helium

Sep 17, 2013 - Mining gas giants for helium has been proposed in a NASA memorandum on the topic [8] which have also have great abundance of this gas, ...

Mining Gas Giants | Star Frontiers

In many sci-fi books, movies, and even games; the idea of having a gas giant as an unlimited source for fuel is always there. Using the hydrogen gas of the ...

Uranus: One Planetary System To Fuel Them All? | Colony Worlds

Nov 26, 2008 - Although other gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn also have an ... their deep gravity wells and strong winds would make mining the ...

Atmospheric Mining and Our Gas Giants: Best Option? [Archive ...

Jun 2, 2015 - 12 posts - ‎8 authors
Just thinking out loud here: which of our solar system's four gas giants would, in your view, be a more suitable target for mining fuel (e.g. ..
In-Situ Resources
Thus, mining the outer solar system will present great opportunities for many enterprises. Launching and transporting required materials from Earth will always be an expensive activity and would make such enterprises untenable. Thus, “in situ” resources will be leveraged to the max. Large reserves of atmospheric gases in the outer planets are an excellent resource for fuels and other life sustaining gases.
The terrestrial like moons which orbit the outer gas planets can also provide essential resources for life support and construction.  Several might have subsurface oceans; some have magnetic fields (which indicate fluid iron); and many have rocky cores.  All prime candidates for mining enterprises.
Many decades of research have focused on using the natural resources of the solar system to allow sustainable human exploration and exploitation of the environments of the planets and the Sun. Everything from preliminary experiments in propellant production to creation of human colonies in space has been proposed. Studies have shown the outer planets can provide the rich resources for interstellar exploration
As human habitats start exploration in the outer solar system, the travel time and other natural hazards (planetary radiation belts, solar coronal mass ejections, etc.) will create new challenges for the explorers. In-situ resources will likely provide radiation shielding with rock and water from the moons.
SUMMARY: Space Tug Pushes Habitats to Gas Giants and Beyond
Too far from Sol to subsist solely on sunlight, habitat power will mainly use  ³He-³He fusion process.

While main mission is mining ³He from gas giants, there are plenty of solid asteroids among the Trojans, Centaurs, and other asteroid families.

Projected trip time and fuel requirements.
Positions of known outer Solar System objects.  
The Centaurs lie generally inwards of the Kuiper belt and outside the Jupiter trojans.
● Giant planetsJ · S · U · N● Sun
● Centaurs (44,000)●  Jupiter trojans (6,178)
● Kuiper belt (>1,000)● Scattered disc (>300)


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