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Green Cheese! (was Moon Patrol!) Thursday

Posted by James Dubois in Luna, Tech.

Hi friends. Never got around to posting this before the whoops. So here’s a blast from my recent past…

Just found out that Jayesh and I will have a chance to meet in the near future. He’s going to give some InfraCorp directors a look at the latest key prototypes on Luna and I insinuated myself into the trip by suggesting I go with them for some training and research. I’ll be working with Gerrit Technologies’ engineering team on some new techniques for regolith excavation (non geek speak: lunar mining).

We already have planetary mining equipment to harvest regolith (for oxygen extraction and to create lunar concrete for construction) but to do this in a zero-g environment in, say, an asteroid field, is daunting. You try hurling a hundred-million dollars worth of robotic mining rig at a giant, spinning rock moving at around 25 km/second! Anyway, we’re going to try and Frankenstein a deep space probe with a mining robot and see what we can do with the combination. We’ll run two tests. The first run is going to use some kind of telepresence rig with a human operator. The second is to run a pre-programmed sequence aboard the drone based on our analysis of the landing site and the surface topography and see what we can pull out of the surface (150 kg is the target). CHOIRS is going to need mega-tons of material for the radiation shielding alone, and because of the distances involved all that stuff will have to be excavated, processed and formed on-site in orbit without much in the way of human intervention. Liberty and Agra were astounding accomplishments but CHOIRS, in both size and scope, is in a league of its own.

Lots of work to do, not enough time to do it so I’m going to take off. Hersh out!



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