SSI Space Manufacturing 14: Robotics and Space Manufacturing

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Robotics and Space Manufacturing Session

Lee Valentine, Space Studies Institute (Moderator)

Mitchell Weiss, Seegrid Corp.
“Application of Visually Guided, Autonomous Robots to Space Mining and Construction”

Greg Baiden, Laurentian University, Penguin Automated Systems
“Lunar Mining: Taking the Best of Terrestrial Mining and Fitting it on the Moon”


Mitchell Weiss, Seegrid Corp.
“Application of Visually Guided, Autonomous Robots to Space Mining and Construction”

–  Seegrid is a spinoff of Carnegie Mellon that specializes in autonomous robots
– Industrial mobile robot that has everything onboard
– Try to follow Moore’s Law down the curve
– Takes about $3 an hour to operate a truck, but another $25 an hour for the human to guide it (In Europe, it’s about $40 an hour)
– autonomous robots do pretty well in warehouses
– get pictures from satellites from radar and photos…will run those pictures through a system that will allow for autonomous operations for mining by creating 3-D models of the area

Greg Baiden, Laurentian University, Penguin Automated Systems
“Lunar Mining: Taking the Best of Terrestrial Mining and Fitting it on the Moon”

– 3 years ago, CSA came to him asking how to put a mine on the moon
– Canadians (and Scandinavians) are really really good at mining stuff
– to be profitable, need materials in mass…not small amounts of things..
– galactic cosmic radiation is a show stopper
– 80 cm of regolith maximizes production of secondary radiation particles
– need at least 2 meters of regolith cover to protect miners
– study looked at what could be done with subsurface habitation and do it simply (four pieces of equipment)
– mechanical cutting of rock requires gravity — a lot of gravity to do it on a large scale — unless you intend to blast it
– mining industry doesn’t work in parts per million or billion…work in percentages — perhaps 3 percent of material processed will be useful ore
– shows video of automated cargo vehicle — went into production in early 1990s…70 ton vehicle that moved 70 ton loads — loaded tele-operationally and then drives autonomously
– Telemining – Technology of robotics and information age to change the face of mining
– Miners use gravity to their advantage every day….
– On Earth, drill tunnels under areas you want to mine and then undercut it with explosives…The material falls and can be loaded into tele-remote operated equipment…
– Lower gravity on the moon (1/6 gravity) and other extraterrestrial bodies make it more complicated…
– Telemining operations puts more people in safe places above ground…