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Atmospheric mining links
In this thread I'll collect a few links about the concept of atmospheric scoop-mining, with a view to making our current article a bit more realistic.  I might add a new image or two; the current one is a bit too... imaginative to be taken seriously.

Atmospheric scoop mining links - these are mostly about solar-powered scoops, which can collect enough power to remain operative continuously.
Mining Atmospheres -
An overview of atmospheric scooping research -
PROFAC-  PRopulsive Fluid ACcumulator, - a fusion-powered concept that needs to be supplied with fuel.

Any more?

An image of a scoopship from the wiki page. This design should net about 1 kg per m^2 of crossection per day - not much, but it could so this continuously until it needs servicing, as it collects its own propellant and power.
[Image: 600px-Scoop_Miner_Concept.png]
Scoopmining a gas giant would also allow the collected atmosphere to be used as fusion fuel, allowing much a greater thrust and quicker collection rates. But I haven't found any links about research into this concept yet, apart from PROFAC, which doesn't mention collection. A scoop fitted with conversion drive would be very useful for collecting atmospheric resources - but the limit would then be how fast the collected gas could be cooled down. Conversion-drive scoopships would be long and thin, with large radiative surfaces in the shadow of the scoop mouth.
I might have an article in a back issue of one of my Analog magazines. Now the trick is to find it...

I'm likely to be too busy to dig around this weekend, but will aim to find some time in the near future and see if I can locate this.


A fusion or conversion-drive scoopship might look a little like this. Note there are two sets of radiators; one for the drive and one for the funnel.

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I'm not very happy with the image in that last post, so I've made a new one. I'll write an article to go with this new image, and maybe add a few older images as well. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, or links to the real-life concept. please post them in this thread.

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This older image could be included, although it shows a slightly more advanced version;
[Image: venussky2.jpg]

and maybe a mention of SunMining, which uses slightly different technology to harvest material from stars
[Image: sunminer1.jpg]
Neat new image!

Also, in terms of links, a bit of googling turned up the following:

Atmospheric Mining - Wikipedia: Has a few additional links at the bottom including a NASA paper.

Atmospheric Mining in the Outer System - PDF - another NASA paper

Gas mining on Uranus

Centauri Dreams article/entry

Mining the Gas Giants - article by Adam Crowley

Hope this helps,

One idea I've come across is atmosphere mining using trawler-like scoops; these can be suspended by tethers from orbiting craft, or (as here) from orbital rings.

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Yuppers - a sufficiently powered orbital ring would let you drop skyhooks down into the atmosphere - even on a gas giant probably - and just pump atmosphere into space where it could be compressed, packaged, and launched elsewhere using the ring. As long as you kept feed energy into the ring, you could keep this up more or less indefinitely (although I suppose if you sucked up the entire planet that would put a dent in your operationsWink).

Really? Nobody's made a "Megamaid" Spaceballs joke...?

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