dISRUpting resource acquisition on this planet and the next.
We stand on the cusp of a new revolution, one where early innovators of commercial space will capitalize on new technological advances, meet material demands to create environmental sustainability, and build spacecraft to transport populations into orbit that drive the exploration, exploitation, and habitation of our solar system.
Our greatest limitations to advancing into space exploration are the high cost of launching heavy essential materials and heavy payloads from Earth. The ability to extract raw materials, oxygen, and water would form the base of this infrastructure and processing these resources at an advanced space exploration site into useful products such as propellants, breathable oxygen, and power system consumables is known as In-Situ Resource Utilization or ISRU, and has the potential to significantly disrupt terrestrial mining providing green and robotic operations while opening vast opportunities in space generating the essential oxygen, water, fuel, and energy infrastructure.
The present ISRU system architecture encapsulates the entire mining operations processes of excavation, hoisting, comminution, beneficiation, concentration, processing, and additive manufacturing, into a single payload.
- EXCAVATION: Bucket drum, Barrel drum, Drag-line, Bore-head Tunneling, Ultrasonic Drill.
- HOISTING: Articulated Arms Butted Box Hoist, Chevron Pipe Belt Conveyor, Bucket ladder.
- COMMINUTION: Ball and Rod Mill, Limestone Shot, Gyratory, Jaw, and Impact Crushers.
- BENEFICIATION: Electrostatic, Electromagnetic mixed particle classification and separation.
- CONCENTRATION: Para- Dia- Ferro-magnetic separation and storage.
- PROCESSING: Molten Oxide Electrolysis, Electrostatic Levitation, Oxyhydrogen Pyro metallic Ovens
- ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING: Laser Sintering, Microwave, Dry Powder / Pellet.
Our patented process “ROVER SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR IN-SITU RESOURCE UTILIZATION” illustrates some of the various sub-systems employed to accomplish each of the processes of mining operations and the preferred order of such processes are performed atop the rover system that excavates mixed-minerals particles from the lunar surface with an in-situ resource utilization payload capable of manufacturing a lunar-derived product.
When building equipment to survive the harsh and remote environment of space to perform non-stop continuous excavation operations in a cryogenic -270 C frozen shadowed lunar crater in micro gravity, and to engineer a reliable and durable system to operate for years remotely from Earth without system failure, will require extreme testing conditions.
“If it doesn’t work here, it won’t work there.”– Kevin DuPriest, CEO Planetoid Mines
Many of the space systems required to extract and process resources are designed to operate in space under tight environmental constraints. We have discovered during field testing that most of our technology have application on Earth and specifically within the mining industry. Two subsystems, “Benny and the Jets” and our SOFC Dry Roaster, provide green mining operations with mineral beneficiation at the wall face to yield 95% ore concentrate with 100% waste left below, and provides remediation of contaminated wastewater where it is steamed into our solid oxide electrolysis cell for hydrogen / oxygen generation and reversed to generate energy. Designed to eliminate stockpiling waste minerals and recycle clean water into the mining operation.
Space mining is a visionary endeavor, in itself the first step towards the development of a much larger and more complex space economy. Space mining resources are necessary not only in preserving human life already present on Earth, but also in providing the means for humanity to become an on-off world species, living and working in space.
Many companies that played a crucial role on the path to space mining—including Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries, and Aten Engineering—have folded due to lack of funding from investors and little vision of technology. Because space resource start-ups will likely not generate revenue for years or do not have a concrete exit strategy, there have not been sufficient quantities of investors to provide the necessary funding for serious development. Space mining projects require truly visionary investors, who prioritize the long-term outcome of the project over making a return. While some did pay some consideration to space mining in the early 2010s, very few investors are still involved in funding projects related to space resources. Until recently there was no market for space-derived resources, the current $22,000/kg cost regardless the material was acceptable.
According to NASA’s Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture 2020 in forecasting the requirements for Artemis missions, they establish a space resource economy for lunar-derived resources by 2024:
- Lunar Rocks – $10K each (just a photo and description)
- Water – 2,450 metric ton at $2.4B/yr.
- Oxygen – 450 metric ton @ $36,000/kg
- Propellant – 100 metric ton @ $8,000/kg
Minerals such as natural iron, titanium, aluminum and trace particles are mixed throughout the regolith with varied concentrations in locations ideal for mining operations. The lunar South Pole has the largest concentration of oxygen rich minerals and icy regolith and is the landing target for most space agencies and private ventures.
Innovation take perseverance
In 2013, Mr. Du Priest began a deep dive analysis into NASA and JPL datasets to engineer a planetary defense strategy. NASA had developed then abandoned the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) that was studied and modified to work within our mission objective. The technology was developing at a pace to set the mission in motion near 2030, however micro gravity excavation and ISRU technology did not exist.
In 2019 Planetoid Mines was formed to focus on engineering mining equipment to operate in space and has engineered 15 unique systems in a process called In-Situ Resource Utilization or ISRU, to operate efficiently in space and to dISRUpt terrestrial mining on Earth.
As Planetoid Mines engineers innovative space systems architecture and solutions to endure and survive long remote mining missions, we can’t do it alone. We currently have need in the following areas:
- Fabrication Rapid Prototyping Laboratory – open to Joint Venture Partnership
- Access to a large format 3D printer for metal and carbide parts.
- 3-axis CNC machines, computer-controlled subtractive milling and turning machines
- Printed circuit board milling or etching high precision milling in pre-clad copper boards
- Microprocessor and digital electronics design, assembly, and test workstations
- Cutters, for sheet material: laser welder, plasma cutter, water jet cutter
- Assembly Warehouse
- ~10,000 to 20,000 sq ft open floor high ceiling secure warehouse.
- Full-time Employees
- Robotic / Electrical Engineer
- Robotic Software Programmer
- Angel Investor
- Visionary early-stage partner to support our short-term deliverables.
- Long term ROI, mining, energy, construction market penetration.