Asteroid Water Extractor

Asteroid Water Extractor

Water is essential to human spaceflight missions. It is an immensely valuable resource to sustain astronauts, and as a building block for rocket fuel or other valuable compounds. Autonomously harvesting water from asteroids, however, is a nontrivial process for space mining technology.

Designed for a mission to water-rich asteroids, Honeybee Robotics’ Asteroid Water Extractor drills and acquires icy soil samples, extracts the water for later use, and disposes dry soil to prepare for another round of sample collection. The architecture enables each drill to generate significant down-force in the absence of gravity. The system could be used as a pre-mining surveying technology or as a mining platform on its own.

We designed the Asteroid Water Extractor to be resilient, with multiple systems integrated into spacecraft lander legs provide higher processing volume and system redundancy. The system provides a combination of low mass and strength to drill into tough icy and mineral composites that can be as hard as concrete.

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