In the Future Minerals Might be Extracted from Materials Outside Planet Earth

Huld is part of a purely Czech consortium consisting of research institutions and companies lead by SAB Aerospace. Due to that Huld is going to take part in an ambitious project which will map non-renewable resources in space.

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The consortium won a tender of European Space Agency (ESA) to conduct a project that shall set the basis for future asteroid mining missions. The mission that Huld’s Czech team is going to be involved in is called SLAVIA (Space Laboratory for Advanced Variable Instruments and Applications).

Is Asteroid Mining the Future?

The main idea of the mission assumes that in the future, minerals will also be extracted and possibly processed from materials outside planet Earth. Therefore, Czech scientists and engineers will first focus on mapping the source of raw materials. Such a task is very challenging because to map natural resources systematically in space, a significant number of objects need to be explored. Asteroids are at the forefront of interest, with over half a million already discovered, but with very limited information on their composition and origin.

The team will send two satellites of about 20 kg each into orbit, each containing a trio of scientific instruments: a hyperspectral camera, a radio antenna for analyzing the composition of meteor plasma and a mass spectrometer for studying the composition of interplanetary dust. These instruments will mainly observe fragments of asteroids (or interplanetary matter in general) that enter our atmosphere.

Data Processing onboard

SLAVIA project uses a unique method of processing scientific data. This so-called onboard data processing means that data is collected continuously and an algorithm onboard of the satellite automatically selects valuable data for the scientist. This functionality significantly reduces the cost of the data link and increases efficiency of ground processing.

The consortium is having an approximately 12-month phase, when the feasibility studies will be carried out. Based on outcomes of the feasibility study there will be a follow-up project implementing the proposed solution. Therefore, we can expect that the usable data for future mining mission will be available within 5 years from now.

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Marek Sedláček, marek.sedlacek@huld.io, Software Engineer, Huld