Minerals from space: Terrestrial and extra-Terrestrial perspectives

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Sustaining activities in space requires the ability to produce commodities from the natural resources there. This begins with exploration and proceeds through mining and processing to manufacturing. Successful in situ resource utilization (ISRU) will depend on the body of knowledge gained from millennia of terrestrial mining experience as well as aerospace engineering. Mineral production entails a sequence of operations to separate the desired material from all other material, passing it on in a form appropriate for manufacturing. Designing this process requires specific knowledge of the available technologies and their constraints in the working environment, so appropriate design choices can be made. This paper examines some potential approaches to translating terrestrial mining and processing experience to space locales.

Publication Title

Earth and Space 2018: Engineering for Extreme Environments - Proceedings of the 16th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments