Design And Preliminary Testing Of Low-Energy Planetary Excavator - Preprint 09-134
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2009
Development of a permanent human base on the Moon for exploration requires a self sustaining system. This entails production and processing of limited amounts of raw material on the Moon. Any mining and construction activities on the Moon can only be performed by a robust excavation machine that can excavate a variety of material from loose surface regolith to consolidated (frozen) regolith with embedded rocks in the mixture. Meanwhile, limited amount of information on lunar regolith is available to develop and optimize a machine for given lunar ground conditions. Therefore, any excavator designed for use on the lunar surface should have the ability to adapt to a wide range of operating conditions. A prototype cutterhead for the lunar excavator was built and tested at the Kennametal facility in Latrobe PA A. This paper discusses the results of initial material characterization as well as full scale tests of a prototype cutterhead inrelevent material. A brief review of anticipated production rates under various assumed ground conditions will also be presented.