space.com1The scientists working on the concept envision launching a small probe that DSI is developing, called Mothership, out to a promising near-Earth asteroid in deep space. Mothership would be carrying a number of tiny CubeSats, one of which would deploy and spiral down to the asteroid’s surface.

The CubeSat would then inject into the asteroid a low-temperature fluid laden with bacteria, which would propagate through cracks and fissures generated by the injection process. Over time, the microbes — genetically engineered to process metals efficiently — would break down harmful compounds within the asteroid and/or transform resources into different chemical states that are more amenable to extraction.

This work would be slow, but the bacteria would be doing it for free (after the initial expenditure of getting them out to the asteroid, of course).

“The use of self-sustaining biomining mitigates the need for sustained docking, anchoring, drilling, processing or other technically challenging traditional mining approaches,” Grace and his colleagues wrote in a poster they presented at AGU. “If shown to function, the use of life to preprocess valuable deep-space resources could change the economic practicality of a large range of human activity in space.”

This article originally appeared on Space.com.  To view the original article, please click here.

 

News from Deep Space:

Deep Space Industries Secures NASA Aerobrake Funding

The NIAC grant will research the manufacturing of an aerobrake system from the asteroid’s regolith (soil) collected from mining operations. The aerobrake system would act as a large heat shield that would allow the spacecraft to pass through Earth’s atmosphere, creating enough drag to slow down the payload without using propellant. Read More…

Bill Miller, Veteran Start-Up Strategist, Joins DSI as Chief Executive Officer

Deep Space Industries is excited to announce that Bill Miller will be joining the company as Chief Executive Officer to position DSI for rapid growth in the coming years. With an impeccable track record of growing technology companies, Bill brings game-changing approaches, solutions, and perspectives to DSI through his experience in defining, developing, and delivering results for dynamic organizations. Read More…

Prospector-X, Prospector-1, and Comet-1 are trademarks of Deep Space Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Share this page:

Pin It on Pinterest