Lecturer: Sennersten and Lindley (CSIRO)
Date: 2019-10-15 10:00
Place: Aulan

Australia space programme and asteroid mining

Dr. Charlotte Sennersten and
Dr. Craig Lindley
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

The CSIRO Space FSP Asteroid project (Craig Lindley)
It is critical for the ongoing development of off-Earth resource utilisation to have systematic scientific and engineering methods and quantitative data to minimise risk and justify financial investment in off-Earth resource projects. At a broad level, this amounts to the need for a comprehensive high-level framework for Mineral Economics for Off-Earth Resources (MEOER). A novel framework is presented that is derived from the terrestrial mining and minerals industry, adapted for application to off-Earth mining and resource utilisation. The framework captures essential stages and activities of an Off-Earth Mining Cycle that begins with Market Analysis and then proceeds through the steps of: Prospecting, Resource Modelling and Analytics, Logistics with an emphasis upon Orbital and Trajectory analysis, Monetisation and Business Modelling and planning, Mining and Mineral Processing Design, Mine Development, and Mine Operation. The cycle is contextualised by facilitating hardware and software technologies on one hand, and legal and social factors on the other. Progressing through these topics represents an increasing understanding of the nature of a particular resource, its potential for commercial utilisation, and increasing understanding of levels of risk in support of decisions about commercial investment in a proposed off-Earth mining project.
A core element of the MEOER framework is a detailed model of the nature of the asteroid as a resource, undertaken in the Resource Modelling and Analytics activity. This is exemplified by considering the small Near-Earth Orbiting (NEO) asteroid Bennu, with water as the primary target of mining. Terrestrial resource block models are three dimensional Cartesian models of a mineral deposit, voxellised into shape units with associated attributes such as metal grades and density that provide the foundations for economic and operational planning of mining activity. The methods used for terrestrial resource modelling must be heavily adapted for use with asteroids. Low gravity, fast rotation, different material properties and their results, and the impact of material extraction on large scale properties of the asteroid mean that the nature and distribution of many properties of an asteroid body are very different from those of terrestrial resource models, and different forms of analysis are required in order to understand properties of the object relevant to material extraction methods. These factors, together with the position of the asteroid/mine in space and its orbital elements, provide critical inputs to utilisation design and costing.
Asteroid Resource Models and analysis methods are being implemented in a modelling, simulation and interactive 3D visualisation tool.

Bio for Craig:
Craig Lindley is a computer scientist who competed his PhD on the topic of spacecraft
Autonomy. He has worked on many collaborative industry applied AI a d EU projects, and has also
worked in Sweden as a professor in interactive 3D visualisation and simulation systems. He
spent 5 years running an R&D lab in CSIRO in Australia before returning to a research role
working on digital twin technologies for mineral deposit modelling. He is currently running
a project on asteroid resource modelling, applying 3D modelling, analytics and physics
simulation to asteroids.

The CSIRO Technology Platform VoxelNET project (Charlotte Sennersten)
VoxelNET is a software system for quantifying the Earth and the Solar system bodies in equal quantifiable volumetric units for the purpose of creating a computational infrastructure where data can be accessed and queried in an intuitive and useful way. In the mining context as well as in aviation and space operation, lots of data is created and pumping through the system where measurements and engineering data needs to be tracked, located and recalled/used for various reasons. VoxelNET aims to support Volumetric GeoLocation Data Management where an interoperable awareness can be created and where sensor information such as optical sensor information can be displayed and recalled when needed for robotics and services.
In the mining context the Block Model encapsulates the orebody and it sits as the heart of the mining operation. VoxelNET breaks up the Block Model and extends it beyond the orebody so it can incorporate additional data and update the global context of the operation to create a living organism, a global intelligence instead of just having a local focus.
VoxelNET is implemented as a Client, DataBase and Cloud solution needing additional development to be able to grow to the Internet Standard it could serve as. CSIRO in Australia is behind the WiFi technology and VoxelNET could possibly be a next Tech Standard over time.

Bio for Charlotte:
Charlotte Sennersten is a computer scientist and cognitive scientist who
has worked as a senior lecturer for many years in Sweden before moving to Australia in 2013.
Her PhD research was an investigation of 3D attention in interactive 3D systems. During her
time in Australia she has developed a 3D internet technology platform and global indexing
system that has been used for modelling underground mineral systems, mines, UAV traffic
management (e.g. in cities), and, most recently, asteroids.

Created 2019-10-03 16:25:51 by Mats Holmström
Last changed 2019-10-15 10:13:55 by Mats Holmström