Data_Sheet_1_Stability of a Rotating Asteroid Housing a Space (236.65 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_Stability of a Rotating Asteroid Housing a Space

Download (236.65 kB)
posted on 22.05.2019 by Thomas I. Maindl, Roman Miksch, Birgit Loibnegger

Today there are numerous studies on asteroid mining. They elaborate on selecting the right objects, prospecting missions, potential asteroid redirection, and the mining process itself. For economic reasons, most studies focus on mining candidates in the 100–500 m size-range. Also, suggestions regarding the design and implementation of space stations or even colonies inside the caverns of mined asteroids exist. Caverns provide the advantages of confined material in near-zero gravity during mining and later the hull will shield the inside from radiation. Existing studies focus on creating the necessary artificial gravity by rotating structures that are built inside the asteroid. Here, we assume the entire mined asteroid to rotate at a sufficient rate for artificial gravity and investigate its use for housing a habitat inside. In this study we present how to estimate the necessary spin rate assuming a cylindrical space station inside a mined asteroid and discuss the implications arising from substantial material stress given the required rotation rate. We estimate the required material strength using two relatively simple analytical models and discuss applicability to rocky near-Earth asteroids.