Atmospheric mining is the process of extracting valuable materials or other non-renewable resources from the atmosphere. Due to the abundance of hydrogen and helium in the outer planets of the Solar System, atmospheric mining may be easier than mining terrestrial surfaces.
History of atmospheric mining
Atmospheric mining of outer planets has not yet begun.
Types of atmospheric mining
Exploration for atmospheric mining
Hydrogen and helium are abundant in outer planets.
Methods of atmospheric mining
An aerostat would be a buoyant station in the atmosphere that gathers and stores gases. A vehicle would transfer the gases from the aerostat to an orbital station above the planet.
A scooper would be a vehicle that gathers and transfers gases from the atmosphere to an orbital station.
A cruiser would be a vehicle in the atmosphere that gathers and stores gases. A smaller vehicle would transfer the gases from the cruiser to an orbital station.
- Palaszweski, Bryan (October 2006). "Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System" (PDF). http://gltrs.grc.nasa.gov. Cleveland, Ohio 44135-3191: National Aeronautics and Space Administration John H. Glenn Center at Lewis Field. Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2013.