Attached to the opposite sides of the Prospector rover, is a counter-rotating dual bucket chain excavator with rock ripping steel claws constantly excavating into the soil to consistently excavate a 3 meter wide hole capable of dredging a 6 meter deep hole. Mining regolith soil with just 2% ice, can extract 1300/kg of H2O.
Our conceptual 6-wheeled excavator (shown above)incorporates a bucketwheel and bucketladder excavation on the front, with a counter rotating 4 bucketwheel on the rear. Attached to the front arm is a percussion shovel head to swing over the bucketwheel to break up any hard surfaces.
PMC’s exposed Bucket Chain Excavator (BCE)
A robot articulating arm controls the pitch and yaw of the 6 meter long excavator. A dust cover confines the disturbed regolith particles where it is funneled through a shaft dumping the buckets of regolith into a covered bin. A ball mill breaks rocks and clumps of regolith into the typical size of lunar soil, 70 microns.
A direct in-line motor shaft drives the high-strength chain. The motor and gear head are protected from lunar dust in vacuum sealed cases. Prospector carries two BCE’s, one on each side, gripping and digging into the surface as the BCE rotates in gathering regolith from underneath.
On the end of the bucketladder a 1.5 meter bucketwheel strips the side of lunar crater in continuous operation, shoveling regolith onto the bucketladder convoy.
Where hard surfaces and compacted soil are difficult to excavate, our percussion shovel head excavator provides lightweight robotic excavation.